The Location and Main Regional Features
The Pomorskie Voivodeship is situated on the Baltic Sea in the north of Poland.
The voivodeship covers an area of 18.293 square kilometres , 5.85% of the area
of Poland. To the west it borders the Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship, to the south the Wielkopolskie and Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeships, to the east the Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship and to the north the Baltic Sea.
The voivdeship comprises:
16 poviats (counties), 4 poviat cities, 123 gminas (municipalities): 25 urban municipalites, 17 urban-rural municipalities and 81 rural municipalities.
The capital of the Region is Gdańsk – a city with a history spanning more than 1000 years. The largest cities of Pomorskie (with populations) are: Gdańsk, Gdynia, Słupsk, Tczew, Starogard Gdański, Wejherowo, Rumia, Sopot, Chojnice, Kwidzyn, Kartuzy, Bytów, Kościerzyna, Pruszcz Gdański, Reda and Ustka.
The region’s main spatial characteristics include:
•Location on the coast, where the Vistula flows into the Gulf of Gdańsk, making up the longest part (over 60%) of the Polish coastal line;
•Significant differences in natural development conditions – access to the Baltic Sea, Żuławy depression zone, the highest elevation in the Central European Lowlands, many forests and lakes; some of the best soils in the Vistula Valley and very poor soils in the lake districts; original landscapes of the Pomorskie coast and Lake District, Hel Peninsula, Vistula Lagoon; extensive forested areas, including Bory Tucholskie;
•Strong differentiation in settlement patterns – the Tri-City (Gdańsk, Gdynia, Sopot) occupies 2.3% of the region’s area with nearly 35% of the region’s population, whilst only 40% of the population live in the coastal areas;
•Complex and multi-functional coastal conurbation with metropolitan functions – one of the main centres of the South Baltic’s developing metropolitan cities areas, it stretches along 60 km, production is indirectly and directly linked with the sea,
sea transport and specialist services in tourism and fisheries and trans-regional services (science, education, culture, health care, media);
•The city of Słupsk with a population of almost 100 thousand, a regional centre and hub of activity in the north-west part of the region;
•The valley of Lower Vistula, a major transport corridor, which links the coastal area with other centres on the Vistula in Poland and with the south of Europe,
a dense network of medium-sized cities;
•Recreations and residential areas along the coast, which are a dominating feature of the area’s development
•Large lake district, surrounding the coastal areas, with numerous forests, many big lakes, low population destiny, little development;
•Multiple functions – an important academic and cultural centre, maritime economy, mining and processing industry, farming, tourism and recreation, forestry, trans-regional services and infrastructure;
•System of protected areas comprising 2 National Parks: Słowiński and Bory Tucholskie (Primeval Forest), 9 Landscape Parks, 45 NATURA 2000 areas,
and protected landscape zones. These zones including NATURA 2000 areas, occupy nearly 1/3 of the voivodeship’s area.
National and regional transport infrastructure comprises:
•Network infrastructures, which consist of the network of national roads (6,7,20,21,22,55), national railways and inland waterways, including Vistula;
•Transport nodes such as: seaports in Gdańsk and Gdynia with ferry and cargo containers terminals, regional Lech Wałęsa Airport in Gdańsk offering domestic and international services.
The present structures is the result of many years of development and is now stable.
Two Trans-European transport corridors cut across the region: no. IA (Helsinki-Tallinn-Riga-Kaliningrad-Gdańsk) and VI (links Scandinavia with Central Europe via the Tri-City conurbation, Łódź, Warszawa and Katowice).
The regional and local governments place strong emphasis on environmental education, which is made part of the national curriculum even for the youngest students. There are Environmental Education Centres, Green and Blue Schools and school environmental clubs running workshops for school children and students from across the region.
Pomorskie has four sub-regions: the Coast, Kashubia, Żuławy and Powiśle, hosting a range of soil, climatic, natural, hydrological and cultural environments. Tradition is very important for all the sub-regions, each with its own unique cuisine, customs, rituals and everyday language. Kashubian is Poland’s only officially recognised regional language.
