West Pomeranian Voivodeship
Location within Poland.
Division into counties.
3 cities, 18 land counties *
|• Voivode||Tomasz Hinc (PiS)|
|• Marshal||Olgierd Geblewicz (PO)|
|• Total||22,896 km2 (8,840 sq mi)|
|• Density||74/km2 (190/sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||PL-32|
|HDI (2017)||0.841 |
very high · 11th
|Website||Zachodniopomorski Urząd Wojewódzki w Szczecinie|
West Pomeranian Voivodeship or West Pomerania Provinceis a voivodeship (province) in northwestern Poland. It borders on Pomeranian Voivodeship to the east, Greater Poland Voivodeship to the southeast, Lubusz Voivodeship to the south, the German federal-states of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and Brandenburg to the west, and the Baltic Sea to the north. Its capital and largest city is Szczecin.
It was established on January 1, 1999, out of the former Szczecin and Koszalin Voivodeships and parts of Gorzów, Piła and Słupsk Voivodeships, pursuant to the Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998. It is named for the historical region of Pomerania (Polish : Pomorze). In spite of the name ("West Pomeranian"), the voivodeship does not include the most westerly parts of historical Pomerania, which lie in Germany's Vorpommern (see Western Pomerania).
West Pomeranian Voivodeship is the fifth largest voivodeship of Poland in terms of area. Among the largest cities, of the region, are the capital Szczecin, as well as Koszalin, Stargard, and Świnoujście.
This is a picturesque region of the Baltic Sea coast, with many beaches, lakes and woodlands. Szczecin, Świnoujście and Police are important ports. Other major seaside towns include Międzyzdroje, Dziwnów, Kołobrzeg, and Mielno.
West Pomerania is considered one of the greenest regions of Poland, and one of the most attractive for tourists. It is characterized by incredible diversity of the landscape: beaches, hundreds of lakes, and forests full of wildlife (e.g. Wkrzanska Forest), spreading mainly up the hills of the glacial lakes areas. West Pomerania is also rich in various forms and styles of architecture that were built during the Middle Ages as well as the Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance periods. There is a diverse repertoire of theaters, festivals, museums and galleries. During a few-day long annual Sea Festival in Szczecin, a number of free open-air concerts take place. In Świnoujście during the summer, the FAMA Academic Youth Arts Festival takes place – an event with several years of tradition, which attracts not only young people but also older alumni. In Międzyzdroje, there is a Festival Of The Stars, which draws many popular actors. In Wolin, a Viking Festival takes place, which draws "Vikings" from all across Europe.
Another draw to the area is a wide array of health resorts. Brine and peloid, discovered in the 19th century, together with geothermal water resources, are popular attractions in Świnoujście, Kamień Pomorski and Połczyn Zdrój.
A notable phenomenon on a worldly scale is the Crooked Forest outside the town of Gryfino.
The voivodeship contains 66 cities and towns. These are listed below in descending order of population (according to official figures for 2019):
The Polish districts of the historical region Western Pomerania (the 3 westernmost districts of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship) had a population of about 520,000 in 2012 (cities of Szczecin, Świnoujście and Police County combined) – while the German districts had a population of about 470,000 in 2012 (Vorpommern-Rügen and Vorpommern-Greifswald combined). So overall, about 1 million people live in the historical region of Western Pomerania today, while the Szczecin agglomeration reaches even further.
West Pomeranian Voivodeship is divided into 21 counties (powiats): 3 city counties and 18 land counties. These are further divided into 114 gminas.
The counties are listed in the following table (ordering within categories is by decreasing population in 2019):
| Stargard County |
|1,520||120,088||Stargard||Chociwel, Dobrzany, Ińsko, Suchań||10|
| Gryfino County |
|1,870||82,258||Gryfino||Chojna, Mieszkowice, Trzcińsko-Zdrój, Cedynia, Moryń||9|
| Goleniów County |
|1,617||82,418||Goleniów||Nowogard, Maszewo, Stepnica||6|
| Szczecinek County |
|1,765||77,731||Szczecinek||Borne Sulinowo, Barwice, Biały Bór||6|
| Kołobrzeg County |
| Police County |
| Myślibórz County |
| Koszalin County |
|1,669||66,373||Koszalin *||Sianów, Bobolice, Polanów, Mielno||8|
| Gryfice County |
| Drawsko County |
|1,764||57,171||Drawsko Pomorskie||Złocieniec, Czaplinek, Kalisz Pomorski||6|
| Sławno County |
| Wałcz County |
|1,415||53,325||Wałcz||Mirosławiec, Człopa, Tuczno||5|
| Choszczno County |
|1,328||48,419||Choszczno||Recz, Pełczyce, Drawno||6|
| Białogard County |
| Świdwin County |
| Kamień County |
|1,007||47,115||Kamień Pomorski||Międzyzdroje, Wolin, Dziwnów, Golczewo||6|
| Pyrzyce County |
| Łobez County |
|1,066||36,954||Łobez||Resko, Węgorzyno, Dobra||5|
|NOTE: * seat not part of the county|
Protected areas in West Pomeranian Voivodeship include two National Parks and seven Landscape Parks. These are listed below.
