poland

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe, bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a...

read more

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe, bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north. The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres, making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. Poland has a population of over 38.5 million people, which makes it the 34th most populous country in the world and the sixth most populous member of the European Union, being its most populous post-communist member. Poland is a unitary state made up of 16 voivodeships. Poland is a member of the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, European Economic Area, International Energy Agency, Council of Europe, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, International Atomic Energy Agency, European Space Agency, G6, Council of the Baltic Sea States, Visegrád Group, Weimar Triangle and Schengen Agreement.

The establishment of a Polish state is often identified with the adoption of Christianity by its ruler Mieszko I in 966, over the territory similar to that of present-day Poland. The Kingdom of Poland was formed in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a long association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin, forming the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth ceased to exist in 1795 as the Polish lands were partitioned among the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire, and Old Austria. Poland regained its independence as the Second Polish Republic in 1918. Two decades later, in September 1939, World War II started with the Nazi Germany and Soviet Union invasion of Poland. Over six million Polish citizens died in the war. The People's Republic was declared in 1952 although Poland was a client state of the Soviet Union from 1944. During the Revolutions of 1989, the communist state was overthrown and democratic rule was re-established in the form of the current Poland, constitutionally known as the "Third Polish Republic".

Despite the vast destruction the country experienced in World War II, Poland managed to preserve much of its cultural wealth. There are currently 14 heritage sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in Poland. Since the end of the communist period, Poland has achieved a "very high" ranking in terms of human development.

some cities

experiences (3)

have you spent time in poland? share your experiences

5

poland - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/15/13.

How much time have you spent in Poland?

I've lived in Poland for over 2 years. I took a break to go back to the States for a Master's degree with the intent to return, and did. I am still my 20s and moved to Poland when I was 23.

What brought you to Poland? Where were you before?

I came to be with the woman I eventually married. I lived in a few states in the U.S. before this, but moved from Nebraska to Poland.

Describe your impressions of Warsaw.

Warsaw is an amazing city to live in. If you visit for a few days, there is always enough to see and do. It wouldn't be a city you'd want to come visit for a week or more, because it is generally a center of commerce, learning and was for all intents and purposes completely destroyed in the second World War. Regardless, it is a great place to raise a family. If you choose, you can live in the suburbs where there is less traffic, more space, and easy access to nature (a national park sits right outside Warsaw). If you prefer the urban lifestyle, apartments with plenty of grocery stores closeby as well as markets and any other services you'd wish for within walking distance cover the majority of the city. Even living in towns...

read more
4

krakow, poland - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 12/06/14.

How much time have you spent in Poland?

I moved here on or about August 15, 2005. I think it was actually the 17th but it's been awhile and I'm not great with things like dates and names and such. So, 9 years and 3.5 months.

How old were you when you came to Poland? Where were you before?

Uh 27 I believe it was. Prior to moving to Poland, I'd been living in a suburb of Portland (Oregon) named Milwaukie.

What brought you to Poland? What made you choose Poland over any other place you could've gone?

My future wife. We met via a mutual friend of mine, who I'd met the year prior in a BBC chatroom that was setup to discuss the recent presidential election/results in the US. This mutual friend mentioned that she knew a friend - my future wife - and that she thought I'd also like talking to her. So, I shot off an email, got one back, and it quickly escalated to chatting via Gadu-Gadu (Polish chat client) and then some phone calls and more emails and basically talking every chance we possibly could.

As far as a choice as to who was to move where... it was simple. My wife could move to the US and try to get a job there, which would have involved a lot of paperwork and BS. Or,...

read more
3

poland - someguy's (m/37/canada) reflections after years there in their 30s

posted by someguy on 11/10/13.

What brought you to Poland?

My Polish GF and eventually wife. We met in Dublin where there is a large Polish community.

Describe the city you live in in poland and your impressions of it.

I've lived in both Warsaw and Krakow. These are very different styles of city so it's interesting to experience the contrast. Warsaw is around 2M, so pretty much the biggest city in Eastern Europe. It was totally destroyed in WWII, so much of the architecture is brutalist, but there is a region called the old town which was completely reconstructed to its historical renaissance appearance, and they did a fantastic job.

There is also plenty of green spaces. In general Warsaw had quite a vibrant feel in some areas. Commercial space is still cheap, so in the areas where I lived (Powisle) there were plenty of funky bars and cafes that had an experimental feel to them. The nightlife went strong to the wee hours and I even had some visitors comment that it reminded them of Berlin.

Krakow on the other hand is a very beautiful city as it was never bombed during the war. It is one of the few cities in Europe I've visited where the castle is not some tourist attraction outside town, but is right...

read more

 videos (27)

loading...
loading...

view all 27 videos

demographics

population

38,415,284 (July 2012 est.)

ethnic groups

Polish 96.7%, German 0.4%, Belarusian 0.1%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other and unspecified 2.7% (2002 census)

languages

Polish (official) 97.8%, other and unspecified 2.2% (2002 census)

religions

Roman Catholic 89.8% [about 75% practicing], Eastern Orthodox 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, other 0.3%, unspecified 8.3% (2002)

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 14.6% (male 2,892,701/ female 2,731,949)

15-64: 15-64 years: 71.3% (male 13,636,461/ female 13,767,347)

65+: 65 years and over: 14% (male 2,066,066/ female 3,320,760) (2012 est.)

urbanization

61% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

76.25 years

obesity rate

18% (2001)

literacy rate

99.5%

average years of education

15 years

economics

cost of living

4/10 (low)

economic overview

Poland has pursued a policy of economic liberalization since 1990 and today stands out as a success story among transition economies. It is the only country in the European...

read more

Poland has pursued a policy of economic liberalization since 1990 and today stands out as a success story among transition economies. It is the only country in the European Union to avoid a recession through the 2008-09 economic downturn, although GDP per capita is still much below the EU average. Since 2004, EU membership and access to EU structural funds have provided a major boost to the economy. Unemployment has been 2% more than the EU average. Inflation reached a low of about 2.6% in 2010 due to the global economic slowdown, but climbed to 4.3% in 2011. Poland's economic performance could improve over the longer term if the country addresses some of the remaining deficiencies in its road and rail infrastructure and its business environment. An inefficient commercial court system, a rigid labor code, bureaucratic red tape, burdensome tax system, and persistent low-level corruption keep the private sector from performing up to its full potential. Weak revenues, together with rising demands to fund healthcare, education, and the state pension system caused the public sector budget deficit to rise to 7.8% of GDP in 2010, but the PO/PSL coalition government, which came to power in November 2007, took measures to shore up public finances - including increasing contributions to the public pension scheme at the expense of private pension funds - and reduced the deficit to 2.9% of GDP in 2011. For 2012 the coalition government has proposed further deficit-reducing reforms and to fulfill its promise to enact business-friendly reforms.

major industries

machine building, iron and steel, coal mining, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles

machine building, iron and steel, coal mining, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles

gdp per capita

$20,200 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

4.3% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 3.6% industry: 33.3% services: 63% (2011 est.)

unemployment rate

12.4% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

17% (2003 est.)

gini index

34.2 (2008) country comparison to the world: 90 31.6 (1998)