28 February 2019
Poland is one of the few European countries which has seen continuous economic growth over the past 26 years. After the fall of communism in 1989, the country quickly westernised and transformed its economy to capitalism. Present-day Poland still looks promising among emerging European markets, though it faces particular challenges that make it difficult for its ornamental horticulture industry to sustain economic growth. These challenges include rising energy costs, a recruitment shortage and waning interest in ornamentals among the younger generation (specifically cut flowers).
Poland has stood out due to its economic success with its marketplace seeing the strongest increase in the gross domestic product (GDP), beginning in 1992.
A survey of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Eurostat reveals that Polish GDP doubled between 1989 and 2002, outpacing its Central and Eastern European neighbours that also joined the European Union in 2004.
The most important reforms of Central Europe’s largest country took place between 2004 and 2008 with improvements in the field of infrastructure and agriculture.
Poland is Europe’s biggest net beneficiary of European funds with farmers and growers owning a minimum of 1 ha of land, clearly taking advantage of more disposable income and better market opportunities.
Throughout the global financial crisis from 2007 to 2011, a four-year period when the EU-27 economy decreased by 1.5%, Polish GDP increased by 12.4%. The post-financial crisis period was even more prosperous for Poland with rising demand for consumer goods (including ornamental plants) and a surge in trade that boosted the country’s growth.
In 2018, the GDP increased by 4.3% in comparison to the previous year. Recent forecasts reveal that the country’s economy is to grow by 3.6% in 2019.
But not all is rosy. Poland is dependent on coal for electric power as well as heating and energy bills are expected to rise systematically.
Moreover, recruitment shortage and the subsequent increasing costs of labour are the fundamental problem of the Polish economy. This applies particularly to industries such as agriculture and horticulture. Many Polish growers keep their business afloat thanks to seasonal workers from Ukraine (and Belarus).
The ornamental horticulture industry plays a minor role in Polish horticulture and is, of course, even less significant in the country‘s broader agricultural perspective.
In terms of Polish horticulture, Poland is well-known for its production of apples, sour cherries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.
As for protected cropping, fresh cut flowers and ornamental plants lag far behind vegetables (5650 ha in 2018), with tomatoes being the country’s number one crop (2160 ha in 2018).
In the first decade of the 21st century, greenhouse production area dedicated to ornamentals grew by an average of 4.2% per year and the production value by 9.8% (the fastest growth in the European Union), though it constituted only 0.7% of the EU’s total value.*
From 2013, the sector displayed a moderate and stable course of growth in terms of cropping areas in ornamentals.
Cut flowers versus potted plants
According to Dr. Adam Marosz of the Institute of Horticulture in Skierniewice (whose latest figures, based on his research and questionnaires, are published in AIPH’s International Statistics Flowers and Plants 2017), the area of protected floricultural production was 1615 ha in 2016. It comprised 828 ha of potted plant production including bedding plants (in terms of protected cropping). In potted plants, there is a clear trend towards developing economically-sound production. The area dedicated to field production of flowers and bulb farming was 3845 ha.
Poland’s ornamental industry stands out for its small-scale character. Apart from big, impressive, state-of-the-art developments – like JMP Flowers in Stężyca, which comprises over 18 ha of cut roses, Anthurium, as well as ultramodern potted Phalaenopsis production (with automatic WPS logistic system) – there are thousands of small-scale, traditional family businesses scattered across the country.
Roses are still the number one greenhouse crop among cut flowers (185 ha in 2016).Truth be told, there are only a few growers who continue the intensive, energy- consuming, year-round production, which requires assimilation lighting for at least six months. Nowadays, the majority of Polish growers harvest cut roses from mid-February or the beginning of March until late Autumn at which time plants are kept dormant to avoid huge energy bills. However, profitability of such seasonal rose production has become a real challenge due to the stable prices of cut roses.
A typical Polish rose grower will produce 20 to 30 varieties to meet varying demand from the domestic market.
Meanwhile, homegrown flowers need to live up to high-quality standards as the competition from cheap roses from Africa, imported year round through the Netherlands, is fierce.
Staying cost competitive is a constant fight with Polish horticulturists seeing their variable operating costs rise more quickly than those of African producers. What could already have been observed is that by 2010 the prices of imported roses (including shipping costs) were on average only 5% higher* than those provided by Polish growers, who struggle not only with high energy costs but with growing labour costs as well.
