Port of Gdynia celebrates centenary

2022/02/04 at 11:29 AM

2022 is extremely important for the maritime industry in Poland, as we are celebrating the jubilee of the Port of Gdynia. For 100 years, the port has been the most important part of Gdynia, a generator of regional development and a Polish gateway to the world. The maritime industry and the port’s activities shape the character of the city whose tradition and past, as well as past and future achievements, are inextricably linked.

Fairway of the Port of Gdynia, source: Tadeusz Urbaniak / Port of Gdynia Authority

In 1920, under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, Poland regained access to the sea, lost during the partitions. For full sovereignty, key economic decisions were necessary that would allow the country to gain economic independence.

As Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski, the builder of the port and the city of Gdynia, said, “Poland without its own sea coast and without its own fleet will never be united, independent, economically and politically independent, neither respected in the great family of states and nations nor able to secure the conditions of existence, work, progress and prosperity to its citizens”.

Tadeusz Wenda, an engineer, both indicated the site for the construction of the Port of Gdynia, as well as designed and supervised its construction. In his report, he wrote: “The most convenient place to build a naval port (as well as, if necessary, a trade port) is Gdynia, or rather the lowland between Gdynia and Oksiva,” he argued his choice, for example, by the fact that Gdynia has favourable hydrographic conditions and is sheltered from winds, and there is a train station nearby.

On September 23, 1922, the Sejm passed an act on the construction of the port in Gdynia.

The Gdynia port was established as a living showcase of Poland at that time – its economic potential and technical thought. Within a few years, the Port of Gdynia became the largest port on the Baltic Sea and one of the largest ports in Europe, ahead of such ports as Copenhagen, Bremen, Amsterdam, Genoa, Naples and Trieste in terms of turnover. Gdynia grew with the port, turning from a fishing village inhabited by just over 100 inhabitants into a city inhabited by nearly 130,000 people (1939).

On the occasion of the centenary of the Port of Gdynia, a unique calendar for 2022 was created in cooperation with a young artist from Gdynia, Jan Rutka. He is a young artist with great passion, especially Gdynia architecture, which has become the hallmark of his works.

A unique calendar for 2022 created on the occasion of the centenary of the Port of Gdynia, source: Tadeusz Urbaniak / Port of Gdynia Authority

An excellent sense of the character of the city and the port made the Port of Gdynia offer the artist cooperation in the celebration of the centenary of the port. Although they will last all year round, and therefore many graphic elements and works are yet to be created, some of them, including a special calendar with Rutka’s works, is ready and can be admired.

Jan Rutka was interested in art, as he says himself, since he could hold a pencil and draw. Architecture has always been his closest subject, especially Gdynia’s modernism. For the needs of the book calendar, the artist prepared 12 works of illustrations that combine into one common image, showing the history of the Port, which was created out of the need for full freedom and independence of the country.

“The works present the fascinating history of the 100 years of the Port of Gdynia and show that there are people and their passions behind every huge project. Just like our jubilee image, each large project consists of many small activities, decisions and work of many people,” says Aleksander Wicka, head of the marketing department at the Port of Gdynia Authority (PGA).

You can find there both the figures of the builders: Wendy and Kwiatkowski, as well as the characteristic buildings: the Marine Station, the Oil House, the seat of the PGA and the latest investment, namely the building of the New Ferry Terminal.

“The Port of Gdynia and the city of Gdynia were created thanks to the vision and work of wonderful people. The Port of Gdynia has always attracted outstanding specialists and research workers. We are happy that we can once again support a young man as a Port, this time an artist from Gdynia with great passion. We want Jan Rutka’s works prepared for the Centenary of the Port of Gdynia to reach a wider audience and one of his works will also be auctioned for the Amber Harbour Hospice for Children in Gdynia. 100 years after the port was established, investment works have been carried out continuously, and the huge projects that are currently underway are being undertaken with the next generations in mind. We ended the year 2021 with an increase of 8.2 per cent, thanks to the employees of all terminals and companies operating in the Port of Gdynia. It is thanks to people that the port changes and achieves further success over the years. We want this fascinating story and extraordinary people to inspire us and motivate us to further expand the port as a window to the world that will positively affect the economy of the country and the development of the city in the coming years. Let the port builders be an inspiration and a proof that nothing is impossible,” comments Kazimierz Koralewski, vice president of the Port of Gdynia Authority.

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