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August 20, 2017

Frederick the Great’s Sans Souci Palace in Potsdam, Germany

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The Sans Souci Palace in Potsdam, Germany
The Sans Souci Palace in Potsdam, Germany
The Sans Souci (also known as “Sanssouci”) is the marvelous one-story, several-hundred room summer palace of King Friedrich II, commonly known as Frederick the Great, of Prussia.

Located in the city of Potsdam just southwest of Berlin, Sans Souci, meaning “without care” was the place where the great Kaiser would go to kick back, entertain international dignitaries, famous philosophers and celebrities of his day and pursue his cultural pursuits (Frederick was extremely interested in music and philosophy as a child).

Entitled "The Flute Concert of Sanssouci" by the painter Menzel, this painting depicts the Kaiser Frederick the Great playing the flute in San Souci.
Entitled “The Flute Concert of Sanssouci” by the painter Menzel, this painting depicts the Kaiser Frederick the Great playing the flute in San Souci.

When he became King of Prussia (today Germany and parts of Poland), Frederick decided to build a palace that in some ways would rival that of Versailles in France. The result was a long, one-story structure with a large, round turquoise dome at the top, two round pavilions on each side and several tiered gardens surrounding the structure. In later years several extensions and separate palaces were added including the 638 room Neue Palace and the Schlosshotel Cecilienhof, begun at the outset of World War I by Crown Prince Wilhelm in 1913. 1

The interior of one of the hundreds of rooms in the Sans Souci Palace.
The interior of one of the hundreds of rooms in the Sans Souci Palace.

In addition to being the holiday home of Germany’s Kaisers, Sans Souci was also the site of the famous Potsdam Conference in 1945 where US President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and English Prime Minister Winston Churchill met to discuss the post-World War II environment. Visitors to Sans Souci can visit the very rooms where this historic conference took place and even spend the night on the same grounds as 41 rooms have been converted in to hotel suites. The most famous of these suites is known as the Hohenzollern Suite, reportedly the place where Germany’s last King, William II, lived for a time. There is also a very fine (and expensive) restaurant that is worth checking as well.

The palace grounds and gardens of Sans Souci
The palace grounds and gardens of Sans Souci

For more information including hours of operation, visit the Potsdam Tourism site for details.


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