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Fishermen's boats on the beach at Międzyzdroje. photo: Jan Włodarczyk (Forum)
While other countries cut back on defence, Poland is spending more. page 24
A testament to the Jewish contribution to Polish history opens. page 58
The changing face of Silesia, above and below the ground. page 68
To Hel and back What'sTo drivingHel Poland'sand ongoingback metamorphosis intoWhat's one ofdriving Europe's Poland's newestmetamorphosis tourism hotspots? into one of Europe'spage newest 20 tourism hotspots? page 20
Magazine • Portal • Conferences • find out more at www.poland-today.pl
(04) may/jun 2013
table of contents
Skłodowska would be proud
There's a new generation of Polish women ready to take up the torch from trailblazers such as Irena Eris, Henryka Bochniarz or Krystyna Janda. In fields ranging from kitesurfing to economics, Hanna Kosłowska takes a closer look at ten women who we think are changing the game in their chosen fields.
To Hel and back
Table of contents
Poland’s tourism industry has undergone radical changes in the past few decades, transitioning from being perceived as a concrete jungle to a veritable vacation destination for foreigners. Philip Boyes takes an in-depth look at the changing face of the tourism industry in Poland and where it is headed.
news round up
Armed and ready
Significant increases in Poland’s defence spending herald broad changes to Poland’s aging armed forces. Matthew Day explores where this spending is coming from, where it is going and exactly what Poland plans to gain from beefing up its defences.
Warsaw on the brink of a renaissance
“This is a remarkable time for Warsaw – we haven't had a time like this for centuries,” remarked Warsaw Mayor, Hanna GronkiewiczWaltz during her speech at Poland Today’s Warsaw Primetime Conference. Jan Cienski takes us through the challenges and opportunities that Warsaw must face if it really wants a seat at the table amongst Europe’s elite capitals.
Poland's capital riding high
Heavyweights from various sectors gathered at Poland Today's conference about Warsaw to discuss the capital's future prospects
District mayors touting new locations
Silesia, once known mostly for its coal mining, has turned itself into one of the most soughtafter foreign direct investment locations in Poland. Roberto Galea looks further into what this voivodship has done right and what’s in store for the future.
The leadership gap
“First of all, act, don’t just talk,” quipped Polish billionaire Jan Kulczyk during the twoday “European Executive Forum” conference in Warsaw, which brought together some of Europe’s top politicians and business leaders to explore the shifting leadership roles in the changing EU landscape. Liam Nolan and Hanna Kozłowska were there to give us the highlights.
A Museum of the living
If the fifteen thousand people recently standing in line just to take in the sights of the striking, newly opened Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw’s Muranów district, designed by Finnish architect Rainer Mahlamäki, are any indication, interest among Poles in this chapter of their country’s history is definitely hitting a high point. Liam Nolan takes us through the design process and the history behind this new Warsaw landmark.
When talking about Warsaw from a developmental perspective, you're actually dealing with several different districts. The District Mayors Workshop brought together senior officials from six major parts of the capital.
Eyewitness: To divide the human race. page 64
To Hel and back. page 20
It happened in... June. page 66
Eyewitness: To divide the human race
Professor Jakub Gutenbaum gave Poland Today’s Liam Nolan his powerful account of life during the Ghetto Uprising, and his harrowing tale of survival after life irrevocably changed upon the start of World War 2.
Eyewitness: And then I was alone
Krystyna Budnicka was the only member of her family to survive the Nazi occupation of Warsaw during World War 2 as both her parents, as well as her seven siblings, died either in the concentration camps or during the Ghetto Uprising. She tells Poland Today how she managed to survive.
Taking in the Silesian sights
Erasmus student Samuel Desh sets his sights on exploring the best that Silesia has to offer. He takes us along on his weekend adventure through Sosnowiec, the massive Silesia Culture and Recreation Park and the Kopalnia Guido Coal Mine, proving that there is still a lot of fun to be had – even when the weather isn’t so agreeable.
Indulging your foodie passions
Magdalena Kasprzyk-Chevriaux sorts through the multitude of Polish culinary offerings going on this summer to provide us with her top picks for food festivals that are guaranteed to leave your palate satisfied… and probably your girth a little wider.
It happened in... June
The Polski Fiat 126p, affectionately known as the “Maluch” and often crammed with squashed family members and anything that could be traded – from fur coats to flimsy electric drills – first rolled off production lines 40 years ago this June. Take a look at the journey of this tenacious little four-wheeled machine – from the factories of Bielsko-Biała and Tychy straight through to the annals of Polish history.
Cultural round up
From a Spanish art armada to Paul McCartney to everybody's favourite musical doctor, culture-vultures are swarming with top-notch ideas and events to woo you and your nearest and dearest. Damien Moran gives the details on the events that will have you switching off your tablet and rearranging your calendar.