After Germany's defeat in World War II, the region became part of Poland by way of the Potsdam Agreement, which created territorial changes demanded by the Soviet Union. Most Germans fled or were expelled; the area was re-settled by Poles, most of whom had been expelled from the Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union.
In 1948 67 percent of the populace originated from Central Poland, Greater Poland and Pomeralia while 25 percent came from the Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union. Another 6 percent returned to Poland from Western Europe. About 50,000 Ukrainians were forcefully resettled to West Pomerania in the Operation Vistula in 1947.
The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the province was 18.3 billion euros in 2018, accounting for 3.7% of Polish economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 17,700 euros or 59% of the EU27 average in the same year. The GDP per employee was 67% of the EU average.
There are two main international road routes that pass through the voivodeship: National road 3 (Poland) Świnoujście-Szczecin-Gorzów Wielkopolski-Zielona Góra-Legnica-Czech border (part of European route E65 from Swedish Malmö to Chaniá in Greece) and National road 6 (Poland) Szczecin-Koszalin-Słupsk-Gdańsk (part of European route E28 from Berlin to Minsk). Most of the National road 3 in the voivodeship is in a standard of an expressway (Expressway S3 (Poland)). The National road 6 between German border and Rzęśnica is in the standard of autostrada (A6 autostrada (Poland)), whereas part between Rzęścnica and Goleniów and bypasses of Goleniów and Nowogard are in standards of an expressway (Expressway S6 (Poland)). Other important national roads are National road 10 (Poland) (German border-Szczecin-Piła-Bydgoscz-Toruń-Płońsk) and National road 11 (Poland) (Kołobrzeg-Koszalin-Piła-Poznań-Bytom). Apart from the above, some other national roads are located in the voivodeship. The voivodeship possesses also a well-developed network of regional roads.
Main railways in the province are line no. 351 Szczecin-Poznań, line no. 273 Szczecin-Wrocław (so-called “Odra railway”), line no. 202 Stargard-Gdańsk, line no. 401 Szczecin-Świnoujście and line no. 404 Kołobrzeg-Szczecinek. The main railway stations of the province are Szczecin main station, Stargard and Koszalin. The stations are served by fast PKP Intercity trains which connect them with the capital Warsaw, as well as other major Polish cities. In addition to these fast express services, inter-regional trains and intra-regional trains are operated by the firm Przewozy Regionalne. Szczecin main station possesses international train connections with Berlin, Schwerin and Lübeck (operated by DB Regio). Świnoujście has a direct train connection with Stralsund, which is operated by Usedomer Bäderbahn.
The only domestic and international airport in West Pomeranian Voivodeship is Szczecin-Goleniów "Solidarność" Airport. Also, part of the runway of an abandoned airport in Bagicz (near Kołobrzeg) was converted to an airport licensed to service planes carrying not more than 20 passengers on board.
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Pomerania is a historical region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea in Central Europe, split between Poland and Germany. The western part of Pomerania belongs to the German states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg, while the eastern part belongs to the West Pomeranian and Pomeranian voivodeships of Poland. Its historical border in the west is the Mecklenburg-Western Pomeranian border valley, which now constitutes the border between the Mecklenburgian and Pomeranian part of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, while it is bounded by the Vistula River in the east. The easternmost sub-regions of Pomerania are alternatively known as Pomerelia and Kashubia, which are inhabited by ethnic Kashubians.
Wolin is the name both of a Polish island in the Baltic Sea, just off the Polish coast, and a town on that island. Administratively the island belongs to the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. Wolin is separated from the island of Usedom (Uznam) by the Strait of Świna, and from mainland Pomerania by the Strait of Dziwna. The island has an area of 265 km2 (102 sq mi) and its highest point is Mount Grzywacz at 116 m above sea level. The number of inhabitants is 30,000.
Koszalin is a city in northwestern Poland, in Western Pomerania. It is located 12 kilometres south of the Baltic Sea coast, and intersected by the river Dzierżęcinka. Koszalin is also a county-status city and capital of Koszalin County of West Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999. Previously, it was a capital of Koszalin Voivodeship (1950–1998). The current mayor of Koszalin is Piotr Jedliński.
Świnoujście is a city and seaport on the Baltic Sea and Szczecin Lagoon, located in the extreme north-west of Poland. It is situated mainly on the islands of Usedom and Wolin, but also occupies smaller islands, of which the largest is Karsibór island, once part of Usedom, now separated by the Piast Canal dug in the late 19th century to facilitate ship access to Szczecin.
