Bulletin No. 80 Winter 2022 • TLP: The road transport market in Poland • Colourama: Łódź: We never run out of textiles The NPCC – MHC Mobility Orange Ball: looking back at an exciting event
We wish all the members and friends of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2023 on behalf of:
Dorota Rosiak – SPÓŁKA ZOO: What is this limited liability all about – does it also apply to members of the management board? Dura lex sed lex
Sylwia Ziemacka, Managing Director at Poland Weekly, “A focus on what brings us together”
3 4 NPCC Director’s note 5 Chamber's Agenda 6 Article
10 Platinum sponsor article
News and Events 14 Platinum sponsor article
30 Column Huub
32 Messages from the
34 Column Remco van der
OFFICIO Bulletin Winter 2022 28 Why Colourama chose to settle in Łódź 24
The NPCC – MHC Mobility Orange Ball:
Exact Software Poland – What is HRM software and how can it change your workplace?
Mateusz Żydek, expert from Randstad Research Institute, on the macroeconomic situation and the Polish labour market
News from NLinBusiness
sponsor article MHC Mobility – Long-term rental of delivery vehicles and trucks – the best solution for businesses
sponsor article Ewa Brydniak, Marketing Manager at Billtrust, on KSeF and international entities
Maciej Wroński, President Transport and Logistics Poland, “The road transport market in Poland”
NPCC Test Drive Jaguar I-Pace: A rapid, desirable, good-looking car that just happens to be powered by electricity
with regional member Robert Steijn, Managing Director, Colourama Sp. z o.o., “Łódź: „We never run out of textiles”
from our members
Droogh – Youth…
Maciej Wroński Report "Road Transport in Poland 2021+"
Looking back at the NPCC – MHC Mobility Orange Ball
What will this winter bring us?
Dear Members and Friends of the Chamber,
It is a great pleasure and honour for me to write to you for the first time in my new role. First of all, I would like to thank our departing managing director Elro van den Burg, who, after building solid foundations for our organisation and creating one of the most active and involved bilateral chambers in Poland, has taken on a new professional challenge. On behalf of all our members and board members, I wish him all the very best. Meeting people these days is a unique value, and that's how I started my first months of work at the NPCC. Over the past three months, I have been meeting various members both in Warsaw and around the country – in Łódź, Poznań, Wrocław and Kraków. We spoke with one voice at these meetings about the challenges we face in these fast-changing times, which can represent both an opportunity and a threat for our businesses. We all agreed on one thing – the fact that, especially now, the effective exchange of experiences and knowledge between our members, and non-members, is of the utmost importance if we want to retain our leadership position.
We intend to continue with our knowledge circles, though in a slightly different format. Furthermore, we have just started a new knowledge circle on Transport & Logistics and will soon begin one around the topic of Sustainability and the Circular Economy. The NPCC will provide you with a wide range of valuable events during 2023, with a focus on creating an active business network, where we can all reach out and get to know each other, and also support one another in our various fields of business. These events will be held both online and offline, and not only in Warsaw but also in various regions around the country. You can find an overview of our events calendar planned so far on page 5 of this Bulletin.
Our close relationship with both the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and various Dutch trade institutions will be intensively maintained. This is an important role in terms of building bridges between Polish and Dutch companies and
Bulletin is the triannual magazine of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce. It gives a voice to our members and informs about the activities the Chamber undertakes.
views expressed in the columns are theirs alone. The Editor-in-Chief is not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made by the columnists.
increasing business opportunities in the two countries. In this Bulletin, you can find details about the cooperation that we recently established with the University of Wrocław, and soon we will also extend our collaboration with universities in other cities, such as Poznań and Warsaw. Additionally, we remain in close contact with branch organisations like Transport i Logistyka Polska and have begun cooperation with Poland Weekly.
Unfortunately, we say goodbye to Staf Beems as the author of a much-appreciated column in our Bulletin. His contributions were always straight from the heart, with a refreshingly critical note. Thank you, Staf, for guiding us through the affairs of the day over these past few years. At the same time, I would like to warmly welcome Dorota Rosiak, who will succeed Staf in writing a quarterly column. Dorota is honorary consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Gdańsk and works at DMR Law Office. We wish her lots of inspiration for her column.
Winter is just around the corner and it’s by no means certain what the future will bring. December is usually a festive time of joy and reflection – the Feast of Saint Nicholas (or Sinterklaas as we call him in the Netherlands) is now behind us and Christmas is still to come. And yet it is these traditions like Saint Nicholas’ Day, and above all Christmas, which reinforce important values such as freedom, faith, personal responsibility and selflessness. For these traditions to bring people closer together, and connect us not only with friends but also other people, is something we need now more than ever. I hope you and your family can draw energy and keep faith out of this holiday period that is full of tradition.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Looking forward to meeting you again in 2023. Wouter Barmentloo
NPCC Director’s note Wouter Barmentloo Managing Director of the
of Commerce Publisher: NPCC Managing Editor: Julia Necińska Columnists: Huub Droogh Dorota Rosiak Remco van der Kroft
Director Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce
Knowledge Partners: Photos: Julia Necińska Katarzyna Cegłowska Netherlands Embassy in Poland Milena Zychowicz Advertisement management: NPCC Contact: www.npcc.pl firstname.lastname@example.org +48 22 419 54 44 Platinum Sponsors:
New Year’s Reception in Poznań
Offline meeting for our members, with the possibility of networking
New Year’s Reception in Wrocław sponsored by Thaumatec
Offline meeting for our members in Wrocław, with the possibility of networking
Regional Business Lunch in Poznań
Informal lunch for NPCC members in the Poznań region, where members can present a business case and hear about what is going on in the region
Chamber’s Agenda 14
Transport and Logistics Knowledge Circle with Santander This Knowledge Group is open for all members
Business Drink in Warsaw
Offline meeting for our members in Poznań, with the possibility of networking
Business Drink in Warsaw
Offline meeting for our members, with the possibility of networking
New Year’s Reception in Gdańsk
Offline meeting for our members in Gdańsk, with the possibility of networking
New Year’s Reception in Kraków
Save the date! 30 September 2023 January/February 2023
Offline meeting for our members in Kraków, with the possibility of networking
many more events.
Regional Business Lunch in Poznań
We are working on these and
Keep up-to-date with us by checking our newsletters and website:
Activities of the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce 2023 31 March 2023
27 January 2023 January/February 2023
New Members Consult An online event dedicated to new members of the Chamber March 2023
Business Drink in Poznań
26 January 2023 Orange Ball 2023 Annual charity gala for members of the Dutch business community in Poland 19 January 2023
Offline meeting for our members, with the possibility of networking
New Year’s Reception in Łódź Offline meeting for our members in Łódź, with the possibility of networking
The NPCC – MHC Mobility Orange Ball: looking back at an exciting event
On Saturday 10 September, the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce once again organised its annual charity Orange Ball. This year, our flagship event was raising money for Przylądek, an elementary school for children with autism spectrum disorders, and it featured musical performances from Johnny Rosenberg, Electric Girls and Wonder Years, as well as an aerial skills performance by Anna Węklar. The evening was hosted by Tomasz Kammel, the well-known TV presenter.
