• 23 października 2014
  • Imieniny:
  • Teodora i Seweryna


    According to analysts worldwide, Lower Silesia ranks among Poland's fastest-developing regions.

    The factors making it attractive to business are the following: Lower Silesia is one of Poland’s border provinces, it has very good home and international rail, road and air connections, its local market is large, while at the same time the potential of the local industry is significant and the human resources are ample and varied. Since the early Middle Ages, the region has been a crossing point of the main European trade routes. During the industrialisation era, Lower Silesia housed a large number of Europe’s first factories in many branches of industry. The modern industry of the region is varied, the trade and services well-developed, which makes Lower Silesia immune to fluctuations of economy and gives plenty of cooperation opportunities. Favourable climate and good quality soils in the central part of the region foster the development of agriculture and the food processing industry. The natural conditions – the Sudeten, large forests, areas with favourable microclimate and plenty of spas – as well as many historical buildings and rich cultural life make Lower Silesia particularly attractive for tourists. Wrocław, the capital of Lower Silesia, is considered by EU spatial planning institutions one of the most significant centres of development and innovation in the nascent new European space. The prospect of Poland’s integration with the European Union makes the region all the more economically attractive, a good testimony to which are numerous investments made in the region by renowned international companies.

    For the most part of its history Lower Silesia was a frontier land, and at the same time one of the richest regions of whichever country it happened to belong to. In the previous millennium, Lower Silesia passed through the hands of many rulers. It was under the rule of the Piast princes since 990, was taken over by the Czech kings in 1335, then by the Austrian emperors from the Hapsburg dynasty in 1526, and the Prussian kings in 1741. In the first half of the 20th century it belonged to Germany, and after the fall of the Third Reich in 1945 it became part of Poland again. Today, on the threshold of the 21st century and of Poland’s integration with the European Union, Lower Silesia wants to carry on with its mission of being the meeting point of cultures and traditions and a consolidator of different civilisations; as the Polish driving force of development among European regions it certainly has the potential to do so.

    Area and climate

    Located in south-western Poland and occupying 6.4% of its area, Lower Silesia is one of the country's 16 provinces.

    The Lower Silesia Province (województwo dolno?lšskie) borders on the Czech Republic in the south (state border length - 432 km) and Germany (Saxony) in the west (state border length - 80 km). The neighbouring provinces are the Lubusz, Great Poland and Opole Provinces (województwo lubuskie, wielkopolskie and opolskie). The region has a varied landscape and three distinctive zones: the lowland occupied by the Lower Silesian Forests (Bory Dolno?lšskie) and the humid Milicz Forests (Lasy Milickie) in the north of the region; the Silesian Lowland (Nizina ?lšska) along the proglacial stream valley of the Oder River in the central part; and the rugged foothills of the picturesque Sudeten mountains in the southern part. The region's main river is the Oder (Poland's second biggest river, over 700 kilometres long), and the highest peak is ?nieżka (1602 m above sea level). The capital of the Province is Wrocław, one of the country's main economic, scientific and cultural centres of international significance. One of the features characteristic of the Lower Silesian climate is the changeability of the weather. It is here that masses of oceanic and continental air come together. Despite that, the climate of Lower Silesia is mild, and the lowlands of the Province are the warmest area of Poland. The climate of the mountainous and submontane regions is different: in terms of temperature, the climate of the Giant Mountains (Karkonosze), the highest range of the Sudeten, is similar to that of sub-polar regions. The average annual temperature here is low, the winter long, and the summer short and cold. The mountainous regions of the Province are famous for their strong winds, with ?nieżka being one of the most windy places in Europe.

    The People

    Lower Silesia is inhabited by almost 3 million people, or 7.7 % of Poland's population.