Museum of the living. page 58
Making Skłodowska proud. page 14
Indulging your foodie passions. page 70
table of contents
Our first conference, Primetime Warsaw, was a great success and featured an impressive line-up of speakers, partners and patrons. If I had been asked when we launched Poland Today a few months ago whether we would have a former Prime Minister & President of the European Parliament and the Mayor of Warsaw speaking at our debut conference, an event patronized by the City of Warsaw, The Voivodship of Mazowsze and the Financial Times, with partners which read like a Who’s Who of the leading companies in their fields, I would have replied that we need a bit of time to get there. The conference was attended by over 300 professionals and diplomats who listened to a wide variety of opinions from a diverse group of speakers on the subject of Warsaw’s future development. The consensus was that Poland’s capital city has taken huge strides forward over the last few years and is now acknowledged as the uncontested regional heavyweight (it seems strange to think that only 10 years ago Prague and Budapest were vying for this position, with Warsaw to some extent side-lined), but a lot still needs to be done before it can truly live up to its potential as a significant player on the global stage. Despite the economic uncertainties bedevilling the nation’s economy, however, there is a tangible excitement about Warsaw’s future, perhaps all the sweeter because the city has been – and sometimes still is – depicted as Poland’s ugly duckling. This tag has long been unwarranted. The day finished with a screening of ‘Warszawa 1935’, the magnificent short animated film which shows Warsaw in its heyday before the calamity of 19391945 and the stultification of the postwar years. Context, if any were needed. Poland Today also has a long way to go to reach its potential, but we feel we’ve established a strong platform on which to build. We’ll now take a bit of a break over the summer – not to lie on a beach on the Baltic Coast, as pleasant as that would be, but to prepare ourselves for an ambitious and challenging programme of publications and events in the rest of the year, in 2014 and beyond. We look forward to announcing all at the end of the holiday season. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a wonderful summer.
Publisher Poland Today
‘Speaking of blazing trails, within the last 25 years, Poland has undergone monumental shifts in every aspect of life, a trend that shows few signs of slowing.’
The summer season has finally arrived in Poland – and
Cynthia Naugher Skłodowski, a Texas
native, has lived in Poland for four years with her Polish husband and young son. Her career so far has included stints in NYC at both Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazines, as well as for a Dallas advertising firm, and she is now concentrating on trying to get the hang of Polish life and culture, which is a full-time job in itself.
not a moment too soon if you ask me. Sidewalk cafes are brimming over with patrons, the fruit and veggie stores are full up with Poland’s best goodies, parks are full of bicycles, families and dogs (and the occasional older person sunbathing in, well, underwear), and every weekend promises lots of outdoor concerts and festivals to keep everyone entertained. This issue of Poland Today promises to inspire. From Marie Skłodowska Curie to the ubiquitous “Matka Polka” to the new generation of women taking over male-dominated fields, it is a fact that women in Poland have always been a force to be reckoned with. Hanna Kozłowska’s article “Making Skłodowska Proud” takes a look at ten of Poland’s most impressive young, talented women who have already begun blazing trails through their respective professions. Speaking of blazing trails, within the last 25 years, Poland has undergone monumental shifts in every aspect of life, a trend that shows few signs of slowing. Throughout this issue, we take a look at the way that some of these changes are manifesting themselves across a number of areas: major increases in defence spending changing the face of Poland’s armed forces, Silesia’s transformation from sleepy mining region to one of the world’s top FDI locations, and renewed momentum in Poland’s tourism industry, to name a few. We also get a chance to take a look back at some of the events that have shaped the country into what it is today. The spectacularly stunning and newly opened Museum of the History of Polish Jews obviously chronicles the events that first come to mind when one thinks of the recent history of Jews in Poland – namely the events of World War II and the Ghetto Uprising. However what is also does is take a look at hundreds of years of thriving Jewish communities throughout the country. In Liam Nolan’s article, “A Museum of the Living”, he quotes Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Program Director of the Core Exhibition: “Visitors will know where they are geopolitically, but they have never thought about 10% of the population that lived here for a thousand years. They were a very visible, tangible part of the character of towns,” she says. Whether you’re reading this in the office or on a sailboat in the middle of Mazury, Damien Moran’s “Cultural Roundup” and Magdalena Kasprzyk – Chevriaux’s “Indulging your foodie passions” will give plenty of inspiration for weekend warriors in search of adventure – whether that be satiating your refined palate or your cultural whims. I hope that you enjoy this issue and wish you a warm, sunny and relaxing summer.