At the entrance, every guest was decorated with an orange heart made from clay that had been prepared by the children from the Przylądek elementary school. This was a warm and creative welcome for the 340 guests and their partners, all of whom were either part of the NPCC’s network or invited guests of the Orange Ball sponsors. Attendees came from all over Poland and also from places a little further afield, including the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Czechia and Japan.
There was no shortage of attractions at the ball, with the reception area featuring mime artists, painted waitresses and a balloon background for the traditional photographs. Main sponsors MHC Mobility had placed a huge truck outside the Hilton Hotel to draw attention to the event and they also exhibited a Jaguar I-Pace. MB Motors/Bawaria Motors displayed a BMW 4 Gran Coupé and a Mercedes EQE, while sponsor Storage Partners presented a mobile solar power solution – all to emphasise the switch that mobility is making towards sustainability.
With the songs of Johnny Rosenberg playing in the background, the ballroom gradually filled up with guests, and then it was time for Adrian Heymans, board member of the NPCC, to officially open the Orange Ball 2022.
The Orange Ball is a charity event, and this year we were raising money for the Prylądek school for children with autism spectrum disorders. Przylądek offers everything required for the development of children with autism all in one location: experienced and skilled specialists, individual care with therapeutic support, and educational programmes that take into account the individual needs and abilities of the children.
Money was raised for the charity through a raffle and also an auction featuring very rare and priceless pieces. We had a garden sculpture made by Adam Fedorowicz, creator of the Eagle for the Polish Film Awards, a magnum of red wine signed by actor Janusz Gajos, and a Telekamera Award from Agnieszka Chylińska, as well as a bottle of vodka that has been up in space!
The prizes that could be won in the raffle included two KLM tickets to a faraway destination, a weekend with a premium brand car and an overnight stay in the Sheraton, a weekend with a BMW, and many more besides.
The proceeds from the raffle ticket sales and the auction bids resulted in the huge total of over PLN 67,000 being raised at the Orange Ball 2022 for the Lepszy Start Foundation, which supports
the Przyłądek school. The entertainment for the evening was kicked off by Johnny Rosenberg, a familiar face from the first series of The Voice of Holland, whose sparkling, swinging jazz and feel-good pop songs brought the times of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett back to life.
Another amazing act were the Electric Girls, who put on a stunning show with their characteristic look, great connection with the audience, virtuoso instrument-playing and vocals, and engaging personalities. Their set of upbeat club music and pop songs couldn’t
fail to get people up onto the dance floor. And last but certainly not least, the energetic band Wonder Years performed a set of cover versions of some pop, rock and disco classics that kept energy levels high and really got the crowd going.
We would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to the sponsors and partners of the event. Such a fantastic evening would not have been possible without the help of our diamond sponsor MHC Mobilty, as well as platinum sponsors Raben Group, Emil Frey Group (MB Motors and Bawaria Motors) and Billtrust.
A word of thanks also goes to our gold sponsors KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Sancus Crowdfunding, Euroser Dairy Group, Storage Partners, BSWW legal and tax, Grupa Żywiec, MPWiW – Manufaktura Piwa, Wódki i Wina, Gosselin Mobility and Aram.
Furthermore, we’d like to thank our silver sponsors BNP Paribas Real Estate, BNP Paribas, Santander Bank and Zeelandia, and our partners Perfect Moment, Secret Garden, Balonowa Bajka and Hilton.
Finally, a huge thank you to all the volunteers for their help in making this event such a successful evening.
Platinum Sponsors: Diamond Sponsor: Gold Sponsors: Silver Sponsors: Partners: Diamond Sponsor:
Platinum Sponsor Article
Exact Software Poland
What is HRM software and how can it change your workplace?
Over the years, the HR department has evolved tremendously. Years ago, the human resources department – often referred to simply as “personnel” – dealt with administrative services for employees, and HR staff were primarily charged with keeping records, ensuring companies followed the regulations, and determining wages and other benefits.
Nowadays, it is a department that supports the company in achieving its goals and helps to build its organisational culture. What does this mean in practice?
Currently, HRM (Human Resource Management) is responsible for both administrative tasks and also soft HRM, such as supporting and motivating employees, and helping them chart their career paths – through training, internal communication within the company and regular evaluation of their work. The expansion of the role of HR in companies has resulted in HR professionals taking on more tasks. Fortunately, artificial intelligence and modern IT systems can effectively and permanently change the way that HR departments operate, with many tools available that automate the daily work of HR employees.
What is HRM?
Human Resource Management (HRM) is the process of managing people in organisations in a structured and comprehensive manner. There are certain methods and tools used for this, which usually include an HRMS (Human Resources Management System) designed to support the work of the HR team and facilitate good management decisions. Professional HRM software is based on one central database, which guarantees the company has a complete overview of the HR situation.
What should HRM software include?
There is a wide variety of HRM solutions available on the software market. A professional HRM system should include the following basic functionalities:
• Employee Self-Service Portal, allowing self-management of HR matters. This functionality organises the flow of information between the HR department and the team. Using this kind of automated portal enables employees to send annual leave requests and check available training courses or work schedules.
• Place for internal company communication – this can be a kind of timeline that employees are able to access. This functionality
provides businesses with opportunities to share the latest news, employer branding activities, surveys, successes or initiatives with the entire team.
• Database – consisting of employee files and digital records.
• Dashboard – presenting a holistic view of the company, including HR information.
Exact HRM software – support for your HR department
HRM systems help to optimise a company's daily work by partially automating it and creating databases that concentrate all the necessary information in one place.
Exact offers you a system to support your HR department.
It is a professional tool that supports mainly soft HRM by:
• giving full insight into employee data, which makes it easier to see their potential and helps make important decisions about their development;
• automatically monitoring training and training demand;
• helping to maintain organised, transparent and clear internal communication within the organisation;
• allowing employees to take care of HR matters themselves.
This will give the HR department more time for other tasks (including soft HRM).
HRM software helps to increase the efficiency of the HR department and supports the implementation of activities that have a real impact on the company's organisational culture and productivity.
Exact, knowing our business profile, proactively advises us on any improvements, but also actively participates in conversations about our needs, considering how it can support us in achieving our goals.”
Szymczak, Mazars Poland
your Numbers, Master your Business Why should you choose software from Exact? + See in real time how your business is evolving: access to the company’s most important data anywhere, anytime + It’s a solution designed for you + It’s a solution that grows with you + It’s international business software with language and legislation for more than 40 countries 550,000 customers worldwide rely on Exact business software. Discover which package suits you best at exact.com/pl
Chamber News and Events
Farewell Elro van den Burg
On Wednesday 31 August, we had a bittersweet networking meeting when Elro van den Burg, our managing director, left the Chamber after 11 years. We enjoyed hearing lots of wonderful stories from his colleagues, which gave us plenty of laughs and brought back some happy memories. We want to thank Elro one more time for his engagement and commitment, and we wish him all the very best on his new adventure! One of the other important points during the evening
was the celebration of the 35th anniversary of our member company – Déhora Consultancy Group. Happy anniversary and all the best for the next 35 years!