    For the past 50 years, Lower Silesians have been perceived as an exceptional 'melting pot' of different nations, whose mixing led to the creation of a completely new culture. This is due to the fact that the region was settled between 1945 and 1947 by completely new inhabitants. Immigrants came to Lower Silesia from different regions of pre-war Poland, mostly from its eastern territories, which after the new political division of Europe after World War II became part of the Soviet Union (nowadays Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine). Thus, the present-day Lower Silesians form a relatively young, well-educated, open and enterprising community. Most of them inhabit the 89 towns of the Province. More than 30% of the region's population inhabits its four biggest cities, with an equal percentage living in the region's 2,930 villages. The region's capital, Wrocław, is Poland's fourth most populated (640,000 inhabitants) and fifth biggest (292,000 square km) city. Other major cities of the region include Legnica (109,000 inhabitants), Wałbrzych (137,000 inhabitants) and Jelenia Góra (93,000 inhabitants). The towns of over 50,000 inhabitants include Głogów (74,300 inhabitants), Lubin (82,700 inhabitants) and ?widnica (65,000 inhabitants). There are 11 towns in the region populated by more than 20,000 people. Smaller settlements are particularly numerous in the Sudeten foothills and the Sudeten mountains themselves, where there are many towns with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants in the inter-montane valleys. Many of these towns are famous spas and holiday resorts.

    Administrative division

    The Lower Silesia Province is divided into 30 counties (powiat), including four municipal counties, and 169 communes (36 municipal communes, 54 communes of mixed municipal and rural character and 79 rural communes).

    A province is Poland's largest administrative unit and the seat of the local government. The local government of a province, the regional assembly, is elected every four years in direct elections. The regional assembly performs legislative and control functions and is responsible for public undertakings on the regional level. The regional assembly nominates members of the province executive board, who work under the supervision of the chief executive officer. Counties and communes are independent of the regional assembly which does not supervise and control them in any way; neither are they subordinate to any other authorities in administrative procedures. The county is the second level in the administrative division. A county council is elected every four years in direct elections. The county councillors elect the county executive board, whose activities are supervised by the county governor. The responsibilities of the county include all public administration activities that are outside the scope of communes' authority, such as education, public transport, fighting unemployment, etc. The commune is the basic administrative division unit in which the legislative and control functions are performed by the commune council elected every four years in direct elections. Depending on the size of a commune, its executive officer is called either prezydent (in larger cities), burmistrz (in smaller towns) or wójt (in villages) and is also elected in direct elections. The central government is represented in a province by the province governor, who makes sure the decisions made in the communes and counties are legitimate and supervises the central government institutions, such as the police, the fire, sanitary, epidemiological and veterinary inspection departments, etc. A province's chief executive officer and the province governor work independently of one another, implementing their respective public administration tasks.


    Lower Silesia's strategic location and excellent transport network provide a perfect business and investment environment.

    There are four major international routes passing through Lower Silesia: the E40 from Calais, via Brussels, Aachen, Dresden, Legnica, Wrocław (the A4 motorway) to Opole and Cracow, and further east to Lviv and Kiev; the E36 to Berlin, which joins the E40 near Legnica; the E65 from Malmö via Ystad, ?winouj?cie, Legnica and Jelenia Góra to Prague, Brno and further south to Athens; the E67 from Prague via Wrocław and Warsaw and further north to the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia). There are also international railroads crossing Lower Silesia. These include the E30 from Germany to Ukraine and the E59 connecting the Szczecin- ?winouj?cie ports (offering connections to Scandinavia) with the south of Europe. The well-developed Lower Silesian railroad system makes Wrocław Poland's biggest rail communications centre for passenger and goods trains. There are also regular flights from the Wrocław International Airport to Frankfurt am Main, Munich, London, Copenhagen, Vienna and Berlin, as well as regular domestic flights to and from Warsaw. The airport has modern navigation equipment which makes it possible for both passenger and cargo flights to land and take off in any weather conditions. The significance of the region in terms of transport is also boosted by the Oder waterway that connects Lower Silesia with the Szczecin-?winouj?cie sea ports and, through a network of channels, with Berlin and the entire European inland navigation network.

    The Economic Profile

    In terms of economy, the Lower Silesia Province is one of Poland's best developed regions.

