Press material: New Palace
Potsdam, Sanssouci Park
This spacious palace complex, described by the King himself as a “fanfaronade” (or “brag”), was intended to reflect Prussia’s political power after the Seven Years War. Between 1763 and 1769, Frederick the Great had the New Palace, or Neues Palais, set at the far western end of the main avenue, as a grand finale to this rigidly straight axis some two kilometres long. Designed by Johann Gottfried Büring, Heinrich Ludwig Manger, Carl von Gontard and Jean Laurant Legeay, the New Palace is one of the largest palace buildings of its day, 220 metres long with more than 400 statues on the façade, magnificent banquet halls, a theatre and lavishly fitted rooms for the Prussian King’s guests.
The Schlosstheater in the New Palace is one of the few 18th-century theatres still extant, and the stage is used frequently for performances. Contrary to the fashion of the times, the seating is arranged as in an amphitheatre, with ascending rows. A royal box was superfluous, because Frederick preferred to follow the proceedings from in front of the orchestra pit or from a seat in the third row.
Frederick the Great’s successors only used the New Palace for festive occasions or theatre productions. Not until Kaiser Frederick III in 1859 did a monarch reside here regularly in summer. His son William II made the New Palace his principal residence, adding a garden terrace, riding stables and a station to the original complex. The Communs, or functional buildings, opposite were conceived with their colonnade as an architectural backcloth to conceal the wasteland beyond. These buildings are now used by Potsdam University.