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Budynek Urzedu Miejskiego i Rejonowego w Kwidzynie.jpg
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Budynek Poczty wraz z czesciowym ogrodzeniem w Kwidzynie.jpg
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Coordinates: 53°44′9″N18°55′51″E / 53.73583°N 18.93083°E / 53.73583; 18.93083 Coordinates: 53°44′9″N18°55′51″E / 53.73583°N 18.93083°E / 53.73583; 18.93083
Country Flag of Poland.svg  Poland
Voivodeship POL wojewodztwo pomorskie flag.svg  Pomeranian
County Kwidzyn County
Gmina Kwidzyn (urban gmina)
Established11th century
Town rights1233
  MayorAndrzej Krzysztof Krzysztofiak
  Total21.82 km2 (8.42 sq mi)
42 m (138 ft)
  Total38,553 [1]
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code(s) +48 55
Car plates GKW

Kwidzyn (pronounced Kfee-dzin [ˈkfʲid͡zɨn] ; Latin: Quedin; German : Marienwerder; Old Prussian: Kwēdina) is a town in northern Poland on the Liwa River, with 38,553 inhabitants (2018). [1] It has been a part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, and was previously in the Elbląg Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is the capital of Kwidzyn County.



Kwidzyn Castle and Cathedral in 2010 Kwidzyn Dom1.jpg
Kwidzyn Castle and Cathedral in 2010

The Pomesanian settlement called Kwedis existed in the 11th century. In 1233, the Teutonic Knights built the Burg Marienwerder and established the town of Marienwerder (now Kwidzyn) the following year. In 1243, the Bishopric of Pomesania received both the town and castle from the Teutonic Order as fiefs, and the settlement became the seat of the Bishops of Pomesania within Prussia. [2] The town was populated by artisans and traders, originating from towns in the northern parts of the Holy Roman Empire. A Teutonic knight, Werner von Orseln, was murdered in Marienburg (Malbork) in 1330. He was among the first to be buried in the newly erected cathedral of the town.

St. Dorothea of Montau lived in Marienwerder from 1391 until her death in 1394; future pilgrims visiting her shrine would contribute to the flourishing economy.

The Prussian Confederation, which opposed Teutonic rule, was founded in the town on March 14, 1440. [3] Upon the request of the organization in 1454 Polish King Casimir IV Jagiellon incorporated the region and town to the Kingdom of Poland, [4] and the Thirteen Years' War broke out. After the defeat of the Teutonic Knights in the war, in 1466, the town became part of Poland as a fief held by the Teutonic Knights. [5] In 1525, the Teutonic state was transformed into a secular and Lutheran duchy under the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Order Albert, a political foundation only possible with the consent of the Polish King Sigismund I the Old. The town was visited by Polish Kings Sigismund II Augustus in 1552 [6] and Stephen Báthory in 1576. [7] In 1618 the ducal rights were inherited by the Brandenburg branch of the House of Hohenzollern and in 1657 the Brandenburg dukes severed ties with the Polish crown and in 1701 elevated their realm to the sovereign Kingdom of Prussia.

The town of Marienwerder meanwhile had become the capital of the District of Marienwerder. In 1772, the Marienwerder district was integrated into the newly established Prussian Province of West Prussia, which consisted mostly of territories annexed in the First Partition of Poland.

1920s view of the castle and cathedral Marienwerder-1 (2).jpg
1920s view of the castle and cathedral

By the enlargement of its administrative functions, the population of the town started to grow and in 1885, it numbered 8,079. This population was mostly composed of Lutheran inhabitants, many of whom were engaged in trades connected with the manufacturing of sugar, vinegar and brewing as well as dairy farming, fruit growing and the industrial construction of machines. In 1910, Marienwerder had a population of 12,983 of which 12,408 (95.6%) were German-speaking and 346 (2.7%) were Polish-speaking. [8]

1922 postcard of Hermann Balk Fountain in Kwidzyn Hermann Balk Brunnen zu Marienwerder.jpg
1922 postcard of Hermann Balk Fountain in Kwidzyn

As a result of the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, the Marienwerder district was divided. The parts west of the Vistula were incorporated into the Polish Second Republic, which just regained independence. The parts east of the Vistula, to which the town of Marienwerder belonged, took part in the East Prussian plebiscite which was organized under the control of the League of Nations. In Marienwerder 7,811 votes were given to remain in East Prussia, and therefore Germany, and 362 for Poland. [9]