Poland Today Sp. z o. o.
ul. Złota 61 lok. 100, 00–819 Warsaw, Poland tel/fax: +48 224648269 mobile: +48 694922898, +48 505006606 www.poland-today.pl
Publisher Richard Stephens Financial Director Arkadiusz Jamski Creative Director Bartosz Stefaniak New Business Consultant Tomasz Andryszczyk
Guest Editor Business Editor Associate Editor Real Estate Editor www Developer
Cynthia Naugher Skłodowski Liam Nolan Hanna Kozłowska Adam Zdrodowski Alex Vladoiu
Agata Nałęcz Andrew Nawrocki Damien Moran Jan Cienski Konrad Majszyk Maciej Szczepaniuk Magdalena Kasprzyk-Chevriaux Monika Rozlał Philip Boyes Roberto Galea Samuel Desh
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ArtDruk Zakład Poligraficzny ul. Napoleona 4, 05-230 Kobyłka tel.: +48 227860830, fax: +48 227868904 Poland Today Magazine is printed on Munken Print Cream ecological paper © 2013 Poland Today Magazine reproduction without permission is prohibited
news round up
Bring it on, says Tusk
IMF urges rate cuts
Poland’s Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, has said he would like his Civic Platform (PO) party’s leadership election to be brought forward to July from early next year. The move is seen as an attempt to head off increasing unrest in his party’s ranks as a result of the difficult economic conditions and the perceived lack of government activity to improve the situation. It is thought that the recently-sacked Justice Minister, Jarosław Gowin, might take up the leadership challenge.
Opposition overtakes ruling party in poll
Law & Justice (PiS) is preferred to the government’s Civic Platform party by 26% to 23%, according to a recent poll by CBOS, one of Poland's biggest polling organizations. The Jarosław Kaczyński-led opposition party is benefiting from Poland’s fragile economic situation.
Warsaw as investment banking hub
Unemployment falls slightly
Poland’s jobless figure fell marginally from 14.3% in March to 14% in April, according to the government’s Central Statistical Office (GUS). The fall was attributed to the increase in seasonal jobs that comes about in Spring, rather than the start of a longer-term trend.
Poland by numbers in 2013
According to a document entitled ‘Poland in Figures 2013’ published by the Central Statistical Office (GUS), divorces per thousand of population in 2012 (1.6) are down compared to selected years 2011 (1.7) and 2005 (1.8), as are marriages, which saw 5.3 in 2012 compared to 5.4 in 2011 and 2005. The number of live births in 2012, 10, are down on 2011’s figure of 10.1, but up from 9.6 in 2005. The number of deaths in 2012 are exactly the same as the number of live births, at 10, up from 9.7 in 2005 and 2011. The number of deaths of infants per 1,000 live births in 2012, 4.6, is down dramatically from the 2005 figure of 6.4. The total fertility rate has gone up slightly from 1243 in 2005 to 1299 in 2012. Life expectancy has gone up by about 2 years since 2005, reaching 72 years and 7 months for men and 81 years for women. Net migration from Poland set against permanent residence per thousand is still high at -6.6, but not as dramatic a drain as in 2005 when it reached -12.9 (curiously it was lower in 2011 at -4.3 than in 2012). The largest age group in Poland is made up of those in their mid-30’s, at over 300,000, shrinking to just over 200,000 of mid-40 somethings, before rising again to around 300,000 of mid-50 somethings. (source: www.stat.gov.pl)
World’s first life-saving face transplant carried out in Poland Zuckerberg’s brief Warsaw ‘vacation’ photo: Eduardo Munoz (Reuters)
News round up
UniCredit SpA, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Societe Generale SA are establishing investmentbanking hubs in Warsaw, according to an article in Bloomberg Business Week. “The development of regional capitalism here is irreversible,” Krzysztof Walenczak, 44, Societe Generale’s country manager and a recent deputy Treasury minister, said in an interview. “The verdict is out - Poland will be a hub for Central and Eastern Europe and we are building a franchise that will last.” The firm ranks second together with PKO Bank Polski SA and Deutsche Bank AG and behind Citigroup Inc. in arranging equity offerings this year, with a total of zl 10.4 bln, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The International Monetary Fund urged Poland’s Central Bank to continue cutting interest rates “without delay” in order to bolster the country’s weakening economic growth, said a reporting statement on the IMF’s website. As context, the report stated that “Poland’s financial system appears to be resilient. Risks have been managed well and vulnerabilities contained through effective supervisory measures, including on foreign exchange exposure, capital adequacy, and bank funding.” Notes of caution were added, however: "Despite its resilience in recent years and very strong fundamentals, the Polish economy has slowed markedly," the fund said in a statement. "With limited fiscal space, monetary policy remains the main tool through which macroeconomic policies can support the economy."
Although Warsaw is not renowned as a holiday destination, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg dropped in on Poland’s capital city in late May, ostensibly for a one-day vacation. During his visit he met the minister for administrative affairs and digitalisation, Michał Boni. Officially the two discussed the significance of the IT industry in Poland and the impressive position of Polish programmers in the world market, according to zdnet.com, but it is likely the topic of the EU’s proposed reforms of Europe’s privacy laws also came up.
