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Subnational Flags (Poland)

Voivodships and Counties (Powiatu)

Last modified: 2011-05-21 by andrew weeks
Keywords: voivodship | wojewodztwo | county |
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Poland is divided into 16 Voivodships (provinces), which are in turn divided into 314 Powiatu (counties)
and 65 "miasta na prawach powiatu" (cities with powiat status).

The counties are in turn divided into "gminy" (translated as districts or communes), which are of 3 types:

  • gmina miejska, or urban district, consisting of a town
  • gmina miejsko-wiejska, or urban-rural, consisting of a town ("miasto") and the surrounding rural area ("obszar wiejski")
  • gmina wiejska, or rural district, consisting of several villages.
In many cases two districts will share the same name, one for the town, and one for the surrounding rural area.
See also:

New polish voivodships and counties (powiatu)

Dolnośląskie (DS) (Lower Silesia) - capital: Wrocław
Dolnośląskie voivodship subdivisions Kujawsko-pomorskie (KP) (Kujavia-Pomerania) - capitals: Bydgoszcz & Toruń
Kujawsko-pomorskie voivodship subdivisions Lubuskie (LB) - capitals: Gorzów Wielkopolski & Zielona Góra
Lubuskie voivodship subdivisions. Łódzkie (LD) - capital: Łódź
Łódzkie voivodship subdivisions Lubelskie (LU) - capital: Lublin
Lubelskie voivodship subdivisions Mazowieckie (MA) (Mazovia) - capital: Warsaw/Warszawa
Mazowieckie voivodship subdivisions Małopolskie (MP) (Little Poland) - capital: Kraków
Małopolskie voivodship subdivisions Opolskie (OP) - capital: Opole
Opolskie voivodship subdivisions Podlaskie (PD) - capital: Białystok
Podlaskie voivodship subdivisions Podkarpackie (PK) (Subcarpathia) - capital: Rzeszów
Podkarpackie voivodship subdivisions Pomorskie (PM) (Pomerania) - capital: Gdańsk
Pomorskie voivodship subdivisions Śląskie (SL) (Silesia) - capital: Katowice
Śląskie voivodship subdivisions Świętokrzyskie (SW) (Holy Cross, after the Holy Cross mountains) - capital: Kielce
Świętokrzyskie voivodship subdivisions Warmińsko-mazurskie (WM) (Warmia - Masuria) - capital: Olsztyn
Warmińsko-mazurskie voivodship subdivsions Wielkopolskie (WP) (Great Poland) - capital: Poznań
Wielkopolskie voivodship subdivisions Zachodniopomorskie (ZP) (West Pomerania) - capital: Szczecin
Zachodniopomorskie voivodship subdivisions Info by Gwidon S. Naskrent, 15 Dec 2000

Old and new voivodships

On July 18, 1998, the Sejm, which is the lower house of Polish Parliament, approved legislation transforming Poland's 49 provinces into 16 new ones, a process which is part of an administrative reform. The Sejm voted 326-45-41 for the measure, one of many in a package of legislation aimed at doing away with the communist era administration and shifting power to local governments. On July 27, 1998, President Aleksander Kwasniewski signed into law a bill dividing Poland into 16 new provinces. On August 7, 1998, the government decided there will be 308 counties (powiaty) in Poland. A number of cities (65 of them) will have county rights. The decentralization, being a result of territorial reform which will take effect on January 1, 1999, has broad support. These decisions ended the argument concerning administrative reform. (Info from this site)
Jarig Bakker, 31 Aug 2000

Common patterns in county flags

Why do some Polish counties have a triangular fly and others do not? Do they represent some specific region, and therefore the shape is indicative of this situation?
Blas Delgado Ortiz, 30 Oct 2001

County flags have been designed only since the regional reorganization of 1999, so it's quite early to look for common patterns. So far there are two regional patterns:
1. Małopolskie voivodship: some counties, but by no means all, use the civic Małopolskie flag with the Coat of Arms of the county in the center.
2. Wielkopolskie voivodship: the Wielkopolskie flag has the trapezoid pattern, now taken over by several (but not all) counties.
Jarig Bakker, 30 Oct 2001

The development of the Polish city flags in the centuries

Throughout the centuries, banners were developed as symbols of municipal self-government.
During the times of the 1st Republic, the municipal banners were, most often, sort of the battle-recognition's signs and were commonly showing the Arms on a
piece of cloth. In the 19th century it became more common to use the colors taken from the Arms.
Between the two World Wars, in the reborn 2nd Republic, the municipal were seen more and more often.
After World War II, during the so-called "People's Republic" and the communist antipathy to anything heraldic, they didn't cease to exist somehow, and after 1990, in the re-established independent 3rd Republic they continue to appear in wide numbers.
Source: this website.
Chris Kretowicz, 16 Jan 2006