Pomorskie’s arable farmland covers about 950,000 hectares, of which 80% is arable land and 20% is grassland. The region’s agriculture employs 15% of all those in employment.
The bulk of the crops are cereals (70%), potatoes, rape and sugar beet. Strawberries and apples are the main fruits. Soil quality varies, from very poor (sandy) to very fertile soil (alluvial). Medium quality soil makes up more than 50% of arable land.
Regionally, there are more than 53,000 farms, 15 hectares large on average, most of which specialise in plant production, and the remainder in pig and dairy farming.
The traditional and environmentally friendly methods of production ensure that Pomorskie’s food is of the highest quality. Pomorskie’s numerous lakes and rivers attract water sport lovers and anglers, and provide the basis of the regional fish-based cuisine. The region’s clean waters are home to salmon and trout, and there is an abundance of farmed trout and carp. Pomorskie’s forests are rich with mushrooms, blueberries and cowberries.
To maximise the regional crop-growing potential, six crop research stations were established. They are in Karżniczka, Lubań, Wyczechy, Lisewo, Radostowo and Dębina. The research stations also provide training for farmers and food industry staff. They are a source of information about the best crops and crop types and modern production technologies.
With the forests, lakes and good access to the sea, there has been dynamic growth of agritourism in the region. It offers a great opportunity for many farms, has an effect on rural development and has an effect on Pomorskie’s economy.
Gdańsk - World Capital of Amber
Amber, also known as the Gold of the North or Baltic Gold, is the petrified resin of coniferous trees from around 40-60 million years ago. It is characterised by a diverse and iridescent palette of colours. The lucky few can find valuable inclusions - chunks of amber with insects or fragments of plants inside them. The Slavic lands saw trade in amber flourish as far back as Neolithic times, and at the time of the Roman Empire the famous amber trail led from the Adriatic to the Baltic. The inhabitants of Pomerania paid in amber for weapons and tools, while amber nectar was used for medicinal purposes. Gdańsk was an important centre for amberwork in the Middle Ages. The famous Amber Chamber was constructed in Gdańsk in 1711. Today beautiful examples of this Baltic treasure can be seen in the History Museum of the City of Gdańsk, the Archaeological Museum and the Inclusion Museum in Gdynia but the biggest collection is in the Castle Museum in Malbork. It is also worth noting the world’s biggest amber altar, currently under construction in St Bridget’s Church in Gdańsk, and the unique amber monstrance, which is over 170 cm in height. Every year anyone can become World Champion in Amber-trawling by taking part in these unique contests in Jantar on the Mierzeja Wiślana. Gdańsk also hosts the world’s greatest amber fair, AMBERIF. Gdańsk has the only university in the world with a Department of Amber.
Farming Fairs and Shows
Pomorskie’s farming products are showcased at numerous fairs and shows organised by the Pomorskie regional government in a joint effort with the Pomorskie Farmers’ Advisory Centre:
•April – “Gardening Fair”, Strzelino near Słupsk,
•May – “Farming and Flowers Fair”, Strzelino near Słupsk,
•May Pomorskie “Traditional Food Product’s Feast”, Gdańsk - Oliwa,
•June – Pomorskie Farming and Industry Fair”, “Pomorskie Regional Breed Animals Show”, Lubań near Kościerzyna,
•June “Żuławy Farm Fair”, “X Regional Breed Animals Show”, “Artistic Craft Show”, Stare Pole,
•June "Field´s Days", Lubań near Kościerzyna,
•September "Corn Day", Lubań near Kościerzyna,
•September “Autumn Gardening and Seed Fair”, “Artistic Craft Show”, Stare Pole,
•September “Kociewie Breed Animals Show”, Bolesławowo near Skarszewy,
•September “Kashubian Farming Autumn”, Lubań near Kościerzyna,
•October – “Autumn Gardening Fair ”, Strzelino near Słupsk.
The Harvest Festival is a special event to give thanks for the harvest. It is held every year in September at all administrative levels and has a strong link with the rural traditions of Pomorskie.
