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Voivodeships in German translation (as of January 1, 2009)

A voivodeship or voivodeship is a Polish administrative district as the highest level of the territorial structure in the Republic of Poland ( ISO 3166-2 level, see ISO 3166-2: PL ) and is on the NUTS-2 statistical level . The next smaller self-governing unit is the powiat (district). There are currently 16 voivodeships in Poland.

The term Voivodship , Polish Województwo is derived from Woiwode (German: Heerführer, Herzog ). In Polish history, this title is in contrast to the title Książę , which is etymologically derived from the Germanic word king , but is also mostly translated as duke . Historically, the Województwa, as administrative units of an orderly state, increasingly replaced the Księstwa (princes or duchies) , which had arisen in ancestral and dynastic fashion .

On January 1, 1999, today's 16 voivodeships were created, most of which are historical areas. Originally 12 voivodeships were planned; however, there were political discussions that increased the number to 16. The additional four voivodships were Heiligkreuz, Opole, Lebus and Kujawien-Pomerania. Political considerations also led to the fact that the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship has two official capitals, as does the Lubusz Voivodeship .


Since Poland is a unitary state , the voivodships, unlike the German states, do not have any state quality.

Each voivodship has a self-governing body ( Sejmik województwa, voivodeship assembly , voivodeship day ), which elects a board (zarząd województwa, voivodeship executive committee ) and nominates a chairman (marszałek województwa, voivodeship marshal , voivodeship ).

The voivode ( prefect ), on the other hand, is the representative of the (Warsaw) central government, responsible for controlling the self-government of the voivodeships, districts ( powiat ) and municipalities ( Gmina ).

List of voivodships

Voivodeship Capital of the voivodeship Residents Area
Inhabitant / km² License Plate ISO
WojewdztvodolnolskiebrVoivodschaftnbspLower Silesia
POL województwo dolnośląskie flag.svg Województwo dolnośląskie
Lower Silesian Voivodeship
Wroclaw ( Breslau ) 2,876,832 19,947 144 D. PL-02
POL województwo kujawsko-pomorskie flag.svg Województwo kujawsko-pomorskie
Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship
Bydgoszcz  ( Bromberg )
Toruń  ( Thorn )
2,066,418 17,972 115 C. PL-04
POL województwo lubelskie flag.svg Województwo lubelskie
Lublin Voivodeship
Lublin 2,163,437 25.122 86 L. PL-06
POL województwo lubuskie flag.svg Vojewództwo lubuskie
Lubusz Voivodeship
Gorzów Wielkopolski ( Landsberg ad Warthe )
Zielona Góra ( Grünberg )
1,008,656 13,988 72 F. PL-08
Flag of Lodzkie.svg Województwo łódzkie
Łódź Voivodeship
Łódź ( Lodsch ) 2,551,633 18,219 140 E. PL-10
spanstylewhitespacenowrapUNIQnowikiQINUVojewdztwomaopolskiespanbrVoivodeshipLesser Poland
POL województwo małopolskie flag.svg Województwo małopolskie
Lesser Poland Voivodeship
Kraków ( Krakow ) 3,282,378 15,183 216 K PL-12
POL województwo mazowieckie flag.svg Województwo mazowieckie
Masovian Voivodeship
Warszawa ( Warsaw ) 5,195,000 35,558 146 W. PL-14
VoivodztwoopolskiebrOppeln Voivodeship
POL województwo opolskie flag.svg Vojewództwo opolskie
Opole Voivodeship
Opole ( Opole ) 1,034,656 09.412 110 O PL-16
VoivdztwopodkarpackiebrVoivodeship Subcarpathian
POL województwo podkarpackie flag.svg Województwo podkarpackie
Subcarpathian Voivodeship
Rzeszów 2,097,276 17,845 118 R. PL-18
POL województwo podlaskie flag.svg Vojewództwo podlaskie
Podlaskie Voivodeship
Białystok 1,191,925 20,187 59 B. PL-20
WojewdztwopomorskiebrPomeranian Voivodeship
POL województwo pomorskie flag.svg Województwo pomorskie
Pomeranian Voivodeship
Gdańsk ( Danzig ) 2,215,100 18,310 121 G PL-22
POL województwo śląskie flag.svg Województwo śląskie
Silesian Voivodeship
Katowice ( Katowice ) 4,648,961 12,334 377 S. PL-24
WojewdztvowitokrzyskiebrVoivodeshipHoly Cross
POL województwo świętokrzyskie flag.svg Województwo świętokrzyskie Świętokrzyskie
Kielce ( Kjelzy ) 1,273,625 11,710 109 T PL-26
POL województwo warmińsko-mazurskie flag.svg Województwo warmińsko-mazurskie
Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship
Olsztyn ( Allenstein ) 1,426,401 24.173 59 N PL-28
POL województwo wielkopolskie flag.svg Województwo wielkopolskie
Greater Poland Voivodeship
Poznań ( Poznan ) 3,391,256 29,827 114 P PL-30
WojewdztwozachodniopomorskiebrVoivodeshipWest Pomerania
POL województwo zachodniopomorskie flag.svg Województwo zachodniopomorskie
West Pomeranian Voivodeship
Szczecin ( Stettin ) 1,692,355 22,892 74 Z PL-32

All data from 2008

Historical voivodships

Voivodeships in the 14th to 18th centuries

Voivodeships and (pink) feudal areas 1619

Soon after the overcoming of Polish particularism , the Kingdom of Poland was divided into voivodeships from 1308–1339. Their capitals were often not in the middle, but rather close to the end facing the royal city of Krakow :

In Greater Poland and Kuyavia :

In Lesser Poland :

At the time, Mazovia was only connected to Poland by belonging to the Archdiocese of Gniezno . With its integration into the Polish state, it was later divided into voivodeships as well as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (and its Ruthenian countries, which came under the Polish crown) and Royal Prussia . The royal free cities (Danzig, Thorn, Elbing and Riga until 1621) were excluded from this system.

Voivodeships 1816–1837 (Congress Poland)

Congress Poland 1831

In the years 1816 to 1837, voivodeships also existed in Congress Poland; these were then renamed provinces and reorganized several times.

Voivodeships in the Second Republic 1921–1939

Voivodeships of the Second Republic

Since Poland has been known as Rzeczpospolita since the unification of the Kingdom of Poland with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish republic is known as the Second Republic between the World Wars.

Voivodeships 1945–1975

After the Second World War until 1975, Poland was divided into 17 voivodeships.

Voivodeships 1950–1975

Voivodeships 1975–1998

In 1975 the number was increased to 49, officially in order to optimize the state administration, to strengthen the authorities in the regions and to compensate for the disparities in the economic developments between the regions. None of the stated goals were achieved; instead, as expected, the influence of the central government was increased.

Voivodeships 1975–1998

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Andrzej Chwalba : Brief history of the Third Republic of Poland. 1989 to 2005. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2010, ISBN 978-3-447-05925-1 , p. 59.
  2. Powierzchnia i ludność w przekroju terytorialnym w 2008 r. online ( Memento from April 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive ).
  3. ^ Iwona Sagan: Polish regional and metropolitan policy. In: Poland analyzes. No. 103, February 21, 2012, ISSN  1863-9712 , pp. 1–12, digital version (PDF; 795 KB) .