Doctors from the Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology in Gliwice undertook the 27-hour emergency operation after the condition of the 33-year-old patient, known only as Grzegorz, deteriorated rapidly and the transplant was seen as the only way to save his life. Usually a face-transplant patient is prepared weeks in advance for the rare operation. A large portion of the man’s face was torn off by a machine in a stone mason’s workship near Wrocław. It will take several months until it is known whether the operation was a complete success, but only a few days afterwards he was giving the thumbs-up sign.
Muslim leaders visit Warsaw synagogue and Auschwitz
Senior Islamic holy men from around the world met Holocaust survivors in the Polish capital as part of an anti-genocide programme. Speaking after the meeting at the Warsaw’s Nozyk synagogue, Imam Mohamed Magid, President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), told Agence France Presse at the event. "Today, we've met real people who suffered the Holocaust and the heroes that saved them at the risk of losing their lives." The group, which includes representatives from Bosnia, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States, also visited the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews and later Auschwitz. While at the concentration camp, Magid told the BBC: "You may read every book about the Holocaust but it's nothing like when you see this place where people were burned. This is the building, the bricks. If they were to speak to you and I, they would tell you how many cries and screams they have heard."
Warsaw Pact commander during Poland’s martial law dies Soviet Marshal Viktor Kulikov, the commander of the Warsaw Pact forces when martial law was imposed on Poland by then leader Wojciech Jaruzelski, died in May aged 91. In 2009 the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) published a conversation between Kulikov and Jaruzelski in which it alleged that the Polish leader asked the Soviet Marshal for help from Warsaw Pact forces to support the government. Jaruzelski has consistently denied this, saying instead that he prevented such an invasion by declaring martial law.
Warsaw stadium to host major European final
Poland’s national stadium will stage the 2015 final of the Europa League, Europe’s 2nd tier competition, UEFA announced. “This prestigious sporting event will be important for the promotion of the Polish Football Association, the city of Warsaw, our country, our society and culture,” said Zbigniew Boniek, Head of PZPN, the Polish Football Association. This year’s competition was won by Chelsea after they beat Benfica 2-1 at the Amsterdam Arena. In 2015 the Champion’s League final will be in Berlin.
F1 magic on the streets of Warsaw
Over 30,000 fans turned out to see Ferrari’s Felipe Massa hair around a specially-constructed course in Warsaw, according to website www. formula1.com. “It’s incredible to be here in Warsaw for the first time and to be able to show local fans the magic of Formula One,” said Massa. "It’s been really good fun. There aren’t many street circuits on the Formula One calendar but we go to Monaco next week so it’s great that Shell has been able to create some of that special feeling here ahead of the race.” The course included two chicanes and two hair-pin corners.
Polonia Warszawa going down
Ekstraklasa football club Polonia Warszawa will be demoted for next season, announced the Polish Football Association (PZPN), according to Agence France Presse. The club is in arrears with salaries and national insurance payments for its employers and has failed to provide PZPN with a credible financial rescue plan. Polonia Warszawa was founded in 1911 and has won the top Polish league – currently Ekstraklasa – twice, in 1946 and in 2000.
10 By Hanna Kozłowska,
Associate Editor of Poland Today
photos: Tomasz Sikora (Forum), Polish Institute of National Remembrance, Yury Minaev , Tobias Johansson
Remember how you learned to be a ruthless capitalist using a small Scottie dog, top hat or race-car serving as your proxy? Now that you've surely used those skills in real life to acquire Central Park condominiums, you can imagine “shopping” in an entirely different economic system. “The Queue” (“Kolejka”), a twisted version of Monopoly that shows the realities of living in socialist Poland, has tion. According to Gazeta Wyborcza, been a smash success in the country for their typical attributes include a white two years now. It recently gained interToyota Auris, an iPhone and a flat in national fame, making the front page of a gated apartment complex. Lemmings the Wall Street Journal. are often juxtaposed to freelancing, “The Queue” was published by the bar-hopping, fixed-gear-bike-riding Institute of National Remembrance hipsters. The only accessory they share (IPN), a state-run agency known for its is a Starbucks latte. role in investigating former communist officials, informants and members of the Słoik – Eng. “Jar” secret police. When it first became popular, parents buying it for their children Soon enough, a trio of overlapping got to relive Communist-era memories Jars and Lemmings: By far Poland’s jars, the winning project of “A Neon for most prosperous by, well, queuing to buy “The Queue.” Warsaw”, will be glowing over Poland's A big city glossary city, Warsaw has The premise is simple: you have to capital. Confused? According to the risen from the ashes go shopping. Not for hotels on Madison Not quite slang, not quite a collection “Warsaw Jar” website (sloiki.waw.pl), of a derelict city destroyed during WWII, Avenue or Park Lane, but for tea, shoes of new insults, there's some new vocab- though contentious, the basic definito become a regional or bread. You can't just throw around ulary in town. tion of a “jar” is “a person who lives in leader