    Since Lower Silesia is also one of the country's most industrialized regions, its contribution to Polish GNP has for some time been at a constant and relatively high level. The companies seated in Lower Silesia are numerous and the scope of their business activities is very diversified. The region's leading industry sectors include electrical machinery, electronics, motor vehicle, power, construction, chemical and food-processing industries, while the traditional industries include coal, copper ore and mineral resources mining and the production of clothes, fabrics and china. The Lower Silesia Province is Poland's leading supplier of many types of industrial goods. The region ranks: - 1st in the production of electrical turbo-machines, domestic refrigerators, deep freezers, washing machines, spin-driers and cookers, table porcelain and china, and crystal glass; - 2nd in the production of cotton and cotton-like fabrics, machinery and tools for the construction industry, machinery and tools for road construction and land improvement industries, as well as detergents and washing-up liquids. Tourism also plays an important role in the region's economy. Thanks to favourable natural conditions, ampleness of historical buildings and the relatively well-developed infrastructure, Lower Silesia is one of Poland's main tourist regions.

    The Economy

    Lower Silesia is one of Europe's richest mineral deposit regions.

    The minerals found in Lower Silesia are the basis for the development of mining, as well as for many other branches of the region's industry. The most important minerals include lignite (Bogatynia), copper ore (Legnica-Głogów), paving and building stone, fire-resistant clay (Rusko-Jaroszów) and hard coal (Wałbrzych-Nowa Ruda). Mining of the last one has been discontinued. The copper deposits are extracted by KGHM "Polska Miede" SA in Lubin (approx. 400,000 tonnes per year), one of Poland's largest companies. The company employs close to 21,000 people and is quoted at the Warsaw and London Stock Exchanges. Apart from copper, KGHM "Polska Miede" also extracts gold, silver (in quantities affecting its world prices) and salt. The company has been going through a restructuring process and is currently investing in other sectors in the region, not directly related with the copper industry, e.g. in telecommunications. Turów SA (power plant) in Bogatynia (2105 MW) fuelled by lignite excavated in the nearby strip mine is one of the leading Polish power plants. As a result of the modernisation process performed in the 1990s (being one of the largest operations of its kind in Europe) the power plant currently meets the EU green policy requirements and is a perfect example of the coexistence of the natural environment and industry. The natural resources such as clay, aggregate or rock are extracted and processed by numerous Lower Silesian companies. Construction ceramics (bricks and roof tiles), for instance, is produced by the manufacturing plant in ?roda ?lšska being one of Poland's biggest Röben plants. Ceramic tiles are produced by "Przyborsk" and "Polcolorit" near Jelenia Góra, top quality china by "Ksi±ż" and "Karolina" in the vicinity of Wałbrzych, rocks and road construction aggregates are processed by Wrocławskie Przedsi´biorstwo Surowców Mineralnych SA, granite is extracted by a number of companies near Strzegom, and marble is found in the Kłodzko region.

    The Wrocław-based ABB Dolmel factory, a leading producer of turbines and power generators, has for many years been the showpiece of Lower Silesian industry. The most significant producers of electric machinery include PAFAL in ?widnica, Alstom REFA in ?wiebodzice, FAREL in Z±bkowice ¦l±skie and Elektromontaż in Wrocław. Other significant producers include Zakłady Mechaniczne LEGMET (LEGMET Mechanical Plant) in Legnica and Archimedes SA in Wrocław - the only Polish producer of pneumatic tools. Machines for the paper industry are produced by Beloit Polska in Jelenia Góra - one of the world's leaders in this line of business. Fabryka Maszyn Górnictwa Odkrywkowego FAMAGO SA, the world's largest producer of strip mining machines, is located in Zgorzelec, while Wrocław seats Poland's leading producers of household equipment: "Wrozamet" and "Polar", which supply 50-80% of the country's washing machines, refrigerators and cookers. Zakłady Samochodowe "Jelcz" SA (Jelcz Automotive Factory) has a long tradition of producing buses; additionally, it also produces MAN engines. In the 1990s, a truck assembly plant, and later a bus factory was established in Wrocław by Volvo, while WABCO, one of the world's leaders in the production of braking systems, set up a greenfi eld factory in the city. Volkswagen, for its part, has been producing engines in a new factory in Polkowice, while Toyota started the production of gear boxes in °arów near Wałbrzych. There are also other signifi - cant manufacturers of car parts, components and accessories in the Lower Silesia Province. Wrocław's outstanding achievements in electronics and data-processing industry (the first Polish computers were produced here in the 1980s) were the basis of the success story of JTT Computer SA, currently one of Poland's major producers of computer hardware.

