The Old Fritz

Friedrich II of Prussia (1712-1786) – known as Frederick the Great – is one of the most distinctive figures in German history and culture of remembrance. It is the image of “Old Fritz” above all that has marked the German collective memory up to the present day. Yet in the more than 200 years since the death of the Prussian king this memory has been re-evaluated and exploited in many different ways: he was seen as the first servant of the state and as philosopher on the throne, was idolized as military commander and national hero, and later vilified as warmonger and misanthrope. The major temporary exhibition of the German Historical Museum takes the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Prussian king to present an extensive examination of Friedrich’s legacy in art, politics and society. Around 600 objects from Germany and abroad will reflect the eventful history of the sovereign’s reception over time and provide a fascinating survey of Prussian-German and European cultural memory.