Regional Business Lunch in Poznań
The NPCC members in the Poznań region had the chance to participate in a Regional Business Lunch on 30 September. This was one of six lunch meetings in the Poznań region that gave one participant each time the opportunity to present a business case from their own Regional Business Lunch experience. During the meeting, Kees Van Rijn (from Bart Kwiaty) shared his business case, which was: How to handle business decision-making when facing very unpredictable energy costs? Wouter Barmentloo also joined the meeting to introduce himself and hear more about what regional members expect from the Chamber.
Business Drink sponsored by Scotwork Polska
On the second Tuesday of October, over 30 guests attended our Business Drink, which was co-organised with the PolishCanadian Chamber of Commerce at the premises of Wardyński & Partners. These types of events allow all guests present to enlarge their
business network with new international contacts. We would like to thank Scotwork Polska for sponsoring the event and for their interesting presentation. Also a big thank you to dobrewina.pl and Winnice Słowackie for the delicious wine they provided.
International Speed Business Mixer
On 7 November, the NPCC, in collaboration with 12 other bilateral chambers of commerce, held its well-known International Speed Business Mixer. The event was organised in the InterContinental Hotel in the heart of Warsaw and attracted more than 200 businesspeople representing different nationalities and business sectors.
The participants took their seats around tables of ten, where they had opportunity to introduce themselves and share business cards in three separate rounds.
After the formal part of the evening, all the guests could then join the Networking Business Drink and enjoy some delicious food and wine.
Dutch Job Mixer in Wrocław
Radosław Potocki-Waksmund from PL Point Consulting, Łukasz Chodkowski and Paweł Mlicki from Déhora Polska, and Wouter Barmentloo from the NPCC were all present at Wrocław University to attend the first edition of the Dutch Job Mixer on November 9.
Aimed at connecting Dutch philology students with companies looking for Dutch speakers, the event enabled over 40 students to meet representatives from companies such as Philips, Otto Workforce and AXA XL to find out more about specific job and internship offers in both Poland and the Netherlands. We plan to organise a second edition of the event next spring – stay tuned!
Business Networking Meeting in Kraków sponsored by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
On Thursday 17 November, NPCC, together with the American Chamber of Commerce and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, organised a Business Networking Meeting in the luxurious Hotel Saski Kraków- Curio Collection by Hilton.
It was a great chance to mix and mingle with international guests, while Frantisek Siling also gave a presentation on the important topic of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the aviation industry. A big thank you to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for sponsoring this event.
Colourama experience tour on Wednesday, 23 November
Colourama is the largest sublimation printer in Eastern Europe and has over 30 years of experience in the industry, supplying customers globally in the fields of contract and hospitality, home furnishing and retail manufacturing, as well as fast fashion.
Guests of the tour had the opportunity to see the factory and also enjoy an informal drink.
Check out our interview with Robert Steijn, Managing Director of Colourama, on page 28.
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expert from Randstad Research Institute
The macroeconomic situation and the Polish labour market
The macroeconomic situation is having an impact on the Polish labour market.
over the next year. One of the main drivers of inflation is rising energy costs, which affect operational costs and compound already existing challenges like the availability of components, access to and prices of raw materials, and fluctuating demand.
Employers are adjusting their hiring plans accordingly. The share of companies intending to hire new workers fell to 25% in the summer of 2022, down from 29% the year before (the second year of the pandemic). At the same time, however, we can observe a clear increase in demand for temporary workers.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine interrupted global supply chains, affecting many industries. The effects of these developments were aggravated in Poland by inflation as high as 17.2% in September. The rising operational costs and market instability have translated into an increasingly pessimistic outlook, with a growing number of employers predicting an economic downturn in the near future. These macroeconomic developments are impacting the Polish labour market, specifically the wage pressure and wage policies, recruitment plans and the perception of unemployment risk, turnover and job security.
The current macroeconomic situation will likely contribute to a noticeable reduction in wage pressure. More than 50% of employees are concerned that the current macroeconomic situation will negatively impact their chances of receiving a pay rise. At the same time, only 10% decided to ask for a rise to offset inflation (almost one-third of them did not receive it), and about the same percentage again are still planning to do so.
While the available data demonstrates that Polish employers do plan to increase wages, in most cases these rises will not compensate for the rising prices and cost of living. However, the wage pressure will not disappear altogether as the government plans to increase the minimum wage by 20%
In spite of these developments, the situation on the labour market is still good: the unemployment rate in September was 4.8%, the lowest result in more than three decades. At the same time, however, we can see growing anxiety among workers.
The share of those afraid of losing their job is growing, while at the same time workplace turnover is slowly decreasing. In response to the rising cost of living, rather than searching for better-paid jobs (4%), employees are deciding to take on side gigs (one in five), work overtime (13%), or improve their qualifications and skills (8%).
In such circumstances, some employers are considering turning to flexibility: relying on temporary workers and reducing permanent employment. While this solution may be necessary in the short term, it is important to bear in mind that it can also come with costs for the brand of the employer in the long run. However, it is visible that the form of employment is losing its importance as a factor leading to people looking for a new job.
Professional development and the need for a higher salary clearly dominate as the main reasons, but employees are finding fewer prospects of employment that will be better than their current one in financial terms, with the simultaneous high level of availability of job offers on the market.
Attorney-at-law admitted to the Supreme Court
Owner at DMR Law Office
At the beginning of my first column, I would like to introduce myself and express my pleasure at being invited to co-edit the NPCC Bulletin. My name is Dorota Rosiak, and I am an attorney-at-law with over 25 years of experience, and also the honorary consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Gdańsk. Hopefully, my time working and living both in Poland and the BeNeLux countries will allow me to present some interesting and practical topics.
In today's uncertain times, when we may have to deal with a sudden and dramatic turn of events, including unpredictable disruptions to running a business, it is worth taking a look at the rules of liability relating to what is probably the most popular form of capital company in Poland, commonly known as the ZOO.
Foreign entrepreneurs especially, particularly when starting their business in Poland, usually decide on this form of company with a name that, at first glance, seems to give a sense of security – a limited liability company. It is a legal entity separate from its founder/founders, who become its shareholders and are often also entered in the National Court Register (KRS) as members of its body – the Management Board.
It is important to emphasise the fact that according to Polish law – unlike in the Netherlands, for example – only a natural person can, as a rule, be a member of the management board of a capital company, and another company cannot.
Despite the somewhat deceptive name, it turns out that, under the applicable Polish law, neither the limited liability company nor its management board bear limited liability, but are actually fully liable for the debts of the ZOO that cannot be satisfied through bailiff enforcement. This applies to both public law obligations (including tax obligations) and also civil law obligations.
In reality, the privilege of limited liability applies exclusively to shareholders who are not also members of the management board and consists in the fact that they are liable for the debts of the company in principle (i.e. with certain exceptions provided for by law) only up to the amount of their contribution to the share capital.
The situation is completely different, and more dangerous, when the roles of shareholder and member of the management board are combined.
While the liability of the company itself for its private and public law obligations would seem to be obvious to everyone, it may be a surprise for some to learn
What is this limited liability all about – does it also apply to members of the management board? Dura lex sed lex
that current and former management board members are also personally, as well as jointly and severally, liable for the debts of the entity.
