Christmas in Potsdam
During Christmas time, the city of Potsdam is transformed into a winterly Christmas venue. Between the lakes, gardens, and castles of the UNESCO World Heritage and the baroque city centre, visitors can experience the traditional Christmas markets and quaint Christmas events.
The opening of the Blue Light Christmas Market at the end of November signals the beginning of Christmas time in Potsdam. It is the largest Christmas market in the state of Brandenburg and welcomes its visitors with its characteristic blue lights at Luisenplatz, at Bassinplatz and in the Brandenburger Straße. Here, the smells of roasted almonds and mulled wine complement your stroll along beautifully decorated shops and market stalls in the historical inner city. A landmark is the beautifully decorated Christmas tree in front of the Brandenburg Gate. At the weekends, visitors are invited to watch fairytales or to listen to Christmas carols at Luisenplatz. A favourite with the children is the ice rink, which is open every day, as well as the Ferris wheel on Bassinplatz, which offers fantastic views of the city.
A short walk from here through Sanssouci Park leads to the Romantic Christmas Village Romantic Christmas Village in the UNESCO World Heritage ensemble Krongut Bornstedt, with its giant Christmas tree and warming fire baskets. The village is open Thursdays to Sundays throughout the advent time and presents festive Christmas stalls as well as a show programme on Saturdays and Sundays, including children's entertainment and live music.
Another world heritage site is Castle Belvedere Pfingstberg, which invites guests to visit its beautiful Christmas market with artisan crafted goods in the inner courtyard. Christmas carols, instrumental music, a fairy tale lounge and Join-in Christmas crafting offer a wonderful time for the whole family.
What thrills thousands of guests and locals every year, is Potsdam’s representation of its cultural roots, characterized since the time of the Potsdam Tolerance Edict of 1685 through immigrant craftsmen of our neighbouring countries. Committed citizens celebrate these roots every year by organizing very special Christmas markets unique to Potsdam: The Bohemian Christmas Market in the historical Weavers' Quarter in Babelsberg is opened by the Bohemian Crystal fairy and features Bohemian artists and vendors. Very popular is the traditional performance of the Bohemian Christmas Mass in the Friedrichskirche on Weberplatz. The Alexandrovka Christmas market in the garden of Museum Alexandrovka in the Russian Colony offers the chance to listen to Russian music whilst buying Christmas gifts and sampling Russian foods and tea from the Samowar around the bonfire. Our Polish neighbors bring their traditional Star Festival and Star Market into the historical ensemble of the Kutschstallhof at Neuer Markt. Culinary treats include Barczsz beetroot soup, Pierogi dumplings or Bigos cabbage and meat stew. It is well worth visiting this Christmas market just for the excellent performances of the folk groups, bands and artists, but gift shopping is a pleasure, too – as most of the goods on offer are hand-crafted and of high quality.
Every year the Dutch Sinterklaas and many Dutch hand smiths and musicians journey from the Netherlands to Potsdam’s Dutch Quarter to celebrate the Sinterklaas-Festival. It is quite a show when Sinterklaas arrives by boat in Potsdam’s Harbour and then travels on horseback to the Festival, followed by a horse carriage with VIP guests and accompanied by a brass band.
Christmas in Potsdam is also a time for charity. Since 2006, choirs and orchestras have been gathering donations during their concerts at Christmas time for the benefit of children from Potsdam. This charity project is called "Klingender Advent". The money goes to five primary schools to integrate “learning by singing” into the lessons, not only in the music lessons, but also in Maths, German and English. This particularly benefits children from difficult backgrounds.
The campaign „Christmas in Potsdam“ was started in 2008. Its main objective is to spread the information about the different Potsdam Christmas markets to present Potsdam as a Christmas destination. Potsdam received the “Best Christmas City” award in 2017 for this campaign at the fair “Christmasworld”.