Culinary heritage of Pomorskie Voivodeship
Pomorskie traditional specialities are:
Kashubian potato pâté / Cziszka kaszëbska - a non-meat dish prepared by the Gochowie ethnic group, the recipe dates back to 18th c.
Yellow swede soup / Zupa z żôłtich wrëków - swede cooked with goose meat served as a main course.
Goose meat dish / Òbòna - goose breast or meat chopped in a wooden bowl.
Crumble topping cake / Młodzowy kuch - a yeast cake with crumble topping, the recipe goes back to 1700.
Slovincian bread - baked by the Slovincians who first settled Gardno and Łebsko lakes area in 19th c.
Prussian beetroot / Preussische Rote Beete - seasoned with caraway, popular in the Sztum area before World War 2.
Onisiówka Liqueur - medicinal alcoholic drink with a base of aromatic honey and black elder flowers.
Kashubian blood soup / Czôrnina - soup made of goose or duck blood with a base of giblets and dried fruit, a symbol of Pomorskie cuisine.
Pomorskie style duck - duck stuffed with a pork filling, the meat is tender, juicy and very tasty. Served in the Pobrzeże Kaszubskie area.
Kashubian herring with onions - served during the festive season. Fish dishes are very popular in Kashubia.
Pomorskie broth - based on a 1925 recipe, can be made with savoy cabbage and cauliflower. Pomorskie cuisine is generally rich in soups.
Strawberry mousse / Kremowe malene - Kashubian strawberry dessert, a favourite for its unique taste and smell.
Kociewie Fefernuski biscuits - gingerbread, hard biscuits, they are at their tastiest several days after baking, can be stored for longer periods.
Kociewskie Pea Pods / Grochowinki - the dish is so called because of its resemblance to the shape and colour of dried hollow pea or bean pods, these vegetables are grown in Kociewie.
Kashubian smoked eel - this fish comes from Raduńskie lakes. Smoked in a barrel or outdoor smoking chamber.
Salted Pomorskie herring in sweet and sour marinade - the Pomorskie cuisine offers a large variety of fish dishes.
Foods with a cranberry base have a tradition going back to 1905, which is when the wooden fruit press was invented. The cranberry is found in the forests and peat bogs of the Tucholskie Primeval Forest but only grows for a few months of the year.
Kashubian potato pancakes / Plince - nourishing potato pancakes served with sugar, cream or honey.
Scrambled eggs with eel / Prażnica - eggs are made on smoked eel cut into small pieces.
Kashubian fruit soup / brzadowa (brzôdowă) - the soup, which is a typical fasting meal, is made from dried fruit: pears, apples, plums and cherries. It is served with dumplings.
Kashubian jacket potatoes / Pulki kaszubskie - "Pulki” are typically served with herring as a fasting meal (on Fridays).
Potato cake / Kociewie Szandar - a very important dish for the regional farmers. The recipe was preserved in the family catechism from 1934.
Kashubian cheesecake with potatoes - served on Sundays and other holidays. With the addition of potatoes the cake stays fresh and moist for a long time.
Kashubian rye and potato bread - in the Kashuby region bread was mainly made from rye because most of the local soil is sandy and infertile and the climate is pretty harsh.
Kashubian Honey - bee-keeping has a very long tradition in Pomerania. The special taste of the Kashubian honey comes from the specific landscape and climate of the region but also from different type of bees’ work.
Kashubian Mushroom Soup - thick mushroom soup served with potatoes and cream. Local mushrooms are used to enrich Kashubian meals. Farmer families used to pick them up in forests and they sold the excess at local markets.
Curative rowanberry liqueur - fruit and herb liqueurs were very commonly used in the old traditional Polish cuisine. The recipe is very simple – you simply pour spirit on the fruit and the liqueur is ready after several weeks.
Kashubian Soup / Polewka - thick soup cooked from meat and vegetables.
Polewka is an Old Polish name for nourishing soup.
Kashubian Caraway Soup - thick, nourishing meat-bone bouillon with vegetables and caraway. The soup is typical for the Kashuby region. The local housewives used to make their soup from locally available ingredients.