This is a kind of very painful sanction for improperly conducting the company's affairs, so the legislator has provided for certain specific circumstances in which a management board member may be freed from having to repay – as a matter of fact someone else's – debts. These circumstances are called exonerative prerequisites, and the burden of proving them in the course of a possible court trial rests on the defendant, i.e. on the member of the management board being sued by the creditor.
And so, in principle, a current or former member of the management board wishing to obtain a judgment dismissing an action brought against them must prove that:
● a bankruptcy petition was filed in due time, or that at that time a ruling on the opening of restructuring proceedings or on the approval of an arrangement with the creditors was issued;
● the failure to file a bankruptcy petition was not through any fault of their own; however, it should be noted that it is very difficult to prove this lack of guilt in court;
In the context of the due time to file a petition for bankruptcy, according to bankruptcy law:
- the debtor is obliged to file a bankruptcy petition with the court no later than within 30 days from the date of becoming insolvent, - a debtor shall be considered insolvent if they are no longer able to pay their liabilities as they fall due, - a debtor shall be presumed to be no longer able to pay their liabilities as they fall due if the delay in the payment of liabilities exceeds three months, - a debtor who is a legal entity shall also be considered insolvent if their liabilities exceed the value of their assets, and this situation continues for more than 24 months.
form of company – a limited liability company.”
● the creditor suffered no damage even though no bankruptcy petition was filed, and no ruling on the opening of restructuring proceedings was issued, or arrangement with the creditors approved; however, the law does provide for the presumption that in the event of a claim for damages by a creditor of an insolvent debtor, the damage is equal to the amount of the unpaid claim of that creditor;
● during their term of office, there were no grounds to file for bankruptcy or open restructuring or composition proceedings.
In light of the above, when answering the question posed in the title of this article, it must be clearly stated that the liability of a member of the management board of a ZOO company, including a member of the management board who is also a shareholder, is by no means limited.
However, this liability is of a subsidiary nature and launches only when enforcement against the company turns out to be ineffective.
The conclusions are that it is definitely worth keeping your finger on the pulse and monitoring the financial condition of the entity you manage on an ongoing basis, and also, when running even a small company, consider liability insurance, such as the obligatory cover taken out by representatives of certain professions (e.g. doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects), as well as professional managers of capital companies.
On the other hand, looking at the issue from the perspective of the creditor of an insolvent company, the fact that – under certain conditions – they are entitled to bring claims against current and former board members is very positive as it may allow for the satisfaction of seemingly irrecoverable debts.
This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members.
Managing Director at Poland Weekly
A focus on what brings us together
How do you see Poland Weekly’s role in shaping this dialogue?
Poland Weekly deals with topics that are important to businesspeople operating in the international arena who are interested in cross-border projects and sharing knowledge and experience. It allows Polish business representatives, local governments and experts to reach an international audience in English. It also allows foreign decision-makers to understand the opportunities offered by the Polish market and define areas for cooperation.
We focus on print, video and online content and its proper distribution. My observation is that people, in general, pay too much attention to content creation and not enough to its distribution. For example, I see many fantastic reports that never reach audiences that might have been interested in them. That also applies to many valuable business reports which are published only in Polish. We try to stay up-to-date with all that’s important and provide our readers with reliable and useful information.
What are the key topics that you cover?
What is Poland Weekly?
Poland Weekly is an independent English-language print newspaper and portal aimed at bringing Poles and foreigners together.
I believe that active international dialogue has never been as important as it is today. Covid-19 has proved how much we can achieve by cooperating, while the war in Ukraine has shown that listening to each other and bringing different perspectives to the table can bring better, future-proofed solutions.
Of course, there will always be many areas where we have different views but looking for the solutions together, despite our differences, is very important. And that is something that Poles can definitely learn from the Dutch. At least that’s how I perceive the Dutch. I call it positive pragmatism and it's an approach I like a lot.
I believe our unique selling point is that we focus on what brings us together. To be honest, I think Poland Weekly offers something you will not find anywhere else: a truly international and unifying perspective focused on content that builds cooperation and mutual understanding. This attitude doesn't make us naïve, but it allows us to focus on mutual understanding and a search for solutions.
There are so many new challenges that we are all facing, such as energy transformation, climate change and supply chain disruption, to name but a few. By working together and sharing good practices, we can achieve so much more. Dutch companies and the government are active in e-mobility, the circular economy, logistics and the off-shore wind sector. We write about these in Poland Weekly because they show how to create good business cases. I believe there are also more and more Polish companies that are contributing to the development of these sectors.
But since Poland Weekly targets expats living in Poland, we also write about lifestyle and culture. Poland is about so much more than just Warsaw, Kraków and Zakopane, and we want to make sure that those coming from abroad are fully aware of the variety of what Poland has to offer.
A focus on what brings us together
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Poland Weekly newspaper is available across europe at the eu airports and in emPik and inmedio chains around Poland.
New VR film: ‘Liveable Cycling Cities’
Have you seen the latest film on the Virtual Gateway NL platform? In partnership with NLinBusiness, the Dutch Cycling Embassy has released a new virtual reality film about resilient and sustainable mobility. “Liveable Cycling Cities” takes viewers on an immersive journey through the Dutch cycling (r)evolution, from the road safety protests in Amsterdam in the 1970s to the spectacular Hovering suspended roundabout in Eindhoven.
The key message: cycling is now a universal mode of transport in the Netherlands, but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, it is the outcome of decades of strategic investment in safe and
active travel, establishing a set of best practices that the Dutch are able to share with global cities looking to follow in their footsteps.
The short film received its world premiere at a recent economic trade mission to California. During the “NL x LA Urban Mobility Event” at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Friday, 9 September 2022, attendees were invited to try the provided VR headsets and be the amongst the first to see it.
Developed with the participation of an extensive public-private network – including the City of Utrecht, Cargoroo, Fietsplatform and LumiGuide – the film is now part of the Virtual Gateway NL platform, an online showcase presenting Dutch solutions to global challenges.
A successful NL International Business Day
During this year’s Business Exchange Days we added an extra day full of networking opportunities! On Friday, 9 September 2022, we organised the NLinBusiness International Business Day in collaboration with our NL Business Hubs. The day was filled with networking
opportunities in different formats, with a number of country presentations presented by those hub directors, one-to-one sessions with all hub directors, and free-flow networking opportunities throughout the day.
It was a highly successful event that enabled many entrepreneurs to connect with our hub directors and make new contacts. Make sure you keep an eye on our events calendar to know when International Business Day 2023 will take place!
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Guaranteeing mobility in business
A wide range of vehicles and components, attractive financial conditions, savings and comprehensive servicing are just some of the advantages of vehicle contract hire. Businesses in which commercial vehicles play a key role could benefit the most from this solution.
Long-term vehicle rental is gaining more and more supporters, including distribution companies that expect comprehensive servicing both at their hubs and abroad, as well as businesses that want to avoid investing funds in vehicle purchases. Many of these clients are companies with unusual needs that require a consistent fleet management strategy, as well as specialised and uninterrupted service.