Agata and Klaudiusz Kordylasińscy are among the few growers who continue intensive, energy- consuming, year-round production of cut roses.
Tulips from Poland
Forced cut tulips occupy a special place in Polish ornamental horticulture as this is likely the only crop amongst cut flowers in which production has been systematically increasing. Flowers are mainly grown in a conventional way using peat substrates, the perfect soil for heavy, large blooms.
This makes them stand out from their Dutch counterparts which are mostly grown hydroponically, resulting in somewhat shorter stems and smaller blooms.
However, more recently, an increasing number of Polish growers are gradually switching to forcing tulips in water, which saves labour and time.
A traditional Polish cut tulip grower would plant lilies after tulips to fill in the gap that would otherwise exist in the year-round production scheme for protected growing of bulb plants (although there exist modern farms that force tulips only, but more intensively).
White Oriental lily hybrids, such as ‘Santander’, prevail in Polish nurseries. Generally speaking, lilies are perceived as church and cemetery flowers and require better promotion.
Several years ago, Anthurium was one of the top ornamental crops in Poland, which was the third (or even the second-largest) Anthurium producer in the European Union – after the Netherlands and Italy – in terms of production area. An estimated 40 million stems were grown annually in Poland 12-13 years ago and the Club of Anthurium Growers, who met regularly to enrich their knowledge and exchange ideas, largely contributed to the success of the Polish Anthurium industry. Currently, Anthurium, though still produced, does not play an important role in domestic ornamental horticulture and the Club has ceased to exist.
Other important cut flowers grown in Poland are Gerbera, carnation and Chrysanthemum but their production volumes have decreased significantly compared to the 1980s and 1990s. On the other hand, the production of Lisianthus has increased as the demand for domestically-grown cut Lisianthus, which differs from mass-produced imported Lisianthus, keeps growing. Bouquet fillers such as Asparagus and Gypsophila deserve mention as well. Generally speaking, the product offerings of Polish growers is pretty wide but many crops are only seasonal and available in limited quantity.
The production of Chrysanthemum cuttings is a vital part of the country’s flower industry. Pictured are Chrysanthemum growers and husband and wife team Adrianna and Jan Kłak.
Seasonal potted plant production
With regards to potted plant production, seasonal crops dominate. Such a cropping system enables using the production area most efficiently, to lower energy costs and match the peaks of unstable market demand.
The typical year-round cycle starts with pansies, planted in Autumn and overwintered (in greenhouses but also outside, protected by horticultural fleece in case of snowless weather with heavy frost) as well as pot Primula, which is usually sold from the third week of January. The next and most important are bedding and balcony plants, traded in April and May and often followed by perennials (the new generation cultivars that don’t need vernalization and bloom in the first year of production). Pot mums and heathers are next, followed by Poinsettias – the number one floricultural commodity at Christmas time.
Bedding and patio plants are booming
From 1989 on, bedding and patio plants have become the new hallmark of Poland’s flower industry, grown by a wide variety of businesses, from small-scale family holdings with obsolete infrastructure, equipment and technology, to the modern, mechanized operations that are able to offer bulk products and benefit from the advantages of the economy of scale.
The latter, who often cooperate with supermarkets on the basis of contract farming (with guaranteed prices, dates of sales and payment), have the potential to grow further and fill in gaps in the marketplace resulting from the predicted closure of smaller farms.
In general, an estimated 10% year-to-year growth has been reported in the sector, which has been constantly developing since the beginning of the 1990s. There have obviously been “better” and “worse” years as this branch of ornamental horticulture is particularly Spring weather dependent, when the huge quantity of perishable goods has to be sold in a comparatively short period.
Growers can look back with satisfaction at the Spring of 2018 which was undoubtedly one of the best in decades.
Most growers, regardless of the production scale, feature a rich assortment of species and varieties of bedding plants. Nevertheless, Pelargonium is the leader (60-70% of bedding and balcony plants), followed by vegetatively propagated Petunias (mainly Surfinia type) and Begonias. Each year, growers look for novelties, including fancy structural plants that are used in mixed arrangements, that are increasingly more popular with consumers. They also supplement the offer with perennials and grasses, which are fashionable – and not only in Poland. Among the early Spring perennials such as Saxifraga is the number one crop, while in Summer Lavandula remains a big hit. In Autumn, perennial grasses conquer the market along with heathers.
