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Frederick the Great celebrations kick off

The Local · 24 Jan 2012, 13:34

Published: 24 Jan 2012 13:34 GMT+01:00

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Frederick, who died in 1786 and known as Friedrich der Große in German, is one of Prussia’s most celebrated rulers. Besides modernising the country’s bureaucracy and being a patron of the arts, he is credited with introducing the potato to Germany’s staple diet.

On Tuesday morning admirers gathered at his graveside in the Sanssouci palace.

Amongst them was the current prince of Prussia, Georg-Friedrich, who placed a simple white cross made from white carnations on his famous ancestor’s coffin.

A large bow, emblazoned with a picture of a crown and the initials ‘GFS’ – the initials of his given name and that of his wife, Sophie – was also laid down to mark the occasion.

Brandenburg’s state premier Matthias Platzeck was also present. He chose to honour the late king with a wreath baring the iconic red Brandenburg eagle. The ritual was watched by locals, as well as members of traditional societies who wore Prussian military uniform for the occasion.

Birthday celebrations will continue throughout the day, with a remembrance concert in the Gendarmenmarkt concert hall in Berlin. German President Christian Wulff and Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit are expected to attend the ceremony.

In a press release, Wowereit described the legendary leader as "one of the most defined characters of the eighteenth century."

"Today, we can still benefit from learning about him so I encourage everyone to join the celebrations in Berlin and Brandenburg," he added.

In the evening, revelers will celebrate at a large party in Potsdam, where the king used to live, until the small hours.

Story continues below…

Despite his wishes, Frederick was buried in the grounds of his ancestral Hohenzollern castle in Baden-Württemberg. In 1991 his dying wish was granted, however, and his coffin was moved to his personal residence Sanssouci palace in Potsdam, Brandenburg.

He was finally laid to rest in the palace’s crypt, along with his beloved dog.

The Local/DPA/jcw

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Your comments about this article

13:20 January 25, 2012 by William Thirteen
happy birthday you naughty ole Fritz!
20:44 January 26, 2012 by lordkorner
The bird on the Brandenburg flag is not an eagle but a red kite,milvus milvus to give it its latin title...
17:56 January 27, 2012 by mfagerburg
He actually is buried next to several of his favorite Italian Greyhounds (seven I believe). His wife is buried in the Berlin Cathedral. Not exactly true love!
17:24 January 28, 2012 by dr.makni49
German are great people and so was their King or one could reverse this equation, yet it would be true.
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