When renting a vehicle for a certain period of time, the client has access to all the services related to operation of the car as part of a fixed monthly fee. These services include regular inspections and repairs, insurance, relief vehicles, breakdown assistance, tyre maintenance, and fuel cards.
MHC Mobility is responsible both for regular servicing and quick repairs, which means that our customers can be confident that the vans and trucks they use are in excellent technical condition. A professionally trained technical team equipped with specialist tools is always ready to carry out repairs and maintenance for
This issue is particularly important for companies whose business relies on delivery vehicles. Long-term rental of the car fleet saves money on car depreciation, while any repairs related to regular maintenance of the vehicle are also included in the monthly fee. If the vehicle is damaged, in the event of a road accident perhaps, MHC Mobility provides a relief car for the time of repair, which avoids downtime and guarantees mobility.
Commercial vehicles and trucks rented as part of a Full Service Lease will be regularly maintained by a dedicated Mobile Technical Inspector, who will also review any repairs carried out by external workshops. As a result, our clients can be confident that any mechanics working with our company will perform reliable repairs and provide a high level of service.
Genuine financial benefits
Long-term vehicle rental also provides companies with a number of tax benefits, as it’s a legally recognised service that can have the full amount classed as a business cost for accounting purposes. This allows clients to settle any expenses related to the vehicle rental. With the introduction of the new tax regulations on 1 January 2022, rental became more cost-effective than leasing as there is usually no purchase involved, which means there is no sales revenue and no additional tax burden. What is more, long-term rental allows clients to replace the car with a newer model much more quickly than under a leasing contract, and it also doesn’t affect the company’s credit score. Finally, a single invoice covers all costs, thus reducing administrative expenses.
Find out more: mhcmobility.pl
Platinum Sponsor Article
Marketing Manager at Billtrust
The National e-Invoicing System (KSeF) and international entities
services from countries other than Poland (both within and outside the EU) will not use the KSeF. Thus, Polish taxpayers will be obliged to issue their invoices in the existing form anyway, so that their counterparties can obtain confirmation of the transaction. Such a situation will lead to a doubling of obligations in term of documenting transactions.
KSeF and international entities
Poland has received approval from the Council of the European Union to make the National e-Invoicing System (KSeF) mandatory as of January 1, 2024. This obligation will, to some extent, apply to transactions with international entities, too.
International entities vs. entity scope
The KSeF will not handle invoices issued by those entities that do not reside in Poland but are registered in Poland for VAT purposes. Experts have their doubts as to whether entities that have a so-called “permanent place of business” in Poland will also be required to use the KSeF. These doubts stem from certain discrepancies between the Polish and English versions of the decision. Indeed, the English version uses the phrase: “established in the territory of Poland”, which clearly brings to mind the concept of a permanent place of business. As of now, however, it has still not been confirmed whether or not entities with a permanent place of business in Poland will be required to use the KSeF. On the one hand, it seems that, purposefully, such entities should not be excluded from the obligation to use the KSeF. But on the other hand, the linguistic interpretation applied to the Polish version leaves no doubt that what has been meant is residence for purposes other than tax obligations.
Types of transactions
International sales transactions (i.e. the export of goods and services, and the supply of goods within the EU) will be documented in the KSeF. However, it is obvious that the recipients of goods or
As for international purchase transactions, such as the intraCommunity acquisition of goods and the import of services, taxpayers will also face additional obligations. As announced in Poland’s proposal, “taxpayers will have to provide specific information to the KSeF regarding certain transactions that do not have to be documented with invoices issued in accordance with the Polish VAT regulations, such as the intra-Community acquisition of goods and the cross-border provision of services.” At this point, it is unclear how this obligation will be implemented.
Cross-border transactions already cause lots of problems for the taxpayer when it comes to accounting for them properly. Good examples here include the issues related to documenting the intra-Community delivery of goods (which seems to have been made more difficult since the Quick Fixes entered into force) or the problems with documenting the export of goods and the intraCommunity acquisition of goods. Now, in addition to that, there are going to be new formalities related both to the issuance of the invoice itself and to the need to document the transaction twice. At this point, many of these problems have still not been regulated by law, and it is to be hoped that these doubts will be resolved by the Polish legislature, and that the not-so-successful solutions will be fixed in the new bill. As for now, the proposed solutions would seem to be too burdensome for taxpayers.
For help with KSeF connections, and to prepare effectively, Billtrust (Order2Cash platform) is on hand to provide the necessary support.
Join our LinkedIn group: KSeF Krajowy System e-Faktur Mandatory e-invoicing Poland
President Transport and Logistics Poland
The road transport market in Poland
Poland’s accession to the European Union in 2004 created new opportunities for both Polish and EU entrepreneurs. On the one hand, there was a dynamic increase in the number of Polish transport companies, and on the other, foreign companies, including Dutch ones, found that Poland offered excellent conditions for doing business in the field of road transport and logistics.
Today, the Polish market is worth more than €40 billion, having seen an average growth rate over the last decade of around 10% per year. Companies operating in Poland serve both the domestic and foreign markets, with a transport performance of 355 billion tonne-kilometers that has put the country in first place in the EU, ahead of Germany by as much as 20%.
The largest increase over the last 10 to 20 years, ensuring Poland's leading position, took place in the export of transport services – namely, cross-trade transport (transport between other countries) and cabotage (transport within different countries). It is estimated that these services currently account for about 38% of the international transport performance of companies based in Poland.
One of the most important factors that has made this success possible is the level of qualified employees. This applies equally to managerial staff, logisticians, forwarders and, of course, drivers. In Poland, a shortage of drivers has been mitigated by the possibility to acquire workers from countries of the former Soviet Union that are both culturally and linguistically close to Poland – mainly Ukraine and Belarus.
The road freight transport sector is one of the three largest industries in Poland. Transport companies pay PLN 16 billion in taxes and contributions to the budget annually. Road transport jobs provide a livelihood for more than one million workers, and their earnings are higher than those offered in other leading sectors of the economy. It should be noted, for example, that the average wage of drivers in international road transport is 61% higher than the average salary in the Polish national economy
and their earnings have been comparable to those offered in the richer countries of the EU for several years now.
As for the structure of the entire Polish transport market, there were as many as 125,000 companies operating on it in 2020, including about 37,000 international carriers. The structure of the Polish market differs from other European Union countries mainly through the larger share of micro-enterprises operating on it, i.e. companies employing up to 9 people are responsible for 37% of revenues, while the average for the EU is 25%.
The differences between Poland and other EU countries also concern the structure of services provided by companies operating in Poland. Full truck loads account for as much as 43% of all services in Poland, as against the EU average of 9%. One service that is not yet sufficiently developed in Poland is contract logistics, which accounts for only 15%, while the EU average is 43%.
Transport and Logistics Poland is an industry organisation bringing together the leaders of the Polish transport market, with its members also including companies with Dutch capital operating on the Polish market, such as Boekestijn Transport Services, DAF, De Rooy Poland, Heisterkamp, HSF Logistics, H.Z. Transport, Raben, Schavemaker, Van Huët and Vos Logistics. Vast knowledge, many years of experience, flexibility and a professional approach to every issue are the distinguishing features of TLP member companies.
