Kwidzyn (pronounced Kfee-dzin [ˈkfʲid͡zɨn]; Latin: Quedin; German: Marienwerder; Old Prussian: Kwēdina) is a town in northern Poland on the Liwa River, with 38,553 inhabitants (2018).[1] It has been a part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, and was previously in the Elbląg Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is the capital of Kwidzyn County.

Kwidzyn Castle
Town Hall
Kwidzyn, ul. Chopina (rondo).jpg
Post office
Kinoteatr kwidzyn.jpg
Photos of Kwidzyn
Flag of Kwidzyn
Coat of arms of Kwidzyn
Coat of arms
Kwidzyn is located in Pomeranian Voivodeship
Kwidzyn is located in Poland
Coordinates: 53°44′9″N 18°55′51″E / 53.73583°N 18.93083°E / 53.73583; 18.93083Coordinates: 53°44′9″N 18°55′51″E / 53.73583°N 18.93083°E / 53.73583; 18.93083
Country Poland
Voivodeship Pomeranian
CountyKwidzyn County
GminaKwidzyn (urban gmina)
Established11th century
Town rights1233
 • MayorAndrzej Krzysztof Krzysztofiak
 • Total21.82 km2 (8.42 sq mi)
42 m (138 ft)
 • Total38,553[1]
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code(s)+48 55
Car platesGKW


Kwidzyn Castle and Cathedral in 2010

The Pomesanian settlement called Kwedis existed in the 11th century. In 1233, the Teutonic Knights built the Burg Marienwerder and established the town of Marienwerder (now Kwidzyn) the following year. In 1243, the Bishopric of Pomesania received both the town and castle from the Teutonic Order as fiefs, and the settlement became the seat of the Bishops of Pomesania within Prussia.[2] The town was populated by artisans and traders, originating from towns in the northern parts of the German empire. A Teutonic knight, Werner von Orseln, was murdered in Marienburg (Malbork) in 1330. He was among the first to be buried in the newly erected cathedral of the town.

St. Dorothea of Montau lived in Marienwerder from 1391 until her death in 1394; future pilgrims visiting her shrine would contribute to the flourishing economy.

The Prussian Confederation, which opposed Teutonic rule, was founded in the town on March 14, 1440.[3] Upon the request of the organization in 1454 Polish King Casimir IV Jagiellon incorporated the region and town to the Kingdom of Poland,[4] and the Thirteen Years' War broke out. After the defeat of the Teutonic Knights in the war, in 1466, the town became part of Poland as a fief held by the Teutonic Knights.[5] In 1525, the Teutonic state was transformed into a secular and Lutheran duchy under the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Order Albert, a political foundation only possible with the consent of the Polish King Sigismund I the Old. The town was visited by Polish Kings Sigismund II Augustus in 1552[6] and Stephen Báthory in 1576.[7] In 1618 the ducal rights were inherited by the Brandenburg branch of the House of Hohenzollern and in 1657 the Brandenburg dukes severed ties with the Polish crown and in 1701 elevated their realm to the sovereign Kingdom of Prussia.

The town of Marienwerder meanwhile had become the capital of the District of Marienwerder. In 1772 the Marienwerder district was integrated into the newly established Prussian Province of West Prussia, which consisted mostly of territories annexed in the First Partition of Poland.

1920s view of the castle and cathedral

By the enlargement of its administrative functions, the population of the town started to grow and in 1885, it numbered 8,079. This population was mostly composed of Lutheran inhabitants, many of whom were engaged in trades connected with the manufacturing of sugar, vinegar and brewing as well as dairy farming, fruit growing and the industrial construction of machines.

