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Division of Poland into gminy Poland - gminas.svg
Division of Poland into gminy

The gmina (Polish pronunciation [ˈɡmina] , plural gminy [ˈɡminɨ] , from German Gemeinde meaning commune) is the principal unit of the administrative division of Poland, similar to a municipality. As of 2010 there were 2,478 gminy throughout the country. [1]

Polish language West Slavic language spoken in Poland

Polish is a West Slavic language of the Lechitic group. It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as the native language of the Poles. In addition to being an official language of Poland, it is also used by Polish minorities in other countries. There are over 50 million Polish language speakers around the world and it is one of the official languages of the European Union.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Poland Republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.


The gmina has been the basic unit of territorial division in Poland since 1974, when it replaced the smaller gromada (cluster). There are three types of gminy:

Gromada is a Polish word meaning "gathering", "group", or "assembly". In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the term referred to a village organization which embraced all the inhabitants of a village and acted as a local authority, as well as overseeing tax payments. In this sense the gromada developed between the 16th and 18th centuries, and continued to function in Congress Poland. Their chiefs took the title of sołtys and were elected by the local population.

  1. urban gmina (Polish : gmina miejska) consisting of just one city or town,
  2. mixed urban-rural gmina (Polish : gmina miejsko-wiejska) consisting of a town and surrounding villages and countryside; and
  3. rural gmina (Polish : gmina wiejska) consisting only of villages and countryside (occasionally of just one village).

Some rural gminy have their seat in a town which is outside the gmina's division. For example, the rural Gmina Augustów is administered from the town of Augustów, but does not include the town, as Augustów is an urban type gmina in its own right.

Town settlement that is bigger than a village but smaller than a city

A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages but smaller than cities, though the criteria to distinguish them vary considerably between different parts of the world.

Gmina Augustów Gmina in Podlaskie, Poland

Gmina Augustów is a rural gmina in Augustów County, Podlaskie Voivodeship, in north-eastern Poland. Its seat is the town of Augustów, although the town is not part of the territory of the gmina.

Augustów Place in Podlaskie, Poland

Augustów, formerly known in English as Augustovo or Augustowo, is a city in north-eastern Poland with 30,802 inhabitants (2011). It lies on the Netta River and the Augustów Canal. It is situated in the Podlaskie Voivodeship, having previously been in Suwałki Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is the seat of Augustów County and of Gmina Augustów.

The legislative and controlling body of each gmina is the elected municipal council (rada gminy), or in a town: rada miasta (town assembly). Executive power is held by the directly elected mayor of the municipality, called wójt in rural gminy, burmistrz in most urban and urban-rural gminy, or prezydent in towns with more than 400,000 inhabitants and some others which traditionally use the title. A gmina may create auxiliary units (jednostki pomocnicze), which play a subordinate administrative role. In rural areas these are called sołectwa, in towns they may be dzielnice or osiedla and in an urban-rural gmina, the town itself may be designated as an auxiliary unit. For a complete listing of all the gminy in Poland, see List of Polish gminas .

In many countries, a mayor is the highest-ranking official in a municipal government such as that of a city or a town.

A sołectwo(listen) is an administrative unit in Poland, an optional subdivision of a gmina. In many cases it consists of one village, but sometimes large villages may be divided into several sołectwos, while in other cases one sołectwo may consist of several villages or hamlets. Like the dzielnica and osiedle, a sołectwo is an auxiliary unit of a gmina. Only rural locations are assigned to sołectwos, while the comparable administrative unit in town is either dzielnica or osiedle.

In the Polish system of local administration, a dzielnica is an administrative subdivision or quarter of a city or town. A dzielnica may have its own elected council, and those of Warsaw each have their own mayor (burmistrz). Like the osiedle and sołectwo, a dzielnica is an auxiliary unit of a gmina. These units are created by decision of the gmina council, and do not have legal personality in their own right.

Types of administrative tasks and objectives

Each gmina carries out two types of tasks: its own tasks and commissioned ones. Own tasks are public tasks exercised by self-government, which serve to satisfy the needs of the community. The tasks can be twofold:

Own objectives

Own high objectives include matters such as spatial harmony, real estate management, environmental protection and nature conservation, water management, country roads, public streets, bridges, squares and traffic systems, water supply systems and source, the sewage system, removal of urban waste, water treatment, maintenance of cleanliness and order, sanitary facilities, dumps and council waste, supply of electric and thermal energy and gas, public transport, health care, welfare, care homes, subsidised housing, public education, cultural facilities including public libraries and other cultural institutions, historic monuments conservation and protection, the sports facilities and tourism including recreational grounds and devices, marketplaces and covered markets, green spaces and public parks, communal graveyards, public order and safety, fire and flood protection with equipment maintenance and storage, maintaining objects and devices of the public utility and administrative buildings, pro-family policy including social support for pregnant women, medical and legal care, supporting and popularising the self-government initiatives and cooperation within the commune including with non-governmental organizations, interaction with regional communities from other countries, etc.

