The Edict of Potsdam – issued in 1685 by the Great Elector (Große Kurfürst) – gave asylum to roughly 20,000 French religious refugees in Berlin and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. Their story is told at the Huguenot Museum (Hugenottenmuseum) using documents, paintings, engravings, books manuscripts and medals. The museum was set up in 1935 in the French Cathedral (Französischer Dom) on Gendarmenmarkt and is operated today by the Consistory of the French Church in Berlin.
The exhibition provides an in-depth examination of the flight of Protestants from France and also traces the emergence of the French settlement in the Margraviate of Brandenburg. In the course of the exhibition, it quickly becomes clear to what extent the technically skilled immigrants contributed to the rise of Brandenburg-Prussia in the 18th century. Famous members of the Protestant community in Berlin, such as painter and artist Daniel Chodowiecki and poet Theodor Fontane, are showcased.
The history of the Cathedral itself is also thoroughly documented, as is the neighbouring French "Friedrichstadtkirche". This simple Baroque building was constructed by Berlin's Huguenot community in 1705 using their own funds and craftsmen. In 1780, Frederick the Great had the representative tower building of the French Cathedral (Französischer Dom) built as a counterpart to the German Cathedral (Deutscher Dom).
From 2017 on, the French Cathedral and the permanent exhibition of the Huguenot Museum will be closed due to recontruction work until 2019. For information and events see www.hugenottenmuseum-berlin.de