1922 postcard of Hermann Balk Fountain in Kwidzyn

As a result of the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, the Marienwerder district was divided. The parts west of the Vistula were incorporated into the Polish Second Republic, which just regained independence. The parts east of the Vistula, to which the town of Marienwerder belonged, took part in the East Prussian plebiscite which was organized under the control of the League of Nations. In Marienwerder 7,811 votes were given to remain in East Prussia, and therefore Germany, and 362 for Poland.[8]

According to the Geneva Conventions, the Polish community was entitled to its own schools, and from 1934 local Poles strove to establish a Polish school.[9] The Germans blocked the establishment of the school, and Polish organizations filed 100 complaints to the German administration before the Polish private gymnasium was finally established on November 10, 1937.[9] Local German press incited the Germans against the Polish school,[10] and in 1938 a fourteen-year-old boy was shot at the school yard, which the German police ignored, and the shooter was not caught.[9] The Germans, especially the Hitler Youth, repeatedly harassed and attacked Polish students and devastated the school.[9] It was forcibly closed down on August 25, 1939.[11] The German police surrounded the Polish school and arrested its principal Władysław Gębik, 13 teachers, other staff and 162 students, who were imprisoned in Tapiau (today Gvardeysk),[12] and then deported elsewhere. Later on, students under the age of 18 were released, older students were forcibly conscripted to the Wehrmacht, while teachers and staff were deported to Nazi concentration camps,[9] where most of them were murdered.[13] The head of the local Polish Bank Ludowy was also arrested, and the local Polish consulate was cut off from telephone lines, nevertheless the state radio in Poland still informed about the attack on the Polish school on the same day.[12]

Nazi Germany co-formed the Einsatzgruppe V in the town, which then entered several Polish cities and towns, including Grudziądz, Mława, Ciechanów, Łomża and Siedlce, to commit various atrocities against Poles during the German invasion of Poland, which started World War II.[14] Many Poles expelled from German-occupied Poland were deported to forced labour in the town's vicinity.[15] The Germans also operated a subcamp of the Stutthof concentration camp in the town.[16] On January 30, 1945 in the last months of World War II, the town was captured by the Soviet Red Army. The Red Army established a war hospital in the town for 20,000 people. The town centre was burned and pillaged by Soviet soldiers.

After World War II, the region was placed under Polish administration by the Potsdam Agreement, under territorial changes demanded by the Soviet Union. Most of the people of the town and district were Germans who fled or were expelled in accordance to the Potsdam Agreement, and were replaced with Poles, many of whom had themselves been expelled from the Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union. In 1947, Ukrainians from the Soviet border regions were forced to settle in the area as a result of Operation Vistula.


Kwidzyn is located on the east bank of the Vistula river, approximately 70 kilometres (43 miles) south of Gdańsk and 145 kilometres (90 miles) southwest of Kaliningrad.

Year Inhabitants
1400 approx. 700
1572 approx. 700
1782 3,156
1783 3,297
1831 5,060
1875 7,580
1880 8,238
1890 8,552
1900 9,686
1905 11,819
1925 13,721
1930 13,860
1933 15,548
1939 19,723
1965 approx. 13,000
2006 37,814
The above table is based on biased primary sources from the time of Prussian Partition of Poland.[2][17][18][19][20]

Points of interestEdit

The Kwidzyn Castle is a partially ruined 14th century Brick Gothic Ordensburg castle of the Teutonic Order, namely the Bishops of Pomesania. A large cathedral built between 1343 and 1384 is connected to the castle. It contains the tombs of three Grand Masters of the Teutonic Knights as well as numerous bishops. A bridge connects the castle to a sewer tower. This tower used to be by a river which has since changed its course, leaving the tower on dry land.

Kwidzyn has a Catholic church and a cathedral castle presently used for the museum of Lower Powiśle.

Other sights include the appellate court for Kwidzyn County, a town hall, and government buildings.


A branch of International Paper is located in Kwidzyn, as is the Kwidzyn School of Management.