Potted chrysanthemums are amongst the cream of the crop in Poland’s ornamental horticulture. What is unique in comparison to other countries is that growers schedule 80-90% of their crops to be ready for retail for All Saints’ Day – November 1, when Poles flock to graveyards to pay their respects to those who have died.
The group of popular pot Chrysanthemums that is used solely to place on graves, comprises disbudded varieties with large flowers. The most important cultivars stem from French breeders – Bernard (Komodo series) and Sauvé-Guittet (Bilkis, Passionnément Jaune). However, the variety of cultivars used for such production varies widely and includes typical (pinched) pot chrysanthemums, too. In this case, consumers continue to ask for the conventional types; featuring double, especially white or yellow, decorative flowers. Cultivars such as ‘Mount Gerlach’, ‘Willowbrook’ and ‘Wilmington’ are at the top of the pot chrysanthemum list.
Multiflora, ball-shaped late Autumn varieties are also used for pot production and are dedicated to cemetery use as well. Chrysanthemum experts in Poland dub the Jasoda series of the Belgian breeder Gediflora ‘unbeatable’, but they appreciate novelties such as the Aduro series. There is a growing demand for colour mixes – tri-coloured Multifloras.
Calluna offers new possibilities
Heathers – modern bud bloomer types, like Gardengirls® or Beauty Ladies® – have in recent years been included into the assortment of many Polish nurseries which focus on seasonal pot plant production. For some growers, Calluna makes an interesting alternative to early mums because it is widely used as an inexpensive grave decoration before the first of November and for other occasions. Heathers are usually grown in container fields and sold from late Summer throughout Autumn.
Rooted cuttings of Calluna are provided by the Polish licensees of the breeders of the pot cultivars – both by nursery stock growers and new era producers, who operate on a larger scale and run highly mechanized young plant farms. The propagation facilities have been developed and modernized as a result of significant progress in the production of Calluna finished plants and the growing demand for pot bud bloomer heathers.
However, the domestic production has to compete with import plants grown in large numbers in Germany.
Young plants and rooting stations
In line with the Chrysanthemum’s stable ranking in Poland, the production of Chrysanthemum cuttings is a vital part of the country’s flower industry, with some of the companies dating back from the early 1980s. Today, the country hosts ten Chrysanthemum cutting farmers in six different regions. Working together with the leading breeders from the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, these companies produce (from the mother stock) and root cuttings in Venlo glasshouses or modern foil greenhouses – erected after 1990 (some of these facilities were built only recently to catch up with the growing demand for top quality starting material and to become more competitive in the domestic market).
However, the most significant progress has occurred in the bedding plant sector. After years of importing the vast majority of young plants from Dutch and German ‘rooted cutting factories’, Poland has established itself as one of the most important European producers of ornamental plug plants.
Major production can be seen in the propagation of Pelargoniums. At present, there are five high-tech nurseries that serve as ‘rooting stations’ and focus on rooting Pelargonium cuttings shipped from Africa.
These plug suppliers partner with breeders, global distributors or organizations such as Selecta one, Syngenta, Volmary, Dümmen Orange and Proven Winners to provide their customers with the deepest and largest assortment. The rooting period starts in the 50th week in Poland and the sales of ready rooted cuttings finishes by the end of April. The rest of the Pelargonium young plants – estimated at 30% – are delivered to Polish growers from Western Europe.
In terms of plug plant production, special mention needs to be made for Plantpol-Zaborze – a company situated in Oświęcim, a member of Proven Winners. This company introduced Surfinias in Poland in 1994 and continues to propagate these successful Petunias as well as other plants, especially PW’s assortment. In some cases, they cultivate the mother stock on the spot – species and varieties that grow well in the Polish climate and the ones with unrooted cuttings which are very susceptible to the distant transport conditions (when picked in the southern hemisphere and shipped like Pelargoniums).
Another Polish company which enjoys international recognition is Vitroflora, located at Trzęsacz near Bygdoszcz. The company specializes in young plant production and in this context is one of the leading European suppliers of perennials. A good deal of them are propagated in vitro – the tissue culture laboratory at Łochowo is a division of Vitroflora. The company, which sells perennials mainly abroad, has representatives in Western Europe and production facilities in Portugal.
