... zu Gast im Haus der EKD
THE EDICT OF POTSDAM CHANGES BERLIN
The Edict of Potsdam marks the beginning of one of the largest migrational movements towards Berlin. Its influence is still visible today. The Edict was issued on October 29th, 1685 by the Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg.
As a protestant minority the Huguenots were exposed to violence and persecution by the catholic majority in their home country France. The Great Elector helped his brothers in faith by offering them refuge in Brandenburg-Prussia through his Edict. He also hoped for an economic revival of his own land.
The following years saw the reception of more than 20,000 religious refugees, which nowadays is mostly perceived as a success story. The ensuing cultural exchange processes over several generations are still traceable within Berlin’s cityscape even today.
SUCCESSFUL IMMIGRANTS: THE GARDENER FAMILY MATHIEU
After their faith was prohibited in France, Huguenot Raphael Mathieu and his family migrated from Pays Messin to Berlin at the beginning of the 18th century. Like many other Huguenots the Mathieus were gardeners.
In 1738 the family bought their first big plot of garden land in the outskirts of Berlin (near „Köpenicker Felde“). Someone who deserves special recognition as a pioneer of Berlin horticulture is Jean Louis Mathieu (1727-1801): He introduced the cultivation of asparagus, which at the time still was an exotic plant to the locals. Also he founded Germany’s first seed trading shop. The French dessert pears he cultivated in his own garden were especially popular.
For several generations the family used to maintain not only their first garden in the area now situated between Mitte and Kreuzberg, but also several other gardens around the city. The stone tablet you see here was attached to the Mathieu family residence located in Berlin’s „Neue Grünstraße“. It highlights important stations of the family’s history.