in the office multi-coloured bills to get what you Warsaw, while their parents live elseand residential marwant howether you line up in front of Leming – Eng. “Lemming" where.” Warsaw, in fact, is a city of “jars,” kets, as well as the country’s financial a store waiting for the delivery of a few with the majority of residents born outhub. see page 26 scarce products. If you have a “mother A Polish lemming is a far cry from side the capital. The term has its origins with child” queuing card, you can move the tiny fuzzball of cuteness found in in the money-saving habits of students up in line. The game is best played with the tundra – it’s basically a yuppie. who go home for the weekends and several generations of participants – A lemming slaves away at a corpora- bring back food in jars. What probably adults can lend it some credibility with tion, always blindly supports Platforma started as a derogatory online descriptheir real life experiences of queuing for Obywatelska (Civic Platform) and tion created by Warsaw natives went toilet paper. It is now also available in only consumes mainstream media viral and was embraced by some “jars”. six languages, including Spanish and - a lemming will “eat up” anything he or Many still see it as an insult however, Japanese. A fun activity and realistic she is served. The term is a favourite an expression of the age-old conflict educational tool – definitely a better among right-wing media and politi- between the in-group and out-group. As representation of Communist-era shop- cians. It stems from the mythical notion they wait for the neon monument, “jars” ping than Monopoly is of the New York that actual lemmings often commit already have a song dedicated to them real estate market – “The Queue” won mass suicide, following the herd off by the band “Big Cyc”. They sing: “shut Game of The Year in 2012. cliffs and into the sea during migra- tight in their jars lies their entire life.”
1 May: Guitar
players convened in WrocĹ‚aw's main square for the 2013 edition of the annual Guitar Guinness Record Festival to simultaneously jam to the Jimi Hendrix classic 'Hey Joe'. Though this year's event didn't quite manage to beat last year's record, which stands at 7,273 synchronised players, it still attracted an impressive 5,734 enthusiastic strummers from around Poland and around the world.
BartĹ‚omiej Kudowicz (Forum)
Skłodowska would be proud Ten young, talented women bringing gender parity in Poland that much closer to reality
There's a new generation of Polish women ready to take up the torch from trailblazers such as Irena Eris, Henryka Bochniarz or Krystyna Janda. In this issue we profile ten of them. Hanna Kozłowska
is a Polish-American journalist and Associate Editor of Poland Today. She occasionally helps the New York Times in Poland. She has also blogged for the Huffington Post and natemat.pl. Hanna graduated from Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania.
We have a kiteboarder, an actress, a writer, an online entrepreneur, a photographer, a scientist, an NGO founder, a CEO, a fitness guru and an economist. Aged between 19 and 35, these ladies are both successful and up-and-coming: they're trailblazers, winners and leaders. Several of them, including the youngest ones, have received international acclaim – a world championship, a World Press Photo award, an appearance at the Sundance film festival. Others are clearing the path for women in typically male-dominated areas – Kamila Sidor bringing together women who are proud of their IT geekiness, Izabella Łukomska-Pyżalska calling out the old boys of the football business. Some of our women are well-known, others are less so. Some are controversial, others are universally revered. In their own way, all of them are inspirational. Scientist Monika Koperska, with her mission to bring back paper, made us want to stop typing, scrap the computer and grab a quill and piece of parchment. A video where kiteboarder Karolina Winkowska shows off her tricks in South Africa made our jaws drop. The choice was tough, especially in the field of arts and entertainment. In many areas, young women in Poland are where it is all happening. Sadly, there's one crucial field of which they still steer clear – politics. As more and more women come to positions of power all around the world, we hope that Poland's new generation follows suit. But today, we focus on those who lead in their fields. We hope we haven’t jinxed them, and we wish them the best.
by Hanna Kozłowska
Poland’s first woman Prime Minister was
Hanna Suchocka, who served between 11 July 1992 and 26 October 1993 under the presidency of Lech Wałęsa. Her cabinet contained no other women. She remains the only woman to have served in one of the two senior positions, President or Prime Minister.
If you're an amateur actress and your debut gets an award at the Berlin International Film Festival and the next film you star in goes to Sundance, you must be doing something right. And that would be wearing rabbit ears? The bunny headshot sent by MMS and a quick callback were enough to get Magdalena Berus, 19, cast as Natalia, a teenage mother in the gritty “Baby Blues.” She made an impression, and just a month after they finished shooting, director Jacek Borcuch chose her for the role of Karina, a young lover in his dark and ethereal “Lasting” (“Nieulotne”). She stars opposite Jakub Gierszał, another hot new name in the industry. In April, the youngest of our rising stars received an OFF Plus Camera award for her role. After a whirlwind debut, Berus, who is from Ruda Śląska in southern Poland, went to New York, where she is attending a three-month intensive acting course. She told “Male Men” magazine that she gives herself five years to become a successful actress. “Do you know how old I'll be then? 24. And everything will still be before me.”