Commissioned tasks

Commissioned tasks cover the remaining public tasks resulting from legitimate needs of the state, commissioned by central government for the units of local government to implement. The tasks are handed over on the basis of statutory by-laws, charters and regulations, or by way of agreements between the self-government units and central-government administration.

Overall number of gminy by type

Number of gminy by voivodeship
Urban gminy36172091815353161325495161911307
Urban-rural gminy55352233254350323124172226339052588
Rural gminy789217141134124229361138181967167117511,584
Total gminy16914421383177182314711601181231671021162261142,479
of which: rural gminy with their seat outside the gmina14131751591501212130115118160

Abbreviations used for voivodeships:
LS: Lower Silesian Voivodeship, KP: Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, LBL: Lublin Voivodeship, LBS: Lubusz Voivodeship,
ŁD: Łódź Voivodeship, LP: Lesser Poland Voivodeship, MS: Masovian Voivodeship, OP: Opole Voivodeship,
SK: Subcarpathian Voivodeship, PD: Podlaskie Voivodeship, PM: Pomeranian Voivodeship, SL: Silesian Voivodeship,
ŚWK: Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, WM: Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, GP: Greater Poland Voivodeship, WP: West Pomeranian Voivodeship.

Largest and smallest gminy

LARGESTPopulation (2006 estimate)Land area in km²Population density
per km²
Urban Warsaw (1,697,596) Warsaw (517.22) Świętochłowice (4,156.80)
Rural Gmina Chełmiec (24,344) Gmina Wałcz (574.89) Gmina Buczkowice (542.70)
Urban-rural Gmina Piaseczno (61,525) Gmina Pisz (633.69) Gmina Wołomin (801.69)
Town in urban-rural gmina Gmina Nysa: Nysa (47,545) Gmina Szczytna: Szczytna (80.38) Gmina Swarzędz: Swarzędz (3,469.23)
Rural part of urban-rural gmina Gmina Wieliczka: rural part (28,864) Gmina Pisz: rural part (623.61) Gmina Świątniki Górne: rural part (407.86)
SMALLESTPopulation (2006 estimate)Land area in km²Population density
per km²
Urban Krynica Morska (1,364) Górowo Iławeckie (3.32) Krynica Morska (11.74)
Rural Gmina Cisna (1,663) Gmina Jejkowice (7.59) Gmina Lutowiska (4.63)
Urban-rural Gmina Nowe Warpno (1,559) Gmina Świątniki Górne (20.35) Gmina Nowe Warpno (7.88)
Town in urban-rural gmina Gmina Wyśmierzyce: Wyśmierzyce (892) Gmina Stawiszyn: Stawiszyn (0.99) Gmina Suraż: Suraż (28.94)
Rural part of urban-rural gmina Gmina Nowe Warpno: rural part (363) Gmina Suchedniów: rural part (15.54) Gmina Nowe Warpno: rural part (2.09)

Related Research Articles

Augustów County County in Podlaskie, Poland

Augustów County is a unit of territorial administration and local government (powiat) in Podlaskie Voivodeship, north-eastern Poland, on the border with Belarus. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat and largest city is Augustów, which lies 83 kilometres (52 mi) north of the regional capital Białystok. The only other town in the county is Lipsk, lying 32 km (20 mi) south-east of Augustów.

Administrative divisions of Poland

The administrative division of Poland since 1999 has been based on three levels of subdivision. The territory of Poland is divided into voivodeships (provinces); these are further divided into powiats, and these in turn are divided into gminas. Major cities normally have the status of both gmina and powiat. Poland currently has 16 voivodeships, 380 powiats, and 2,478 gminas.

Nowe Skalmierzyce Place in Greater Poland, Poland

Nowe Skalmierzyce is a town and its surrounding municipality in Ostrów Wielkopolski County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, in west-central Poland. The town has a population of 5,093, while the municipality, Gmina Nowe Skalmierzyce, which is a mixed urban-rural gmina that includes the town, has a population of 15,191. The town has a land area of only 1.58 km², which results in a population density of 3,223.4 persons/km², the seventh-highest density of all towns in Poland, and the second-highest density of the urban portion of any Polish urban-rural gmina. The gmina has a land area of 125.42 km².

Gmina Brańsk Gmina in Podlaskie, Poland

Gmina Brańsk is a rural gmina in Bielsk County, Podlaskie Voivodeship. It is located in north-eastern Poland.

Gmina Rudka Gmina in Podlaskie, Poland

Gmina Rudka is a rural gmina in Bielsk County, Podlaskie Voivodeship. It is located in north-eastern Poland.

Gmina Trzebiatów is an urban-rural gmina in Gryfice County, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, in northwestern Poland. Its seat is the town of Trzebiatów, which lies approximately 17 kilometres (11 mi) north of Gryfice and 85 km (53 mi) northeast of the regional capital, Szczecin.


  1. Central Statistical Office of Poland Archived 2007-07-11 at the Wayback Machine , January 1, 2006. (in Polish)