Erik Nitsche: Friedrich Wilhelm I
Artist: Erik Nitsche
In 1985, Germany celebrated the three hundredth anniversary of the Potsdam Edict, through which Germany offered friendship to French Protestants thrown out of their homeland. For many years prior to the issuance of this historic edict, there had been a growing Protestant movement in France. The French Protestants, known as Huguenots, were severely persecuted until finally in 1598 the Edict of Nantes was adopted, which offered them some protection. With the Thirty Years War, new religious regulations were adopted and Catholicism became the official religion of France. More stringent regulations led many Huguenots to emigrate to Switzerland, England, Holland and Germany in the 1670s. Eventually France declared that any Frenchman who did not become a Catholic would become a galley slave. On October 18, 1685, King Louis XIV of France officially revoked the Edict of Nantes, declaring all who did not wish to become Catholics leave France. The Great Elector of Berlin immediately opened the arms of Germany to receive these people persecuted by France. Through the Edict of Potsdam, he secured all rights to the Huguenots. In addition, he gave them tax exemption, free shelter and food, and guaranteed them free execution of their professions and independent jurisdiction. The Huguenots poured into Germany, and the city of Berlin experienced an economic boom. Since the time of the Potsdam Edict, the Huguenots have become true Berliners.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover for the Germany 50pf Potsdam Edict stamp issued October 15, 1985.
Artwork Copyright © 1985 Unicover Corporation. All Rights Reserved under United States and international copyright laws. You may not reproduce, distribute, transmit, or otherwise exploit the Artwork in any way. Images of the Artwork may be watermarked and/or digitally watermarked. Any sale of the physical original does not include or convey the Copyright or any right comprised in the copyright.
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