15 photos: Łukasz Gagulski (Forum), Marek Wiśniewski, Adam Golec, Krzysztof Kuczyk (Forum)
Maja Goettig In 2009, Maja Goettig, then 29, was named “the most influential woman in the Polish economy” by the daily business newspaper Puls Biznesu. At the time, she was the Chief Economist of BPH Bank and she earned the title with her insightful, widely cited and highly regarded commentary on the Polish economy. Today, she is the Chief Economist and Central Eastern Europe Strategist at KBC Securities and a Business Index Expert at the Polish Confederation of Private Employers Lewiatan (PKPP Lewiatan). Already an authority in the banking sector, Goettig is also venturing into the world of governmental politics. She was speculated to become the Deputy Minister of Finance when the position was vacated. Several of the most revered Polish economic minds supported the candidacy – Professor Witold Orłowski told Puls Biznesu that, “She's proved herself as an analyst and manager.” Ryszard Petru of PwC emphasized her enthusiastic approach. Though she did not join the ministry, this University of Sussex graduate became part of the Prime Minister's Economic Council.
With her animated hand gestures, modulated voice and captivating energy, Monika Koperska on stage at the Copernicus Centre in Warsaw seems more like a poet participating in a slam than a scientist giving a presentation of her research. The petite redhead is the winner of the 2012 Polish edition of FameLab, and the first runner-up in the international edition of the competition. During a FameLab showdown, young scientists have to convincingly present their research or area of interest in less than three minutes to a layman audience. Koperska, 27, won with her passion for... paper, a controversial choice in the digital age. In her enthusiastic presentation, available online, she tosses away a CD and USB drive, arguing that paper is the most permanent way of preserving information. She's a conservation chemist, but she likes to call herself a “spectroscopist.” She ages various materials to determine, with the help of a spectroscope, the most effective way of conserving them. A doctoral candidate at the Jagiellonian University, her research focuses on the self-destruction of silk using the example of 16th and 17th century banners from the Wawel Royal Castle. When she's not dealing with the physical degradation of our material culture and promoting science, she takes on various leadership roles, such as heading the Association of Doctoral Candidates at her university.
Kamila Sidor Entrepreneur, community organizer, investor, CEO – though she may not be making millions at the moment, 29-yearold Kamila Sidor's CV is more than impressive. After supporting her partner for three years as he was working on an online app project, it is now her turn to shine. She left her corporate job and is now devoting herself to a group she founded – Geek Girls Carrots. The unusually-named organization is a platform for women interested in the information technology business. The group meets monthly in eight Polish cities, and is constantly growing. Aside from the two customary lectures, the most important element of the meetings is networking. Teams are assembled, projects are conceived – with business leaders, programmers, graphic designers. All women. Why “carrots?” According to Sidor, women try to avoid pizza, the staple meal of an IT geek. Prior to GGC, Sidor, a short-haired blonde behind thick-rimmed glasses, organized the first Polish Startup Weekend. A startup investor herself, Sidor is not educated in computer sciences, but in marketing, making her the perfect online entrepreneur.
In the mid-1970’s,
nearly half of the Polish workforce was made up of women. On a purely statistical basis, Poland offered women more opportunities. However the socialist system also uniformly excluded women from the highest levels of economic and political power.
According to Eurostat, in 2009 35%
The FITNESS GURU
Once viewed as a backward nation
characterized by dilapidated infrastructure, bad food and the overbearing presence of grey concrete, EU accession, increased tourism and the knock on effects of Poland’s co-hosting of EURO 2012 have helped to transform the country’s image in foreign eyes. See page 20
“Some words are too serious to be uttered, you can only turn them around in your mouth and spit out the chewedon pieces.” Dominika Dymińska's “Mięso” (“Meat”) is last year's loudest and most controversial literary debut. Taking the voice of her teenage self, Dymińska, 22, writes about a young girl's insecurities, body image issues, sexual experiences and escapades. But as journalist and critic Karolina Sulej writes, “Meat” is not a slightly scandalous diary of a pubescent teenager, as some critics maintain. “The title's meat is not the story she tells, but the language. She scrutinizes the Polish language in a manner unseen since the debut of Masłowska [Dorota, arguably the most important female writer of the last decade]. Coolly and attentively.” Dymińska's writing is sometimes naïve, but it is also visceral, unapologetic, as is she. A true renaissance woman, the writer is studying linguistics at the University of Warsaw, hoping to become a consecutive translator in order to be able to pay for the upkeep of her horses. She competes in the equestrian discipline of eventing and is also a culinary blogger.
