News 1 - Potsdam Pioneers

POTSDAM PIONEERS                                                                               

Classic Events is pleased to confirm that The Arctic Circle Rally will start on June 13th 2020 from the historic city of Potsdam, just to the south-west of Berlin.  Potsdam was the location for the first night halt on the original event 20 years ago, so it was an appropriate choice for the start of the revival.

“Not only is Potsdam a beautiful and fascinating place to start from, but it means that competitors will avoid a long drag across Germany on the first day and can soon cross the Polish border to get into the interesting parts of the rally”, said Timo Rietbergen, the event director.

The sixteen day classic rally, which will encircle the Baltic and penetrate the Arctic Circle before turning south to finish near Oslo, has attracted considerable interest from competitors across Europe and further afield.  The entry list already contains crews from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Ireland and Argentina, all keen to find out what the 7000km odyssey has in store for them.

Anyone who was brought up during the Cold War might consider that Potsdam is a remote and isolated place from which to start a rally.  However, in reality it is no further from the English Channel than the French Alps or Bordeaux, and has the advantage of excellent connections with the rest of Europe via fast, toll free autobahns. For those who choose to fly to the start, Berlin Airport is only a short distance away.

From the 17th century until 1918, Potsdam was the residence of the Prussian Royal family. Surrounding the city are a series of interconnected lakes and rivers, and the parks and palaces of Sanssouci, the largest UNESCO World Heritage Site in Germany, built mainly during the reign of Frederick the Great. The Sanssouci Palace is famed for its gardens and rococo interiors, whilst others include the two hundred room New Palace (where Emperor Willhelm I signed the declaration of WW1), the Cecilienhof Palace and the Orangery.

International influences from France, the Netherlands, Russia and many other countries have also left their mark on the architecture, trade and way of life of the city. This can be seen in the red brick houses of the 18th century Dutch Quarter, Weaver's Square in Babelsberg, or in the Russian colony of Alexandrovka. These unique buildings and landscapes have provided ideal settings for filmmakers since 1911. Internationally renowned films like Around the World in Eighty Days and Inglourious Basterds were produced in the Babelsberg Film Studios, the oldest large-scale film studios in the world.




After the construction of the Berlin Wall, Potsdam was joined to West Berlin by the Glienicke Bridge across the River Havel. This iconic bridge was the scene of Cold War exchanges of secret agents and featured in the well-known film Bridge of Spies starring Tom Hanks.