Międzyzdroje, in English known as Misdroy, is a town and a seaside resort in northwestern Poland on the island of Wolin on the Baltic coast. Previously in the Szczecin Voivodeship (1975–1998), Międzyzdroje has been in Kamień Pomorski County in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999. Międzyzdroje has a population of around 5,500 (2016).
Goleniów is a town in Pomerania, northwestern Poland with 22,399 inhabitants (2004). It is the capital of Goleniów County in West Pomeranian Voivodeship ; previously it was in Szczecin Voivodeship (1975–1998). Town area is 12.5 square kilometres (4.8 sq mi), geographical situation 53°33'N and 14°49'E. It is situated in the centre of Goleniowska Forest on Goleniów Plain, near main roads numbers 3 and 6.
Białogard is a historic town in Middle Pomerania, northwestern Poland, with 24,368 inhabitants (2017). The capital of Białogard County in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, the town was previously in Koszalin Voivodeship (1950–1998). It is the most important railroad junction of Middle Pomerania, which links Kołobrzeg with Piła and Gdańsk with Stargard.
Farther Pomerania, Further Pomerania, or Eastern Pomerania, is the part of Pomerania which comprised the eastern part of the Duchy and later Province of Pomerania. It stretched roughly from the Oder River in the West to Pomerelia in the East. Since 1945, Farther Pomerania has been part of Poland; the bulk of former Farther Pomerania is within the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, while its easternmost parts are within the Pomeranian Voivodeship. The Polish term Pomorze Zachodnie, in modern Polish usage, is a synonym to the West Pomeranian Voivodship; in Polish historical usage it applied to all areas west of Pomerelia.
Kamień County is a unit of territorial administration and local government (powiat) in West Pomeranian Voivodeship, north-western Poland, on the Baltic coast. 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 town is Kamień Pomorski, which lies 63 kilometres (39 mi) north of the regional capital Szczecin. The county contains four other towns: Misdroy, 23 km (14 mi) west of Kamień Pomorski, Wolin, 19 km (12 mi) south-west of Kamień Pomorski, Dziwnów, 6 km (4 mi) north-west of Kamień Pomorski, and Golczewo, 21 km (13 mi) south-east of Kamień Pomorski.
Gmina Stepnica is an urban-rural gmina in Goleniów County, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-western Poland. Its seat is the town of Stepnica, which lies approximately 17 kilometres (11 mi) north-west of Goleniów and 27 km (17 mi) north of the regional capital Szczecin.
Gmina Międzyzdroje or Gmina Misdroy is an urban-rural gmina in Kamień County, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-western Poland. Its seat is the town of Międzyzdroje, which lies approximately 23 kilometres (14 mi) west of Kamień Pomorski and 58 km (36 mi) north of the regional capital Szczecin.
Grodno is a coastal place on the island of Wolin, in the administrative district of Gmina Międzyzdroje, within Kamień County, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-western Poland. It lies approximately 7 kilometres (4 mi) north-east of Międzyzdroje, 17 km (11 mi) west of Kamień Pomorski, and 62 km (39 mi) north of the regional capital Szczecin.
Expressway S6 is a major road in Poland which has been planned to run from the A6 autostrada in Szczecin, through Goleniów in West Pomerania to Gdańsk parallel to the Baltic coast, forming the main connection between Gdańsk and Szczecin.
The Oder is a river in Central Europe. It is Poland's second-longest river in total length and third-longest within its borders after the Vistula and Warta. The Oder rises in the Czech Republic and flows 742 kilometres (461 mi) through western Poland, later forming 187 kilometres (116 mi) of the border between Poland and Germany as part of the Oder–Neisse line. The river ultimately flows into the Szczecin Lagoon north of Szczecin and then into three branches that empty into the Bay of Pomerania of the Baltic Sea.
Szczecin Główny, is the principal railway station of the city of Szczecin, in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland. The station opened on 15 August 1843 and is located on the Berlin-Szczecin railway, Wroclaw-Szczecin railway, Poznan-Szczecin railway, Bützow-Szczecin railway and Szczecin-Trzebież Szczeciński railway. The train services are operated by PKP, Przewozy Regionalne and Deutsche Bahn.
Western Pomerania, in the narrower sense also called Hither Pomerania, is the western extremity of the historic region of the Duchy, later Province of Pomerania, nowadays divided between the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany and West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland.
Stargard railway station is a railway station serving the town of Stargard, in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland. The station is located on the Poznań–Szczecin railway, Gdańsk–Stargard railway and Stargard–Godków railway. The train services are operated by PKP and Przewozy Regionalne.
The Szczecin–Świnoujście railway is a Polish 100-kilometre long railway line, that connects Szczecin with the port in Świnoujście. The railway is part of European TEN-T route E59 from Scandinavia to Vienna, Budapest and Prague. For this reason the classification of the PLK line is also in the "first-class" category.
The coat of arms of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship is one of the symbols of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, an administrative unit of Poland.