Masters of Mobility


5.8 Conclusion

The many building projects of Friedrich Wilhelm, Brandenburg’s nobility and, finally its citizens clearly show the success of the restoration politics, started in 1648. Forty years later towns were prospering, Brandenburg’s finances were relatively sound, and a market of luxury goods was developing.125 Besides people from the Netherlands, others had wandered to Brandenburg.126 In big group of French Huguenots arrived when Louis XIV had cancelled the old Nantes Edict in October 1685 and some 200,000 Protestants had lost their civil rights. Friedrich Wilhelm, in his Potsdam Edict, declared the French to be welcome in Brandenburg. Among the newcomers were lawyers, doctors and craftsmen. About 20,000 Frenchmen came to Brandenburg.127 Their presence stimulated the production of luxury goods and, different from the Dutch 40 years earlier, the immigrants were interested in building up a new, permanent existence in Brandenburg, committed themselves to their new homeland and would not go back.

The late 1680s in Brandenburg can be seen as a conclusion of a restoration period under Dutch influence. Already in the late 1670s, people like Christian Albrecht zu Dohna, Joachim Ernst Blesendorf, Johann Gregor Memhardt, Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen and Otto von Schwerin had passed away. In May 1688 Friedrich Wilhelm died. Unlike the death of his wife Louise Henriette, his death meant the end of the direct Dutch influence in Brandenburg. In 1692 Michiel Smids died, in 1693 Cornelis Ryckwaert, and in 1695 Rutger van Langevelt. In the same year, young Johann Arnold Nering died, on 21 October, after a journey to Fürstenwalde, due to a stroke. All in all, the elector’s restoration politics had been successful, in matters of town development, economics, infrastructure and architecture. His personal ties with the Dutch Republic had been reflected in the way his country was restored. Dutch ideas, people and organisational patterns had been decisive for the restoration of Brandenburg, and this also explains the involvement of the Dutch in Brandenburg’s 17th century architecture.


1 Huth 1957, Holzhausen 1959, Huth 1971 and Stiftung etc. 2001, p. 53; Heesters 1988, p. 30-31 and 41-42; Koldeweij 2000. Cf. Seidel 1890, p. 139-140, Peipst 1978 and Bechler 2002, p. 102-103.

2 Beuys 1980, p. 299-301.

3 Beuys 1980, p. 386.

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