Read the full report "Road Transport in Poland 2021+" issued by the Employers' Association Transport and Logistics Poland:
A rapid, desirable, good-looking car that just happens to be powered by electricity
Tested by NPCC Electric Vehicle Test Drive
On a sunny autumn day, we were lucky enough to have a silvergrey Jaguar I-Pace at our disposal.
What a brave move from Jaguar: an all-electric SUV, the first credible rival to Tesla’s premium EV dominance and a car that compares well with its German rivals on the market. The I-Pace signalled the start of something big when it was first launched in 2018 – namely, the fact that mainstream manufacturers, not just Silicon Valley start-ups or BMW, were prepared to invest properly in building new-from-the-ground-up electric cars that you might actually want to own, and may be able to afford.
At first glance, the radically styled silhouette of the I-Pace seems to stem more from a coupé than an SUV. So we can talk of an SUV-coupé, and a pretty good-looking one at that. It’s the proportions that steal the show: the stubbed nose that brings the front wheels forward with it and the high, squared-off rear end set the template, while the rear spoiler, vented bonnet and flush door handles provide the detail.
Inside the car, it is noticeable how much light comes through the large sunroof, which also gives it a futuristic and spacious feel. The materials used in the interior are of high quality, although you don’t immediately get the typical impression connected with being in a Jaguar. But that isn’t necessarily a negative. Our car came equipped with a lot of really nice options. The lane assist, and particularly the adaptive cruise control, make driving the I-Pace very easy, while the performance seats can be adjusted in 12 different ways to help make your journey comfortable and relaxing. The heated steering wheel allows surprisingly tight
handling, and gives you control over all the necessary functions so you can keep your eyes on the road and not on the console in the dashboard. The quality of the Meridian sound system will also leave you feeling like you’re in the Royal Albert Hall at a concert by your favourite band.
But the main question is: how does it drive? That’s the key to the I-Pace’s appeal. All electric cars tend to be smooth and silent, but few are genuinely engaging and rewarding to drive. This one is. It steers precisely, rides beautifully and is quick over the ground. It simply makes driving pleasurable.
To sum up, the I-Pace isn’t cheap, and it’s definitely not an EV for the masses. It remains a premium vehicle with a price tag to match. We also can’t deny that there are still issues with the car’s range, although in the real world the possibility to cover 400 km will easily meet the needs of the vast majority of buyers. Despite that, what won’t put people off is the way the I-Pace drives: the acceleration is strong, and the handling is surprisingly tight, which all helps to make it an electric car that you’ll actually want to own and enjoy driving. It’s also comfortable, quiet, spacious and well-built… all the things that, if we’re honest, matter day-today. The I-Pace won’t be for everyone, but hats off to Jaguar for making a car that steps boldly into the unknown, and is still able to compete with the other premium brands.
The test car was made available by MM Cars – an authorised Jaguar and Range Rover dealer in Warsaw. Special thanks also go to MHC Mobility for making the test drive possible.
Interview with regional member
Managing Director, Colourama Sp. z o.o.
Łódź: „We never run out of textiles
Can you tell us more about your company? Tell us about the type of business you have, who your customers are and why you have chosen to do business in Poland.
Colourama has specialised in the digital printing of heat transfer paper for the home furnishings, contract, textiles and fashion sectors since 2005. Besides printing paper, we also offer the possibility to transfer our paper onto polyester fabrics ranging in width from 160 cm to 320 cm. We ship our printed paper or printed textiles to customers globally. Working in tandem with our print production department, our specialist design team is a big part of our successful growth. They work closely together on every exclusive customer project, creating skilled print files, exclusive designs, co-ordinates and colour matches on specific fabrics. Each year, we also launch open line print collections for all markets.
large cities around Poland, the prices for purchasing land or renting a commercial building, as well as salaries for the staff, are considerably lower. In addition, Łódź has a very central location, with good road connections to all parts of Poland.
You recently hosted an event where NPCC members from the region had the chance to visit your company. What can you tell us about that visit?
On 23 November, the NPCC organised a company visit to Colourama for its members. After being welcomed by myself and the Managing Director of the NPCC, Wouter Barmentloo, all the guests were able to enjoy a cup of real Dutch coffee along with a stroopwafel, a well-known treat from Holland. A presentation about the textile industry and Colourama, projected
What is the reason that you are located in the region of Łódź? Was this a strategic choice or a coincidence?
Historically, Łódź grew rapidly in the mid-19th century to become one of the biggest industrial textile cities in the world, together with Manchester in the UK. And nowadays, there are still a number of burnt clay red-brick textile factories remaining from that era. The best example is the Poznański factory, now completely restored as the Manufaktura complex. Many companies connected to the textile industry can still be found around Łódź today, and that was one of the main reasons why Colourama chose to settle in the city.
Can you recommend your region above other regions in Poland for companies that are looking to start or invest in Poland?
Based on our experience since 2005, we can certainly recommend Łódź as an interesting city to start or invest in. Compared to other
onto the showroom wall, was given by Bert Benckhuysen, the company's Business Development Manager, followed by a company tour to see our impressive digital printers and heat transfer presses up close. The day ended with an informal drink and some more Dutch snacks.
Can you tell us which innovations you have implemented recently in your product or service or on the work floor?
We have invested significantly in digital sublimation printing over the past 3 years, in both narrow and wide formats, which has made us the largest digital sublimation printer in Eastern Europe.
From early next year, we are also planning to become the largest producer of eco-friendly pigments for digital printing, which will create fresh opportunities in terms of new applications on cotton. This year, we have implemented our new workflow automation system, which allows all orders to be monitored by us and also by our customers via a web-based portal.
News from our members
KLM has landed in Katowice
2.11.2022, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines officially inaugurated a new route: Amsterdam-Katowice-Amsterdam. Inhabitants of Upper Silesia gained access to the global network of the Dutch airline. Katowice is already the sixth city in Poland - after Warsaw, Kraków, Gdańsk, Wrocław and Poznań - from where KLM offers flights to Amsterdam, and from there further into the world.
“Launching this new connection from Katowice is a true confirmation of the confidence that KLM has in Poland. Poland is a unique market for KLM, and the strategy of launching new routes from the country’s regional airports has, to date, been remarkably successful. After launching new connections to Poznań, Wrocław, and previously Kraków and Gdańsk, as well our network - Katowice. We plan to offer a total of up to 68 flights each week this season from 6 Polish cities, including the new destination – Katowice. Katowice - the heart of Upper Silesia - is a very important economic centre in Poland. Here,
we are able to see great potential, primarily due to the business traffic from this city and its surrounding area. We hope that the daily flight will assist in cultivating new commercial, economic and cultural connections between Poland and The Netherlands, as well as provide new opportunities for tourist travels. The inhabitants of the entire region will now gain new travel options that are offered by KLM’s extensive network – including in this season 163 destinations around the world, where they can fly to via Amsterdam. We are pleased that Katowice has now become a part of our global offer!” – said Frantisek Siling, General Sales Director of Air France and KLM in Poland, who was present at inaugural ceremony.
The flights on the new route Amsterdam (Schiphol) – Katowice Airport – Amsterdam (Schiphol) are offered daily.