    Rokita SA in Brzeg Dolny, the supplier of approximately 25% of Polish raw materials for the production of plastics and a pesticides producer is the biggest chemical plant in Lower Silesia. A number of companies that further process its products have been founded nearby, such as Vita Polymers Polska, a producer of polyurethane foam used in furniture making and in the automotive industry. The Wrocław-based Polifarb Cieszyn - Wrocław S.A. is the country's leader in the production of paints for the construction industry, while the Wrocław Cussons factory (previously called Pollena) is leading the fi eld of household cleansing. Jelfa SA from Jelenia Góra has for many years been the leader in the pharmaceutical industry; other companies in this fi eld include the fast-developing Hasco-Lek from Wrocław founded in the 1990s, Wrocławskie Zakłady Zielarskie Herbapol SA, a producer of herbal medicines and health supplements of 50 years standing, and Wrocław Viscoplast-3M SA, a leading producer of dressings and bandages. Also many Lower Silesian food-processing companies are at the forefront in their fi eld. The "Piast" beer is the product of the Browary Dolno¶l±skie brewery, sweets and confectionery are produced by ¦nieżka from ¦wiebodzice and Cadbury-Wedel SA located near Wrocław, Cargill's factory of glucose syrup is also located in the vicinity of the city, while McCain Foods produces potato chips in Strzelin. The Lower Silesian weaving industry has a very long tradition. Today, the leaders of the textile industry include the producers of cotton fabrics such as Bielbaw SA and Bieltex SA, and the world-famous producers of linen from Kamienna Góra and Mysłakowice. The Wrocław-based Intermoda S.A. is one of Poland's five largest producers of men's wear.

    Special Economic Zones

    The authorities of Lower Silesia have been striving to provide investors with favourable business environment through the creation of special economic zones and districts of economic activity.

    At present, there are three Special Economic Zones and the Wrocław Technology Park. Investors in any of those areas are offered tax allowances and simplifi ed administrative procedures while setting up their activities. At the end of 2000, as many as 102 companies were licensed to conduct business activity in the Special Economic Zones, along with 28 production plants employing 5,300 people. The Legnica Special Economic Zone was founded in the most industrialized part of the Province, in the Legnica-Głogów Copper Basin (Legnicko-Głogowskie Zagłębie Miedziowe). The idea behind its foundation was to create an alternative for the dominant copper industry and to develop the areas degraded by the Soviet troops during their stationing in Poland. The Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone was created in a region where coal mining and textile industry had dominated for many years. The closing down of the coal mines in the 1990s led to a signifi - cant deterioration of the economic condition of many companies that used to cooperate with the mines, which resulted in a massive increase in the rate of unemployment. The Kamienna Góra Small Business Special Economic Zone was founded in the Sudeten region, where traditional branches of industry have been disappearing along with many companies, while the region itself has a lot of development potential for the tourist industry. In Wrocław, the Technology Park is under construction which provides conditions for taking full advantage of the scientifi c and industrial capacity of the city. The Technology Park was designed for high-tech companies as well as for laboratories and scientific, research and development institutions.

    Foreign Investment

    The Lower Silesia Province is among Poland’s leading regions in terms of the number of companies with foreign capital and the amount of the foreign capital invested.

    Over 4,600 companies with foreign capital are registered in Lower Silesia; they account for over 30% of all commercial companies registered in the Province. In the 1990s, direct foreign investment in Lower Silesia exceeded 1.7 billion US dollars. 170 companies invested more than 1 million US dollars here. The biggest investors in Lower Silesia come from: • Great Britain, 21 companies, includ- ing: Cadbury Schweppes, Cussons Group Ltd., British Vita, BOC, Coca Cola, Tesco, Shell, BP, GKN; • USA, 27 companies, including: PepsiCo, Cargill, McDonald’s, Ameri- can Retail System (American Interna- tional Group Inc.), Armstrong, Gerber Comp., 3M; • Germany, 53 companies, including: BTR Automotive, Siemens, Röben, Tonbaustoffe, Bayerische Hypo und Vereinsbank AG, Metro, Mercedes (Zasada Group), Flessner, Volkswa- gen, HIT, Makro, Selgros, OBI, Aral, Schöller, Schneider, DEA, Real, Auto- motive, Petri, Mini Mal; • France, 17 companies, including: Castorama, Carrefour, Géant, Alsthom; • Sweden and Switzerland, 6 compa- nies, including: ABB, Volvo, IKEA, SCA; • the Netherlands, 8 companies, includ- ing: SCA Molnlycke, Boart Longyer; • Canada, 4 companies, including: McCain, Northern Telecom. So far, the biggest investment in the Province was the acquisition of 80% of shares in Bank Zachodni SA by Allied Irish Bank PLC for 582 million dollars.