There are a few other, smaller-scale producers of young plants who also offer starting materials, for example Begonia ×elatior.
As far as in vitro labs are concerned, the number of them has considerably decreased in comparison to the gerbera boom of the 1980s, when about 100 tissue culture laboratories were active in Poland. At present only a few have survived – those which cooperate with foreign partners and produce at least a part of the stock for them and which have updated their assortment (by adding perennials) to adjust to the changing market situation.
The Polskie Kwiaty nursery is run by Beata and Michał Orłowscy. Tulips are still mainly grown in a conventional way using peat substrates, the perfect soil for heavy, large blooms.
Głowacki’s nursery: from 1989 on, bedding and patio plants have become the new hallmark of Poland’s flower industry.
Poland’s ornamental horticulture industry tends to consolidate. A number of small nurseries have recently been closing down. The process is gradual and affects mainly companies with no successors. Such a problem arises in all parts of the country. Particularly affected are the obsolete greenhouses erected in the 1980s with aging owners and no children to take over.
On the other hand, there are a number of second-generation companies that continue to expand as well as small-scale nurseries which offer seasonal products, based on the owner’s labour that generate most of their income from retail sales on-site. This kind of operation can often be found on the outskirts of towns and lately, due to the Polish boom in the building industry and accelerated urbanization, they are now often an integral part of cities.
In some cases labour shortages and rising labour costs, which are not compensated by the relatively stable prices of finished plants or cut flowers, prohibits growers from expanding their business.
Floral sales at the supermarket level
Supermarket sales of plants (bedding and patio plants, potted Primula as well as Chrysanthemums for 1 November and Poinsettia) and flowers have largely contributed to the growth of the industry.
Growers appreciate their relationship with discount stores given their reliability and efficient way of working. Featuring a relatively long shelf life, tulips, for example, are in demand by these retail outlets.
At the same time, consumers are also likely to purchase their relatively low-priced tulips in department stores which drives impulse sales. Most frequently seen on retail shelves (and not only in supermarkets) is Tulipa ‘Strong Gold’, a particularly resilient and versatile variety with sturdy stems and boldly coloured yellow petals for the ultimate Spring feeling.
The import of flowers and plants has been on the rise since 1990. There are three reasons for this tendency: the opening of the market after the fall of communism and Poland entering the EU, the growth potential of the Polish market and decreasing domestic production of cut flowers. Most flowers and plants are sourced from the Netherlands (though not all of them are grown there).
In general, Dutch exports of flowers, potted and garden plants to Poland have skyrocketed since Poland entered the EU in 2004 with exports increasing by 25% between 2010 and 2015 Tables 1-3 provide an update of 2018 Dutch exports of ornamentals to Germany, the UK, France and Poland (Floridata).
In the last couple of years Poland has become one of the most important European destinations for flowers and plants exported from the Netherlands.
Table 4 komt nog
The 2017 figures of Statista show that in terms of export value Poland became the 6th country among the top 10 countries which import these goods from the Netherlands (table 5).
The latest figures provided by Wageningen Economic Research (WUR and the Statistical Office in the Netherlands (CBS) prove that currently Poland is the 5th export destination for Dutch cut flowers (Table 6).
Imported roses are mainly sourced from Africa and a lot of them are sold in department stores or supermarket chains. On the contrary, cut roses produced in Poland are not sold in department stores as contract, year-round fixed prices don’t provide domestic growers a profit.
Second on the list of imported flowers is Chrysanthemum. Unlike roses, cut Chrysanthemums come from Dutch glasshouses. The third are carnations – often sourced from Colombia. Altogether, the assortment of imported flowers and foliage is pretty rich as it comprises products that are popular with contemporary florists.
Apart from the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Belgium are suppliers of a variety of pot plants imported by Poles, including half-finished products, like German Hydrangeas or Belgian Azaleas ordered by some Polish growers.
When Poland was entering the European Union, domestic growers were aware that import tariffs imposed on flowers (and plants) shipped into the country from the EU would be discontinued. However, they did not expect another obstacle which came as a surprise to most of them, namely zero tariffs on flowers imported from the African countries too (the duty free access for those products to the EU market was in fact the result of the agreements between the then European Economic Community and the developing ACP countries).
Lavandula cropping at “Ogrodnictwo Zugaj” run by husband and wife team Katarzyna and MirosławŁubińscy.