Droogh is an urbanist and partner at RDH Urban in Poznań
From the moment I sold my Dutch company at the age of 59, I can financially afford to spend part of my time teaching. In that opening sentence lies a dramatic flaw within our current society…
For a few years now, I have been trying to pass on to the younger generation the practical experience that I have gained over decades as a professional and entrepreneur. In recent years, I have therefore regularly visited universities and colleges in the Netherlands, Lithuania and Poland. Based on this experience, I can conclude that most of them are, incidentally, very similar in terms of organisational culture and (mis)management. The educational institutions I have been involved with so far tend to show the same pattern from an organisational point of view. The management's focus is primarily on themselves and their own position within the organisation. Without having any decision-making authority, extensive staffs of coordinators are busy taking part in internal meetings or dealing with abstract topics such as process descriptions, education strategies or reports for various ministries. Absurdly detailed digital forms, aimed at collecting information that is never acted upon, are filling the time of highly educated lecturers and professionals. These are the kind of organisations where young, intrinsically inspired teachers become so cynical within five years that they escape for home as quickly as possible after working hours.
And within these sprawling bureaucracies, the students – our future – are trying to prepare themselves for their professional life.
At one of these universities last semester, I had the pleasure of teaching a module about 'entrepreneurship' to a group of international IT students. Since I don't have a background in the theory of teaching, I organise my lessons mainly in a practical way. In this case, the students were instructed to draw up a business plan for their upcoming career. Over eight meetings, we went through the steps together that are necessary to make that kind of business plan. Gradually, the students became more open towards each other when it came to sharing their background, motivation and future expectations. For me, it was disturbing to hear how they recognised themselves in their mutual stories about the levels of stress and depression they had suffered, and in some cases even the urge to commit suicide, while at high school.
"Why so much stress, why so much pressure?" I asked. The multitude of tests, the constant need to perform and the expectations of teachers and parents were the most frequently given answers. When asked about the motivation behind their current choice of study, only three of the 17 appeared to have chosen IT out of any intrinsic interest in the subject. The others had done so "for the money" or because "my parents advised it". Parents appear to measure success in life primarily by the level of annual
income and job security, more than having a child who is following their dreams.
Since I am convinced that most of us will achieve success in our professional life as long we follow our intrinsic drive, I encouraged my students to make a business plan for an activity that they would choose to do from their heart. As a result, these IT students prepared enthusiastically conceived plans for, among other things, a horse stable, a coffee shop, a fashion brand, a hotel, a commercial pet shelter and a catering wholesaler… Only a few of their business plans were related to IT. When rating my students' performances, I am always very generous, but at the end of the semester, after assessing the submitted papers, I had a digital queue in my mailbox with requests for a higher grade. Apart from an exaggerated self-image about their achievements, an often-heard reason given by the students involved was that: "I can't go back to my parents with a grade lower than a 5." Speaking about putting pressure on your child shoulders…
"My children are the most important thing in my life" and "Youth is the future". How often do we hear these sentences, and how easily are these words spoken?
They are probably meant sincerely, but they are diametrically opposed to their social interpretation. What makes us – as a society – push children between the ages of 10 and 15 into a system that leads towards performance stress? Why do we force young adults to make a career choice that is far from their motivation, and therefore unconnected with their basic qualities that they can build self-confidence from? Why do we allow young people, during the most vulnerable period of their lives, to be locked up within a system staffed by teachers worn out by bureaucracy and conditioned by "forms"? Is it surprising that there is such a high dropout rate at universities, or that so many young people are facing mental health issues like "burnout"?
I belong to the generation that was allowed to spend four years on a bachelor's degree, and then I also spent more than six years studying part-time for my master's. Most of my teachers were part-time lecturers employed by the university. A substantial part of their time was taken up with involvement in professional practice or research, and the experience they shared with us was very inspiring for the students. Until I entered the regular job market at 26, I had to take on various temporary jobs in addition to my studies, such as picking flower bulbs, working as a sales assistant in the retail sector, or doing night shifts in a leather
processing factory… Not only did these jobs provide me with money, but they also gave me lots of insights and a wide range of skills that would come in useful later.
It was after working as an employee for almost 10 years that I knew what I wanted in life, and so I decided to pursue my career as an independent entrepreneur. At that moment, I was 35.
Why this short biography? As an "engaged outsider" of our current education system, I'm increasingly getting the impression that we are pushing our youngsters – though no doubt wellintentioned – too hard from an early age. The whole focus of the education system is to prepare them to join the labour market as soon as possible. But before a young professional can get an idea of what they really want in life, they are already part of the rat race. Preferably with the life of a well-paid corporate slave until, around 50, they are thrown out in the umpteenth reorganisation wave, physical and creatively exhausted. And then, disillusioned and frustrated, they can finally wake up and start their Bed & Breakfast, horse stable or commercial animal shelter… Besides all the human suffering related to it, our current education system seems to me to be an ineffective way of preparing the next intellectual elite.
If we could give our children a little more time and mental space for experiments, they would feel more relaxed about finding their basic skills and motivation.
Even if they entered the labour market at 25, they would still be forced to work for at least 45 years… Another of my concerns is the way the education system eats up (underpaid) highly educated teachers. Why should their main focus be on filling in forms and Excel spreadsheets, instead of having the time and focus to be a mental coach for young adults? In an increasingly complex world, it is more important than ever that the educated backbone of society is driven by proven self-confidence, and time and focus are needed to coach a young adult towards their real driving force and skills.
And last but not least, can we not unlock the wealth of experience possessed by the 50+ generation so that they can share their professional and life experience with students? A lot of my generation are no longer working just for the money, and being involved in part-time education will not only implement our experience towards a new generation but would keep us as well connected with the new insights brought by the younger generation. A serious ‘win – win’!
This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members. 31
“"Why so much stress, why so much pressure?" I asked”
Messages from the Embassy
Looking back on 2022 and ahead to 2023
It has been an intense year for all of us, both personally and professionally. The war in Ukraine was – and still is – unnerving and disturbing in many ways. At the same time, the lifting of the Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year resulted in the highest number of missions, conferences and other trade-related events seen in years.
For our Economic Department, the highlights (and also the largest operations) were the trade mission on offshore wind led by Minister Rob Jetten, the scaled-up RailFreight Summit, the New Mobility Congress, Circular Economy Week and our regional visits to Greater Poland and Silesia. But most of all, we enjoyed the lively, inspiring and often action-oriented interaction with you and other entrepreneurs aimed at developing the economic ties between the Netherlands and Poland.
Going forward, we all have some very challenging times ahead. But from our side, we will just keep working to improve our trade relations and create business opportunities for Dutch entrepreneurs in Poland. One event that we hope will stand out
in 2023 is the next Polish-Dutch Business Forum in the first half of the year.
We will also invest heavily in a successful first year of the Programme International Business for Offshore Wind Energy in Poland, which we hope to continue in 2024 and 2025. And we should not forget to mention our activities in the field of the circular economy, sustainable mobility and rail transport.
If you like to know more about our activities and how we might be able to support you in developing your business, follow us on LinkedIn or contact us directly.