The second biggest employer in Kwidzyn is Jabil, a global electronics manufacturing services company.[21]

The city has lower average crime and unemployment rates when compared to the national average rates of Poland.[21] These lower rates are attributed to sports programs for youth such as MMTS Kwidzyn (handball) and MTS Basket Kwidzyn.[21]

Notable peopleEdit

Julian Schmidt
Memorial plaque at the birthplace of pilot Maciej Aksler



International relationsEdit

Coat of arms at twin town Celle (Germany), granite artwork below signpost

Kwidzyn is twinned with:


  1. ^ a b "Kwidzyn (pomorskie) » mapy, nieruchomości, GUS, noclegi, szkoły, regon, atrakcje, kody pocztowe, bezrobocie, wynagrodzenie, zarobki, edukacja, tabele, demografia, przedszkola". Polska w liczbach.
  2. ^ a b August Eduard Preuß: Preußische Landes- und Volkskunde. Königsberg 1835, pp. 441–444.
  3. ^ Jürgen Sarnowsky: Der Deutsche Orden. Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-53628-1, p. 100 ff. (restricted preview).
  4. ^ Karol Górski, Związek Pruski i poddanie się Prus Polsce: zbiór tekstów źródłowych, Instytut Zachodni, Poznań, 1949, p. XXXVII, 54 (in Polish)
  5. ^ Górski, p. 96-97, 214-215
  6. ^ Jędrzej Moraczewski, Dzieje Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej z pierwszéj połowy szesnastego wieku, Poznań, 1847, p. 277 (in Polish)
  7. ^ Łukasz Gołębiowski, Domy i dwory, Warszawa, 1830, p. 87 (in Polish)
  8. ^ Marzian, Herbert; Kenez, Csaba (1970). Selbstbestimmung für Ostdeutschland – Eine Dokumentation zum 50 Jahrestag der ost- und westpreussischen Volksabstimmung am 11. Juli 1920 (in German). p. 117.
  9. ^ a b c d e Justyna Liguz. "Rzeczypospolita Kwidzyńska - dzieje Polskiego Gimnazjum w Prusach Wschodnich". Interia Nowa Historia (in Polish). Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  10. ^ Maria Wardzyńska, Był rok 1939. Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion, IPN, Warszawa, 2009, p. 31 (in Polish)
  11. ^ Andreas Lawaty, Wiesław Mincer and Anna Domańska: Deutsch-polnische Beziehungen in Geschichte und Gegenwart – Bibliographie. Vol 2: Religion, Buch, Presse, Wissenschaft, Bildung, Philosophie, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, ISBN 3-447-04243-5, p. 879 (restricted preview)
  12. ^ a b Mirosław Cygański, Hitlerowskie prześladowania przywódców i aktywu Związków Polaków w Niemczech w latach 1939 - 1945, "Przegląd Zachodni", nr 4, 1984, p. 41 (in Polish)
  13. ^ Cygański, p. 43
  14. ^ Maria Wardzyńska, Był rok 1939. Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion, p. 54
  15. ^ Maria Wardzyńska, Wysiedlenia ludności polskiej z okupowanych ziem polskich włączonych do III Rzeszy w latach 1939-1945, IPN, Warszawa, 2017, p. 119, 129 (in Polish)
  16. ^ "Marienwerder" (in German). Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  17. ^ Michael Rademacher: Deutsche Verwaltungsgeschichte Provinz Westpreußen, Kreis Marienwerder (2006)
  18. ^ Der Große Brockhaus, 15th edition, Vol. 12, Leipzig 1932, p. 143.
  19. ^ Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, 6th edition, Vol. 13, Leipzig and Vienna 1908, p. 299.
  20. ^ Johann Friedrich Goldbeck: Vollständige Topographie des Königreichs Preußen. Teil II, Marienwerder 1789, pp. 3–6.
  21. ^ a b c Turystyka, historia, zabytki. Kwidzyn Moje miasto.
  22. ^ "Schmidt, Heinrich Julian" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 24 (11th ed.). 1911.
  23. ^ "Stadt Celle". Retrieved 2010-01-05.


External linksEdit