According to the Geneva Conventions, the Polish community was entitled to its own schools, and from 1934 local Poles strove to establish a Polish school. [10] The Germans blocked the establishment of the school, and Polish organizations filed 100 complaints to the German administration before the Polish private gymnasium was finally established on November 10, 1937. [10] Local German press incited the Germans against the Polish school, [11] and in 1938 a fourteen-year-old boy was shot at the school yard, which the German police ignored, and the shooter was not caught. [10] The Germans, especially the Hitler Youth, repeatedly harassed and attacked Polish students and devastated the school. [10] It was forcibly closed down on August 25, 1939. [12] The German police surrounded the Polish school and arrested its principal Władysław Gębik, 13 teachers, other staff and 162 students, who were imprisoned in Tapiau (today Gvardeysk), [13] and then deported elsewhere. Later on, students under the age of 18 were released, older students were forcibly conscripted to the Wehrmacht, while teachers and staff were deported to Nazi concentration camps, [10] where most of them were murdered. [14] The head of the local Polish Bank Ludowy was also arrested, and the local Polish consulate was cut off from telephone lines, nevertheless the state radio in Poland still informed about the attack on the Polish school on the same day. [13]

Nazi Germany co-formed the Einsatzgruppe V in the town, which then entered several Polish cities and towns, including Grudziądz, Mława, Ciechanów, Łomża and Siedlce, to commit various atrocities against Poles during the German invasion of Poland, which started World War II. [15] Many Poles expelled from German-occupied Poland were deported to forced labour in the town's vicinity. [16] The Germans also operated a subcamp of the Stutthof concentration camp in the town. [17] On January 30, 1945 in the last months of World War II, the town was captured by the Soviet Red Army. The Red Army established a war hospital in the town for 20,000 people. The town centre was burned and pillaged by Soviet soldiers.

After World War II, the region was placed under Polish administration by the Potsdam Agreement. Most of the German-speaking people of the town and district fled or were expelled in accordance to the Agreement, and were replaced with Poles, many of whom had themselves been expelled from the Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union. In 1947, Ukrainians from the Soviet border regions were forcibly settled in the area as a result of Operation Vistula.


Kwidzyn is located on the east bank of the Vistula river, approximately 70 kilometres (43 miles) south of Gdańsk and 145 kilometres (90 miles) southwest of Kaliningrad.

1400approx. 700
1572approx. 700
1965approx. 13,000
The above table is based on biased primary sources from the time of Prussian Partition of Poland. [2] [18] [19] [20] [21]

Points of interest

The Kwidzyn Castle is a partially ruined 14th century Brick Gothic Ordensburg castle of the Teutonic Order, namely the Bishops of Pomesania. A large cathedral built between 1343 and 1384 is connected to the castle. It contains the tombs of three Grand Masters of the Teutonic Knights as well as numerous bishops. A bridge connects the castle to a sewer tower. This tower used to be by a river which has since changed its course, leaving the tower on dry land.

Kwidzyn has a Catholic church and a cathedral castle presently used for the museum of Lower Powiśle.

Other sights include the appellate court for Kwidzyn County, a town hall, and government buildings.


A branch of International Paper is located in Kwidzyn, as is the Kwidzyn School of Management.

The second biggest employer in Kwidzyn is Jabil, a global electronics manufacturing services company. [22]

The city has lower average crime and unemployment rates when compared to the national average rates of Poland. [22] These lower rates are attributed to sports programs for youth such as MMTS Kwidzyn (handball) and MTS Basket Kwidzyn. [22]

Notable people


International relations

Coat of arms at twin town Celle (Germany), granite artwork below signpost Celle Partnerstadt Marienwerder Kwidzyn.jpg
Coat of arms at twin town Celle (Germany), granite artwork below signpost

Kwidzyn is twinned with:

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  1. 1 2 "Kwidzyn (pomorskie) » mapy, nieruchomości, GUS, noclegi, szkoły, regon, atrakcje, kody pocztowe, bezrobocie, wynagrodzenie, zarobki, edukacja, tabele, demografia, przedszkola". Polska w liczbach.
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  14. Cygański, p. 43
  15. Maria Wardzyńska, Był rok 1939. Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion, p. 54
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  22. 1 2 3 Turystyka, historia, zabytki. Kwidzyn Moje miasto.
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