Messages from the Embassy
Dutch Studies in Lublin: Tradition, innovation and a business-friendly academic environment
By Marcin Polkowski, Kamila Tomaka and Joanna Włodarczyk-Kaziród
The Catholic University of Lublin (KUL) invites companies to take part in an Employers' Convention to stimulate cooperation between the business world and academia. Lublin, a city of over 340,000 inhabitants in the south-east of Poland, is often called a gateway between Eastern and Western Europe. A place with a vibrant multicultural heritage, Lublin is home to one of just three Polish universities offering a full curriculum in Dutch Studies – the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin. Next year, in 2023, we will be celebrating the 15th anniversary of the bachelor’s degree in Dutch Studies offered at KUL. Over the years, more than 200 students have received either a bachelor’s or master’s degree (or both) in Dutch Philology, and they are now employed as professionals in jobs requiring proficiency in the Dutch language both inside and outside of Poland. Their presence on the job market makes the Dutch Studies department in Lublin an attractive partner for Dutch and Belgian enterprises doing business in Poland and also for Polish companies operating on the Dutch or Belgian markets. With an average of 15 students in each year of the studies (a three-year bachelor’s degree course and a twoyear master’s degree course), Dutch Philology in Lublin is a small but thriving academic community. The modest number of students has its advantages, as it allows for an individual approach to be taken to each student, with their needs recognised and assessed in a friendly, open environment. The academic staff are focused on discovering and unlocking the full intellectual potential of the students. Achieving rapid fluency in Dutch is the number one goal for our students from the very first day of the course. The curriculum is designed in such a way as to facilitate the immersion of the students in a Dutch-speaking environment, with a strong emphasis
on communication skills and intercultural competences. The academic staff of the Dutch Philology department include native speakers from the Netherlands and Flanders, as well as Poles with near-native proficiency in Dutch. This makes the acquisition of the Dutch language from scratch much easier. The academic staff make the students familiar with the different varieties of Dutch, which is highly appreciated later on when they start working in multinational companies alongside businesspeople, or with customers from the Netherlands or Belgium, who may speak different regional varieties of Dutch. Our students travel to the Netherlands or Belgium to take part in summer schools and language courses offered by the Dutch Language Union (and recently also by cooperating Central European universities). These language courses give students the opportunity to perfect their language skills in a fun and rewarding way. What is more, apart from a university diploma, Dutch Philology students can also obtain an international Certificate of Dutch as a Foreign Language (Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal), which provides independent proof of their linguistic competence. The business-minded approach of the Dutch Philology department in Lublin is reflected in the block of courses offered with a business and economic theme. The students can also gain professional experience in internships organised, for example, by the embassies of Dutch-speaking countries – the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Representation of the Government of Flanders in Poland. The Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce and Flanders Investment and Trade are also important partners for us. We see this as an excellent opportunity not only for the students of Dutch Studies, but also for many Dutch and Belgian companies. That is why KUL is inviting companies to take part in an Employers' Convention to stimulate cooperation between the business world and academia. The university offers businesses the chance to come into contact with prospective employees, the best and brightest students, through a mentoring programme. We would be very happy to be able to offer our students more internships. We cordially invite you to contact us in order to discuss how we can better equip our students for your company and also to compete on the changing job market.
Contact: Marcin Polkowski (email@example.com), Kamila Tomaka (firstname.lastname@example.org), Joanna Włodarczyk-Kaziród (joanna. email@example.com)
Photo: A KUL graduation ceremony (photo by Tomasz Koryszko).
Remco van der Kroft Advocaat (Dutch licensed lawyer) and partner of Olczak-Klimek Van der Kroft Węgiełek
Dutch people in Poland like to complain. That has been the case ever since I started living here in the early nineties of the last century (that does make me sound old). At that time (before the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce even existed), the embassy used to organise a monthly business drink in the bar on the 40th floor of the Marriott.
Those meetings would attract mostly Dutch people active in Poland in some capacity, with most of the conversations revolving around complaining about bureaucracy. I will never forget that in late 1995 I was advising a Dutch expat on the documents he would need to file for his work permit, while at the same time also planning my own return to the Netherlands, which involved getting a residence permit for my Polish wife.
Much to my surprise, the bureaucracy in the Netherlands was much worse than that in Poland.
I had a similar experience recently when I visited the Netherlands a few times, with two out of the four flights being delayed and one cancelled altogether due to the chaos at Eindhoven airport. I flew to Eindhoven to avoid the even bigger chaos at Schiphol. In comparison, Chopin airport is actually quite well organised. As another example, a client of mine was complaining that opening a corporate bank account in Poland took him over 10 days, but apparently in the Netherlands it can take two months.
When it comes to the justice system, we also learned last year that things are not ideal in the Netherlands.
Our Dutch readers will remember the childcare benefits scandal (in Dutch “toeslagenaffaire”) between 2013 and 2019 when the authorities wrongly accused an estimated 26,000 parents of making fraudulent benefit claims. They were forced to pay back the allowances they had received in full,
even if the mistakes made in applying for them had been minor. This resulted in families going bankrupt, and some children even being placed in foster families. It was a story reminiscent of the crackdown on VAT fraud in Poland which wrongly accused many companies, leading to some going bankrupt, before the courts decided that no fraud had been committed. The difference is that in Poland it involved companies, but in the Netherlands it was about families. A Dutch parliamentary inquiry into the matter concluded that “fundamental principles of the rule of law” had been violated, leading to the collapse of Rutte’s third government. Last year, the highest administrative court publicly apologised for applying the law too harshly.
PiS politicians will now say that the Dutch have no right to criticise Poland because the “rule of law” is not respected in the Netherlands (either).
As a person who has been quite critical of the way in which the current Polish government treats the “rule of law”, I have been struggling with that. As much as I hate to admit it, is there something to say for such a reaction, or not?
I came to the conclusion that this is definitely true for Mark Rutte personally, but that doesn’t disqualify other Dutch people from criticising both the Dutch and Polish governments. And whilst the Polish government simply
refuses to respect the decisions of the European Court of Justice, the justice system in the Netherlands does seem to have learned from its mistakes, with the notable exception of the Dutch prime minister.
So, in conclusion, I have no qualms about continuing to criticise the Polish government, which despite losing support in the opinion polls is still intent on introducing questionable legislative initiatives, such as a proposed law which would make it difficult for a new government to change the board members of state-owned companies (nicknamed “Trough Plus”), which was then quickly withdrawn. During a recent overhaul of the Commercial Companies Code, they quietly reintroduced an old communist criminal offence of “acting against the interest of a company”, which was prosecuted ex officio and abused by prosecutors if they suspected corruption but couldn’t prove it. This rule was abolished in 2011 but has now come back under a different number as “by abusing the powers conferred on him or by failing to comply with the obligation incumbent on him, [he] causes [a company] significant financial damage”. The problem is not the rule itself but the fact that it is not the company’s owners who will decide that “financial damage” has been caused but the prosecutor, who can prosecute ex officio, thus giving them an excuse to meddle in the affairs of private businesses. The election is next year…
“As a person who has been quite critical of the way in which the current Polish government treats the “rule of law”, I have been struggling with that”
This column is written à titre personnel and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NPCC board or its members.
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