    Human Resources

    The high qualifications of the Lower Silesians are one of the driving forces of the region’s economic development.

    Lower Silesia is characterized by a high percentage of people with college and university diplomas (7.1%), while approximately 55% of its inhabitants are secondary school graduates. There are 26 schools of higher education in the Province, with over 131,000 students (8.3% of the total of students in Poland). With its 21 schools of higher education and 96,000 students, Wrocław is the most signifi cant academic centre of the region and one of Poland’s most important academic centres. Wrocław’s universities employ 6,500 full-time lecturers, including 1,150 professors. The biggest higher education schools are the University of Wrocław, the Wrocław University of Technology, the Wrocław School of Economics and the Medical School. The most signifi cant achievements of the Wrocław scientists include pioneering research on strong magnetic fi elds, low temperatures and the phenomenon of superconductivity as well as immunology and experimental therapy. Higher education schools in other cities and towns of the region can be found in Legnica, Wałbrzych, Âwidnica, Kłodzko and Jelenia Góra. Most of them are private vocational schools and business schools or local branches of the Wrocław universities. The courses offered refl ect the market needs of the local communities. In Jelenia Góra, for instance, courses dedicated to the tourist industry are offered, while in Legnica it is possible to work for the MBA degree. The high qualifi cations of the Lower Silesians gain recognition of foreign investors. A good example of such appreciation is the fact that after its buses had been produced in Wrocław for a couple of years, Volvo Bus Corporation decided to open its Industrial Centre here. One of the company’s brochures reads: “The vehicles produced in the Wrocław plant are very high quality, while the Polish engineering staff and assembly line workers proved to be fl exible, well-educated and fully capable of performing the tasks they were entrusted with.

    Business Environment

    The dynamic development of the Lower Silesian economy is accompanied by an even faster development of institutions fostering entrepreneurship, companies providing services for businesses and government and non-governmental business agencies and organisations.

    The financial infrastructure in the region is also very well developed: four banks have their head offices here, there are also over 200 branches of commercial and 106 branches of cooperative banks. Poland’s largest leasing company has its head office in Wrocław. The region’s development is supported by 5 consulting and training centres, 2 local loan and guarantee and loan funds, 5 business incubators and technology parks and 1 venture capital fund. Business is also assisted by agencies for regional and local development, three Special Economic Zones and numerous business organizations and associations for the business people. Services for businesses are also available from some of the higher education schools in the Province, including the Wrocław School of Economics, the Wrocław University of Technology, the Wałbrzych College of Business and Management and the Wrocław Centre for Technology Transfer whose task is to look for innovative projects among scientifi c and research institutions. Wrocław is also an important trade fair and show centre. The most important events include TARBUD International Construction Fair, TASPOL Food Processing Industry Fair, and the International Fair of Electronics, Telecommunications and Electrical Engineering. Lower Silesia, and Wrocław in particular, has a very good hotel and offi ce infrastructure along with a modern network of shopping centres. Most of them were constructed over the last 10 years by renowned companies and in accordance with the EU standards

    Agriculture and Forestry

    Although not a typically agricultural area, Lower Silesia has a climate conducive to farming.