Zylc – pigs’ trotters in aspic - a popular and simple dish made from freshly pickled meat, served cold. The perfect snack if you want to drink vodka or beer.
Marzipan Hearts from Piekło - sweet cookies baked typically for holidays and made basically from potatoes, with a special machine from 1960.
Cheese Dumplings from Kociewie - the cheese pie is cooked and made from easily available ingredients: potatoes and cottage cheese. Very important dish for local farmers.
Roasted Leg of Pomeranian Mutton with garlic - Pomeranian sheep is the local variation of Polish long wool sheep. The meat is famous for its unique taste and it is a healthy food.
Kashubian Soup - this soup is cooked from a meat bouillon to which the local housewives add easily available vegetables: cabbage, carrots, leek, sedge, parsnip, tomato and onion. The soup is served with cream.
Kashubian Fish Soup - thick, nourishing soup cooked from small fish from Kashubian lakes: roach, perch and crucian carp.
Dandelion Syrup - Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has been known in the countryside for centuries for its medical features.
Kashubian Szadolce and Kulanki - small dumplings made of grated potatoes, cooked in boiling water and served with either sugar or salt and milk or cream.
Kociewie Marinated Porcini Mushrooms - the mushrooms come from the Tuchola Forests, which are very rich in forest wild fruits and mushrooms. The marinated mushrooms go best with cold meat. Their unique taste comes from the marinade.
Kociewie Bania (Pumpkin) - pumpkin, locally called “bania”, is a very common vegetable in Kociewie’s home gardens. It can be served in many different ways.
Plum Jam from the Lower Vistula Valley - the plum jam is traditionally cooked for many days in a copper cauldron and mixed with a special wooden agitator.
Cherry Crescent Rolls - the unique taste of our Cherry Crescent Rolls comes from the combination of the light yeast roll, aromatic, lightly sour cherries inside and sweet icing on the surface.
Honey Pie from Stoneware - the delicious honey pie gets its unique taste from the 3-month long maturing process in a stoneware pot from 1912.
Debrzno Sweet String - sweet yeast bread baked golden, formed in plaits covered with icing, with cottage cheese stuffing.
Blueberry Vodka (gorzałka) - the Vodka’s main ingredient is blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), a dark blue fruit growing in local forests.
Fried roe from Kashuby - fish roe from Kashubian lakes fried with onion.
Burbot or Cod Liver - liver from fresh fish fried on hot frying-pan without any oil.
Dumplings stuffed with buckwheat - the dish comes from the old Slavic tradition and the actual recipe is from the 19th century.
Kashubian Potato Dumplings - served in soups and with meat dishes. The dumplings are made from cooked, grated potatoes with milk, flour and salt.
Kociewie’s Smoked Chicken - the chicken meat is smoked in smoke from a broadleaved tree, which gives it an unforgettable taste and smell.
Pszczółki Honey - Pszczółki was mentioned for the first time in historical documents in 1307, at that time under the name of Psolcicz. Honey from this village is known for its healing feature and can be added to many dishes.
Rape oil cold pressed - very healthy, non-refined local oil. Perfect for frying and for salads. It stands out with its original colour and smell.
Kociewie Butter - made from ecological and pure milk from cows fed with hay and grass growing in the northern meadows in Tuchola Forest’s Wierzyca, Wietlica and Wda valleys.
The European Union and Rural Development
Poland’s accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004 triggered a number of rural initiatives, leading to a significant change in how things are done in the farming industry.
Direct aid, structural funds and numerous programmes and educational competitions, such as the Rural Regeneration Programme, Leader and Beautiful Countryside Competition encourage, particularly the young, to continue the work of their ancestors and not leave the countryside. EU, national and regional funds improve the competitiveness of Pomorskie’s agriculture and food industry, and ensure sustainable rural development. The cultural heritage can thus be preserved for future generations.
Pomorskie is in Eureregion Baltic Rural Development Working Group.
Come and visit the Pomorskie region! This is the place to enjoy the beautiful countryside and taste the best regional cuisine.