Due to a comparatively small scale of production in Poland, only a few cut flower growers export their products on a regular basis. Among the well-known exporters is JMP Flowers – the largest Polish floriculture nursery, run by the Ptaszeks family, who offer roughly 70 varieties of roses, 70 varieties of Anthurium, as well as 200 cultivars of potted orchids. Another example is Bogdan Królik, the biggest Polish producer of flower bulbs (25 ha of field production, with 11 ha of tulips), which also produces and sells cut flowers, including forced tulips (6500 m2 of greenhouses with plans to expand). Tulips as well as gladioli harvested from the Królik’s fields at Chrzypsko Wielkie are sold in Poland and exported to Eastern countries (like Belarus) as well as to the Czech Republic and Germany.
Traders from Belarus, Russia and the Baltic States are regular customers of Polish wholesale markets in early Spring, especially before Women’s Day, when Polish cut tulips are their main target.
“Cross-border” year-round trade of flowers and plants characterizes the sales of these goods to the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Buyers from these neighboring countries usually source ornamental products from the wholesale markets located in the South of Poland.
Neighbouring Germany is also among the leading importers of Polish floricultural goods.
Poland is the 6th most important country of origin for cut flowers imported to Germany, after the Netherlands, Kenya, Italy, Ecuador, Zambia as well as for nursery stock products where it follows the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Spain and Belgium (table 7).
Poland has become an important partner for Denmark, who opened the Polish division of their distribution organisation GASA Group, and sells both young and finished plants.
Due to extremely high labour costs in Denmark, some Danish growers outsource (to Poland) their labour intensive work, such as making or even only grading cuttings to be planted automatically in Denmark. They also buy half-products for pot production, grown in Poland on a contract basis.
There are about ten wholesale markets which deal with flowers and plants in Poland – mainly in larger towns such as Warsaw, Poznań and Wrocław, but their role in the country’s trade of ornamental products has been decreasing. By contrast, supermarkets, discount and DIY stores are growing in importance for the industry.
Online transactions, web shops are also becoming increasingly popular with flower shop owners, allowing them not only to purchase flowers without visiting wholesale markets but also to sell their arrangements online. At the same time, wholesale markets have an abundance of accessories (including artificial flowers), which during some periods of the year outsell living products.
These trade hubs attract mainly medium-or small-scale wholesalers. The majority of them offer imported products, mainly cut flowers. As for growers, who usually diversify the distribution channels but sometimes depend on wholesale markets only, it is still quite popular that they (or their family members or employees) sell their products themselves.
The owners of flower shops or flower stalls are the main buyers of products passed through Polish wholesale markets.
Florists would also buy from individual wholesalers who operate on the Polish market but are not numerous. They offer mainly cut flowers and accessories.
Vitroflora in Trzęsacz near Bygdoszcz specialises in young plant production and is one of the leading European suppliers of perennials.
Poland grows sizeable numbers of conifers.
Flower shops still prevail as far as the retail sale of flowers is concerned. The average level of flower shop services has risen considerably in recent years, thanks to the intensive and variable floristry education available in Poland. Floristry shows and competitions, organized on many occasions, like horticultural trade shows, popularize lesser known flowers or floral trends.
Flower shops – though still important – are not as dominant as the points of purchase for retail pot plants. Simultaneously, the role of supermarkets and discount stores in the distribution of these products has been growing along with the considerable rise in popularity of these outlets in Poland. Garden centres followed by DIY stores (“home & garden” markets), both also important for the sales of pot and seasonal plants, hold their position reached in the 1990s and the 2000s.
According to estimates, there are more than 2,000 garden centres but only 10% of them are big enough to meet international standards.
Apart from the fast development of supermarkets, DIY stores are also growing. Among the global chains, recognisable in the international market, Castorama is number one in Poland, with more than 70 locations, all in bigger cities.
Regardless of the distribution channel, flowering potted plants are bought most often, with potted orchids (Phalaenopsis) being a favourite among Polish consumers. However, recent sales figures confirm that the global trend of tropical foliage plants has gained ground in Poland, too.