“I know you can do it, Fight on!” Even if it’s through a shaky, grainy YouTube video, Ewa Chodakowska, the 31-year old "trainer of all Polish women,” is talking directly to you. The lean, longhaired 21st century Jane Fonda has acquired a cultish following in just a little over a year. Her Warsaw classes are booked months in advance and her The Photographer Facebook page has nearly 330,000 followers. Women motivate each other, Ilona Szwarc showing off their progress in losing excess weight with “before” and “after” A thin, slightly pale adolescent girl is photos. Chodakowska became popu- covering with her long slender fingers lar after releasing three exercise DVDs the eyes of a doll with blonde hair simiand occasionally appearing on TVP2. lar to her owner's. The photograph, The routines were posted on YouTube or rather its author, Ilona Szwarc, is the by fans, making it possible for anyone recipient of the prestigious World Press to exercise at home, with no one watch- Photo award, 3rd prize in the category ing as their face gets red and splotchy. of “Observed Portrait.” It's a part of a The fitness star shows no signs of slow- series called “American Girls,” where ing. She just got her own segment on Szwarc photographs young girls with “Dzień Dobry TVN,” a popular morning their dolls, custom-made to resemble TV show, and her new book is flying their owner. Szwarc is a Polish phooff the shelves. Chodakowska's suc- tographer based in New York City. In cess is largely based on her image and her work, she explores the themes of motivational approach. There is noth- identity, gender and beauty through ing revolutionary in her method – it's a the lens of American culture. Szwarc, combination of high-energy exercises, though only 28, is an acclaimed reportwith emphasis on core-strengthening age photographer with many prizes to and breathing. More pilates than aero- her name and has been published in bics, it is extremely taxing. But as you're The New York Times Magazine, TIME crying from exhaustion, Chodakowska and The New Yorker. She's had two solo is sweating along with you – you can exhibitions in France, and one comactually see her perfectly-sculpted abs ing up in New York. Her most recent glistening in the stark lighting of the project is a series of candid portraits industrial studio. of her mother-in-law, also a Polish lady in New York.
photos: Jan Rolke (Forum), Maciej Biedrzycki (Forum), Ilona Szwarc's archive
of entrepreneurs in Poland were women. The highest levels in Europe were in Portugal (40.35%), Lithuania (37.5%), Latvia (36.5%) and Austria (35.2%), with the lowest levels recorded in Malta (17,0%) and Ireland (18,7%). Globally, the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs was found in Thailand with 45.5%.
As many European nations continue to slash military budgets, Poland’s armed forces will see a more than 6% rise in funding this year, making it one of only five NATO countries to meet the organisation’s military spending targets. See page 24
The NGO Founder
One of our ten heroines is there to protect you. Specifically, to shield you from the watchful eye of Big Brother. Katarzyna Szymielewicz, 32, is the founder and head of the Panoptykon Foundation, a human rights NGO specializing in the right to privacy. In a world where modern technologies enable constant and pervasive surveillance, Panoptykon aims to monitor organizations whose actions infringe upon an individual's right to control the access to their personal information. Szymielewicz and her foundation were instrumental in convincing Polish politicians to retract their support for the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA). The legislation, which would have, among other things, facilitated the surveillance of online activity and restricted access to content, eventually failed to pass in the European Parliament. Panoptykon's initiatives also include efforts to regulate CCTV monitoring or reform European laws on the protection of personal information. Szymielewicz, following perhaps a typical path in the NGO sector, first worked as a corporate lawyer, got a second degree abroad (in Development Studies at the University of London), before finding her calling by starting Panoptykon. She is also the VicePresident of European Digital Rights and an advisor to the Polish Minister for Administration and Digitalisation.
Repeatedly referred to as “the girl from naked photos”, Izabella ŁukomskaPyżalska, virtually the only woman in the very male-dominated world of football, and an attractive former model for that matter, doesn't have it easy. The slender blonde is the CEO of Warta Poznań, the oldest major football club in the Polish league. ŁukomskaPyżalska, 35, took over Warta Poznań in 2011 when the club was on the verge of bankruptcy and demotion to a lower league. Despite her many efforts to turn things around, with no help from the city, the club is still in trouble. But she is not giving up, intently searching for sponsors. Łukomska-Pyżalska, whose modeling career included a spread for Playboy, was also well on her way to becoming the first woman to lead the Polish Football Association (PZPN), but her candidacy was dismissed last-minute, unofficially due to a spat between the delegates and her husband. She remains in the association in the department of women's football, of which she is a big supporter. The Female Entrepreneur of 2012 started her first company, a modeling agency she owns to this day, when she was 21. Along with her husband and father-in-law she also runs a successful construction firm called “Family House”. ŁukomskaPyżalska is a mother of three and popular blogger.
