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Cecilienhof Palace (south-west side)

Schloss Cecilienhof , a building complex in an English country style, the architect built in the years 1913-1917 according to plans Paul Schultze-Naumburg . It is located in the northern part of the New Garden in Potsdam , not far from the shore of the Jungfernsee . The last palace of the Hohenzollern family was built under Kaiser Wilhelm II for his son Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Cecilie from the House of Mecklenburg-Schwerin .

Cecilienhof became known in world history as the site of the Potsdam Conference from July 17 to August 2, 1945. Since then, there has been a five-pointed Soviet star made of red flowers on the lawn in the Ehrenhof .


In 1912, Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered funds to be made available for the construction of a new palace in the New Garden. He had already had various castle projects implemented: the reconstruction of the Hohkönigsburg (1901–1908) on the French border, the renovation of the Marienburg Order Castle (1896–1918) and, based on its model, near the border with Denmark , the establishment of the Mürwik Naval School ( 1907–1910) for the navy and the construction of the new residential palace in Posen (1905–1913) on the border with Poland . The Ministry of the House of Hohenzollern concluded a contract for the construction of Cecilienhof Palace with the Saalecker workshops, which Paul Schultze-Naumburg co-founded in 1904 , in which the construction cost was set at 1,498,000  marks and completion on October 1, 1915. In May 1913, Crown Prince Wilhelm laid the foundation stone for the palace, which should serve as his residence after completion.

Cecilienhof's inner courtyard with the red star

The architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg , who was commissioned with the planning and management, designed a building in the style of English country manors based on the wishes of the Crown Prince couple, inspired by the cottage style of the Gelbensande hunting lodge of the parents of Crown Princess Cecilie. Brick and half-timbered elements made of dark oak dominate the exterior facades. The chimneys in the Tudor style are extraordinary, none of which are the same as the other. The different parts of the building are grouped around five inner courtyards: the large courtyard in the middle, a small garden courtyard - the Prinzengarten - and three farmyards.

Since the construction work was stopped after the outbreak of the First World War , the planned completion date was delayed. It was not until August 1917 that Crown Princess Cecilie moved into her already completed rooms, in which she gave birth to her sixth child, Princess Cecilie , in September . On October 1, 1917, the new palace was finally completed. After the emperor's abdication in 1918, Wilhelm and Cecilie received the palace back from the state as private property in 1926. The crown prince couple lived in Cecilienhof until their escape in 1945. In September 1945 the Soviet occupying power expropriated the Hohenzollern family without compensation. This has led to disputes between the public sector and the Hohenzollern family about the legality and scope of the expropriation as well as corresponding demands for return or use. The latter extended to Cecilienhof in 2019.

At the inside

Cecilienhof in July 1945
Crown Princess Cecilie of Prussia, namesake of the castle

In the 176-room castle, the representative living rooms were located on the ground floor of the central building. Above were the private bedrooms, dressing rooms and bathrooms. The interior was characterized by simple elegance using fine materials and reflected the upscale living culture of the early 20th century. Almost all of the private rooms were designed by Paul Ludwig Troost , who made a name for himself by equipping passenger steamers. A room that was designed and furnished as a cabin at the request of Crown Princess Cecilie is particularly original. The furniture has largely been preserved here, as it is firmly attached to the wall.

The entire inventory was left behind by the Crown Prince's family when they left the palace at the beginning of 1945 and brought to the Alte Meierei on the bank of the Jungfernsee by the Soviets because of the redesign of the rooms for the conference participants. The original equipment was destroyed there by a fire on July 25, 1945. The missing furnishings have been replaced by unique pieces in the style of the time. In order to meet the taste of the respective head of the delegation, furniture and furnishings from nearby castles were collected by representatives of the Soviet Army Rear Service . A dark leather couch and a massive desk were brought into Josef Stalin's corner room. Harry S. Truman's room was furnished with fine classical furniture from the Marble Palace. Winston Churchill's room received neo-Gothic furniture from Babelsberg Castle .

The center of the main building is the 26-meter-long and 12-meter-high Great Hall that extends through both floors. It was originally used as a living room and was furnished with comfortable furniture. The wood paneling on the walls, the visible wooden beam construction on the ceiling and the large coffered window front are characteristic of the English country house style of the time. The staircase, carved from dark oak in Gdańsk Baroque , is a gift from the city of Gdańsk . It led to the private rooms of the Crown Prince couple.

During the Potsdam Conference, the living hall was converted into a conference hall. The round table with a diameter of 3.05 meters was made especially for the negotiation by the Moscow furniture company Lux. The heads of state and government of the allied victorious powers Truman ( USA ), Churchill or Clement Attlee ( Great Britain ), Stalin ( USSR ) and other leading members of the three delegations sat at it . During the conference, Truman telephoned the order to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima .

Lange Kerls on the occasion of the visit of Elisabeth II.


After the 1945 conference, the palace and park were opened to the public for the first time. Initially, the Democratic Women's Association (DFD) used the castle as a training center. In 1960, a hotel was housed in the west wing, which survived the fall of the Wall . At the end of 2013, the hotel was closed due to an urgent renovation of the building. In addition to the memorial of the Potsdam Agreement, the former living quarters of the Crown Prince couple can be visited.

Cecilienhof was founded in 1990 with the palaces and parks of Potsdam Sanssouci and Berlin (Glienicke and Peacock Island) as a World Heritage Site under the protection of UNESCO made and is under the administration of the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg .

The state government of Brandenburg occasionally uses the castle for receptions. In November 2004 Queen Elisabeth II came to visit and on May 30, 2007 the G8 foreign ministers' meeting took place here.

From 2014 to 2018, the roof and facade were renovated for almost 10 million euros, and the outdoor facilities were restored according to historical models. The search for a new operator of the hotel has been announced for spring 2019, and extensive renovations are to take place inside the palace before the hotel opens.


  • Foundation Prussian Palaces and Gardens Berlin-Brandenburg (Ed.): Cecilienhof Palace and the Potsdam Conference 1945. 3rd edition, Potsdam 1999 (Official Guide).
  • Gert Streidt, Klaus Frahm: Potsdam. The castles and gardens of the Hohenzollern. Könemann, Cologne 1996, ISBN 3-89508-238-4 .

Web links

Commons : Cecilienhof  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Clemens Alexander Wimmer: Directory of court gardeners and senior officials of the Prussian garden administration until 1945 . In: Foundation Prussian Palaces and Gardens Berlin-Brandenburg (Ed.): Prussian Green. Court gardener in Brandenburg-Prussia . Potsdam 2004, p. 325.
  2. ^ Sven Felix Kellerhoff : Hohenzollern want to sue against expropriation in 1945 . Die Welt, January 15, 2016, accessed June 13, 2019.
  3. How the dispute between the Emperor's great-great-grandson and the Bund could escalate. Retrieved July 13, 2019 .
  4. Cf. Marion Bayer: A history of Germany in 100 buildings. Cologne 2015, p. 304.
  5. Cecilienhof Palace is ready. Retrieved February 12, 2019 .

Coordinates: 52 ° 25 ′ 9 ″  N , 13 ° 4 ′ 15 ″  E