Another feature of Polish floriculture is the significant fluctuation of the demand throughout the year since flowers and plants (to a lesser extent) are mainly treated as gift items in Poland. Name days are celebrated in Poland rather than birthdays, creating this uneven demand. For example, there are many popular name days in March, which – along with Women’s Day celebrated on March 8 and being the best floral holiday of the year – makes this month outstanding. Other important “gift days” are: Grandmother’s Day (January 21), Grandfather’s Day (January 22) Valentine’s Day (February 14), Mother’s Day (May 26), the end of school year (around June 20) and Teacher’s Day (October 14.).
As a consequence of such fluctuation, there are stagnant trade periods, like the first half of January and most of the summertime.
Church celebrations contribute another reason for flower consumption and add to peaks in sales. For example, First Communion is celebrated in May, when white flowers sell well. In other periods of the year red is preferred but its popularity in the flower assortment market has been systematically decreasing in relation to the development of the Polish market and the creation of global lifestyle trends.
There are, however, certain colours that have their seasonal peaks apart from ‘White May’, ‘Yellow Easter’ is very important, while tulip ‘Strong Gold’ and narcissi are in a class of their own.
Threats and opportunities
In a market with an abundance of goods and with the more and more practical attitudes to gift purchases, the present situation is challenging to all representatives of the floriculture industry.
In the last couple of years, a negative practice named “Instead-of-Flowers” has become particularly popular in Poland. It refers mainly to young couples who on the occasion of weddings suggest their guests not bring flowers but… wine (for example). Some other “Instead-of-flower” campaigns are even more effective as the participants of a certain celebration (e.g. funeral) are asked to donate money to a charity.
Another worrying trend concerns cemeteries, where graves have been decorated already for many years with artificial cheap flowers ‘Made in China’. Such negative tendencies can only be overcome by ‘positive promotion’ otherwise Generation Y (Millennials), which is becoming the most important consumer group on the market, will soon be lost as potential buyers of flowers and plants. This trend could then continue with Generation Z.
* Source: Warsaw’s University of Life Science (SGGW) Professor Lilianna Jabłońska.
** Source: AIPH’s International Statistics Flowers and Plants 2017/Dr. Adam Marosz of the Institute of Horticulture in Skierniewice, 2016
Polish grown nursery stock: the sector’s flagship product
In the international trade, Polish grown hardy nursery stock plays an important role. Shrubs, trees, perennials, climbers and other plants are exported to about 40 countries. Poland is also a considerable importer of the nursery stock from other countries such as for example the Netherlands, German
y, Belgium and Italy.
Following the introduction of the market economy in Poland in 1999 nursery stock production has been one of the fastest growing sectors of the country’s agriculture. Poland’s accession to the European Union in 2004 fueled further growth of the industry thanks to EU funding and the easier cross border trade within the Community.
The total area of the ornamental nursery stock production in the country is about 7000 ha. In terms of nursery stock production areas Poland ranks 6th in Europe after Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and France. Family-owned, often second-generation plant nurseries prevail.
The majority of the country lies in climatic zone 6 (some parts – even in more severe zone 5b), therefore, Polish nursery stock is frost resistant enough for Eastern and Northern Europe and thus appreciated by buyers from these regions.
Poland still grows sizeable numbers of conifers to cater for the demand and preferences of customers from (East European and Scandinavian) areas experiencing long winters (dormancy period).
However, the assortment of Polish nursery stock products is rich and variable, including mature shrubs, trees, climbers and perennials as well as young plants, grafts and liners.
One of the driving forces behind industry growth is the Polish Nurserymen Association (Związek Szkółkarzy Polskich – ZSzP). Founded in 1991, the organization is a member of the European Nursery Stock Association (ENA) and represents Poland in the AIPH. ZSzP is the owner and organiser of the international B2B exhibition Green is Life, held in Warsaw for 25 years. Since 2016 this trade exhibition includes a flower trade show, Flower Expo Poland.
One of the driving forces behind industry growth is the Polish Nurserymen Association (Związek Szkółkarzy Polskich – ZSzP, which organizes the annual Green if Life trade show in Warsaw.
Poland quick facts
Population: 38.3 million
Area: 312,685 km2
Capital city: Warsaw (Warszawa) – 1,8 million inhabitants
Other important cities: Łódź (776000), Kraków (758000), Wrocław (637000), Poznań (573000) and Gdańsk (460000)
Name Day: in addition to birthdays, Poles celebrate their name day or
imieniny, which is the day commemorating the Saint they are named after.
Major religion: Christianity