    The central, lowland part of the Province offers perfect conditions for agriculture. Fertile soils, predominantly class I and II, provide good crops of cereals, potatoes and sugar beet. The vegetation season, when the mean daily temperature remains above 5°C, is the longest in Poland and lasts more than 245 days in a year, which makes the local farming very productive. There are more than 65 thousand farms registered in Lower Silesia. An average farm occupies approximately 10 ha (30% more than the national average). Arable land accounts for 58% of the Province’s area. Close to 165 thousand people (15% of the total number of the working population of the region) work in agriculture and forestry. The Lower Silesian Agricultural and Foodstuffs Wholesale Market was established in Wroc?aw. It is one of the eight commodity exchanges of supra-regional importance, whose technical facilities make it possible to monitor the prices of foodstuffs and agricultural products quoted by other exchanges in Poland and abroad. Forests occupy close to 30% of the area of the Province. The prevailing part of the woodland are protected areas (in total, they comprise approx. 20% of the Province’s area). Timber stock of the Lower Silesian forests ise forests her sectorsocessing an are protected areas er Silesia estimated at 110 million cubic metres and it is used as raw material by the timber industry and by timberprocessing plants in other sectors. The Lower Silesian forests enhance the tourist attractiveness and health resort aspects of the region. Special protection is provided for the woodland areas located in 2 national parks (Giant Mountains National Park and Table Mountains National Park), 12 landscape parks and 14 protected landscape areas, as well as in the vicinity of Lower Silesian numerous health resorts.


    Lower Silesia houses numerous arts institutions and is home of many outstanding artists.

    The cultural capital of the region is Wrocław which, beside Warsaw and Cracow, is among Poland’s most signifi cant cultural centres. Wrocław boasts two theatres, an operetta, a pantomime theatre, a puppet theatre, a philharmonic, 10 museums, numerous galleries, three arts colleges and a large group of artists. Cultural life is also vibrant in other towns of the region that have excellent arts institutions: there are theatres, philharmonics and museums in Legnica, Jelenia Góra and Wałbrzych. The sprouting of numerous informal arts groups is a new phenomenon observed recently in the region’s smaller towns and villages, where what can be termed ‘arts colonies’ (e.g. in the village of Michałowice near Jelenia Góra) and alternative culture centres are being founded. In the 1960s and 70s Wrocław was viewed as Poland’s capital of the theatre and one of the world’s capitals of avantgarde theatre. Wrocław was the home of the Laboratory Theatre led by Jerzy Grotowski, an outstanding producer and reformer of the 20th century theatre. Avant-garde tendencies are also characteristic of the Lower Silesian visual artists, many of whom boast outstanding achievements including works in glass, ceramics, poster and industrial design. Music also plays a signifi cant role in the cultural life of Lower Silesia. Many outstanding composers live in the region, and plenty of music festivals, a Lower Silesian speciality, are organized here. The most signifi cant of those is the 40-year-standing “Wratislavia Cantans” held in the historical churches in Wrocław and in a number of other towns of the region. Each year, the festival hosts a few thousand artists from all over the world.


    Lower Silesia abounds in tourist attractions and leisure facilities.

    The Sudeten and their foothills, the Kłodzko Valley, numerous castles, Cistercian monasteries, historical churches, many places of worship, spas, relics of technology, Gothic and Baroque treasures of Wroc?aw and other Lower Silesian towns are a real magnet for both Polish and foreign tourists; it is estimated that Lower Silesia hosts an average 4 million tourists a year. The diversity of the region’s relief (ranging from mountainous areas in the south to lowland, densely forested areas with plenty of ponds in the north), numerous tourist trails, picturesque landscapes, historical treasures and the climate make Lower Silesia a place where even the most demanding tastes will be satisfi ed. Visitors to the health resorts, holidaymakers, hikers, skiing and mountain bikes enthusiasts, climbers, canoeists, and even gliders and hang-gliders will find the local climate conditions and tourist facilities more than satisfactory. Lower Silesia is also famous for its spas; there are 12 health resorts in the region. The region’s spas have been known since the Middle Ages and they attracted many visitors from all over Europe already in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Lower Silesian spas are also popular holiday destinations. Due to the relatively mild climate, snow in the vast expanses of the Silesian Lowland is rare. However, just a few dozen miles to the south the region is a real skiing paradise where abundant snow is guaranteed. The fi rst snow covers the peaks of the Giant Mountains as early as October and often stays there until May. In the Sudeten the skiers and snowboarders will have a lot of famous skiing resorts to choose from, as well as numerous ski runs and tourist trails in small, peaceful holiday resorts.













































































































































































































































































































































































    fot. R. Sołdek