Potsdam is much more than just a suburb of Berlin: Potsdam is the capital of Brandenburg and one of the major academic centres in Europe. As a de facto island, the recreational value is particularly high, as you are never far from a lakeside, a bathing beach or a beautiful park.
In addition to the private CBS International Business School, Potsdam also has the University of Potsdam, which is the largest university in Potsdam with around 20,000 students. The Potsdam University of Applied Sciences has approximately 4,000 students, and the Film University Babelsberg is highly specialised with less than 1,000 students. Other universities include the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) with around 500 students, the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences for Sport and Management with dual courses of study, and the Clara Hoffbauer University of Applied Sciences.
Non-university research is also well represented. The Max Planck Society has several institutes in Potsdam (e.g. gravitational physics, molecular plant physiology), also Fraunhofer (cell therapy and immunology, applied polymer research), there is a Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics. This foundation and top-level research in turn gives rise to many spin-offs and start-ups – with the result that Potsdam continues to grow as an academic location.
About 180,000 people live in Potsdam. In Berlin there are around 190,000 students alone… But is the absolute number of students a good indication of an attractive student city? And does this make Potsdam a small student city? On the contrary. About 26,000 people study in Potsdam. So, 14% of the inhabitants are students – one in seven! In Berlin, with its almost 3.8 million inhabitants, only 5% are students, that is one in twenty. In addition, Potsdam is home to around 30 research institutes that have a strong influence on the city. The living environment when studying in Potsdam is therefore much more influenced by universities and science.
The film studios in Potsdam-Babelsberg are very old, very modern and very successful. For example, “Babylon Berlin” was filmed here, and many television series and Hollywood films are also made here. Babelsberg is a district of Potsdam that is also quite popular as a residential area.
Potsdam is a city of contrasts: On the one hand, it is a residential city with magnificent palaces (e.g. Sanssouci Palace, UNESCO World Heritage Site), beautiful parks and a magnificent old town, on the other hand, it is home to many high-tech companies from the IT and life sciences sectors. Together with the high percentage of students and the important creative industries, studying in Potsdam offers an interesting mix of progress and tradition.
On its own, the range of student pubs, nightlife and culture in Potsdam is really good. But of course, the variety is not comparable with Berlin. Studying in Potsdam, partying in Berlin – that’s possible. This is also a reason why some students prefer to live in Berlin rather than Potsdam. So, what to do when the neighbouring city is one of the most sought-after metropolises? You have to take the initiative yourself. That, for example, is how the popular KUZE, the Potsdam Student Cultural Centre, came into being. The Students` Union (AStA) of the University of Potsdam had the idea to create a central meeting point for students in the city centre (with a pub, of course). The most important theatre is the Hans Otto Theater (Schauspiel) and in the “Waschhaus” there are concerts, dance and poetry or science slams. Both are located in the “Erlebnisquartier Schiffbauergasse”.
Potsdam is an island! Surrounded by the Havel river and lakes, Potsdam’s city centre is completely surrounded by water. Accordingly, there are many water sports possibilities – from the lido to the landing stage for sailing boats. The good thing is that studying in Potsdam means that the hustle and bustle of the big city is far enough away, but still right next door. From Potsdam central station you can reach Berlin (Bahnhof Zoo) by train (S-Bahn) in about half an hour. Studying in Potsdam therefore offers all the advantages of a compact city with short distances, plus the connection to Berlin, one of the most exciting cities in the world. Many also do it the other way around: live in Berlin and commute to the campus in Potsdam! Both options are possible, both have advantages. It’s great that you have the choice when studying in Potsdam!
A visit to Sanssouci Palace, the Prussian Versailles, is of course a must. The huge accompanying park (300 hectares) does not charge an entrance fee and is therefore a wonderful place for a short break in green surroundings. The “New Garden” at the Jungfernsee is a little smaller, and there are also many other landscape gardens and parks.