Potsdam is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg and part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, 24 km (15 miles) southwest of Berlin city center.
The name “Potsdam” originally seems to have been “Poztupimi” from a West Slavonic name meaning “beneath the oaks”, highlighting the area’s many grand oak trees.
Potsdam has several claims to national and international notability. In Germany, it had the status Windsor has in England. It was the residence of the Prussian kings, and thus the German Emperors, until 1918. Around the city there are a series of interconnected lakes and unique cultural landmarks, in particular the parks and palaces of Sanssouci, the largest World Heritage Site in Germany. The Potsdam Conference, the major post-World War II conference between the victorious Allies, was held at another palace in the area, the Cecilienhof.
Babelsberg, in the south-eastern part of Potsdam, was a major movie production studio before the war and has enjoyed increased success as a major centre of European film production since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Filmstudio Babelsberg is the oldest large-scale film studio in the world.
Potsdam developed into a center of science in Germany from the 19th century. Today, there are three public colleges and more than 30 research institutes in the city.