Quay at the Motlawa river, Gdansk


In the Polish city of Gdansk (Dantzig in German times) you can find a lot of Dutch and Flemish heritage. Many architects from the Netherlands and Belgium built and designed houses and interiors for the city of Gdansk. In the Middle Ages, they came in the wake of traders and sailors from the Low Countries who had joined the trade union The Hanze.

Several of these buildings – residences, commercial buildings, city gates and defenses – now function as museums. Outside Gdansk, even more Dutch heritage can be found. In the 16th century Mennonites settled in the delta of the river Weichsel. They were followers of the Dutch-Frisian pastor Menno Simons, who were persecuted in their own country because of their beliefs. Although these newcomers were somewhat skewed in Gdansk’ and faced limitations, they were welcomed in the Zulawy region east and south of the city. The Mennonites built dikes, windmills, locks and canals to make the swampy delta area habitable. The remains of those, as well as their churches, cemeteries and farms, can still be found.

The audio tours about shared cultural heritage in Poland were commissioned by the Dutch Embassy in Poland, with additional funding of the Heritage Desk of DutchCulture and Polska, Polish Tourist Organisation in the Netherlands.