photos: Adelajda Kołodziejska, Krzysztof Jarosz (Forum), Karolina Winkowska's archive
Karolina Winkowska As Karolina Winkowska's board quickly skims the surface of the water, her archshaped kite pulls her up several metres above the waves. She twists, turns, grabs, flips and calmly lands as if it were the easiest thing in the world. At 22, the kiteboarder is probably one of the most decorated women in Polish sport, and one of the most under-appreciated. As the entire country was glued to their TVs watching a flailing and failing national football team, Winkowska quickly made her way to the top in her sport. She switched from windsurfing (skiing and snowboarding in the winter) to competitive freestyle kiteboarding after the summer of 2004. Just three years later, at 17, she made top three in the world. She has stayed there ever since. Despite some serious injuries in 2011, she claimed a well-earned World Championship the following year. Hailing from Warsaw, a four-hour drive from the seaside, the five-time Polish champion now spends her year traveling from beach to beach, including in Morocco, the Canary Islands, Brazil, South Africa and France.
20 To Hel and back leader
How concerted efforts to woo tourists are turning Poland into a vacation destination
Twenty-five years ago this
Philip Boyes, who
is half Polish and half British, has written speeches, sometimes on the back of restaurant napkins, for presidents, prime ministers and congressmen. A former Reuters journalist, his work has been published in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. Philip is a graduate of the London School of Economics and King‘s College London.
summer, American author P.J. O'Rourke published a widely acclaimed tongue-incheek travel book titled ‘Holidays in Hell’ featuring a scathing account of his visit to Poland. The New York-based writer painted a picture of Poland covered by a film of dry grit and polluted by diesel stink and coal smoke. O’Rouke’s impression of the country was by and large defined by bad concrete: “from bumpy landing to bumpy take-off everything is made of it.” Even, O’Rourke cruelly joked, Polish food. Written during the death-throes of Communism, O’Rourke’s reportage touched a nerve, putting off many would-be visitors to Poland. There is no doubt that Poland has come a long way since those dark days. The question is thus: two and a half decades later, how does Poland today compare to the country O’Rourke visited in the 1980s? Would O’Rourke, a born sceptic, now be convinced of Poland’s attraction as a tourist destination?
A changing landscape As a child visiting relatives in Warsaw, I was always struck by the anaemic tints of Poland’s urban landscapes. Compared to London and Berlin, where I grew up in the 1990s, Warsaw’s dilapidated trams and cramped currency exchanges smelling of cheap cologne were distinctly familiar to me yet at the same time excitingly exotic. There was a certain charm to Warsaw’s greyness, not unlike the setting of a Graham Greene novel, just without the cholera and mosquitoes. This was also true of the Berlin-Warszawa Express, a train that I’ve taken over 250 times and counting. Over the years, I have seen the train change along with Poland itself. In earlier days the train’s compartments were crammed with Poles travelling to West Berlin to work as cleaners and waiters. On the way back they would stack car accessories and electrical components in the luggage racks. As the Germans stayed huddled in the one first class carriage, Polish smugglers would crowd out the buffet car, knocking back lukewarm vodka shots. There was a sense of desperation about the ride: the seats were lumpy, the ventilation coughing and the windowpanes in dire need of a scrub. In the 1980s, Lech Wałęsa is quoted as having said, “if the borders of Poland are ever opened, will the last person out please turn off the lights and close the windows." Since then, Communism crumbled, Poland joined the European Union and the country’s borders are the most open they have ever been. Millions of Poles did indeed choose to leave the country in search of more lucrative opportunities following EU accession in 2004, but many have since boomeranged back.
Tourism takes off Poland has in recent years managed to forge a reputation as an attractive tourist destination. Last year the United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation ranked Poland as the 19th most visited country in the world by foreign tourists. Just below Canada. According to the Warsaw-based Institute of Tourism, 14.8 m tourists visited Poland in 2012 – an 11% increase on the previous year when tourists spent close to $6 billion in the country. How has Poland managed to pull this off? It is in large part a result of smart strategic planning and careful co-ordination by the Polish government and the ministries of
Tourists on a beach at the Hel
Peninsula, a 35-kmlong sand bar on the Baltic Coast separating the Bay of Puck from the open sea.
Perception of Poland abroad Both EU accession in 2004 and the success-
ful hosting of the European football championships last year did a lot to improve Poland’s image abroad. A public opinion poll conducted by the PBS market research agency in Polish host cities showed that as many as 80% of Euro 2012 visitors are eager to come back in the future. The large majority of those polled emphasized that they found Poles very welcoming. Guests from abroad were also positively surprised by Polish infrastructure and public transport: Polish railways were especially praised (by 79% of respondents). Last year Poland made it into the Top 30 of Monocle magazine’s soft power index based on countries’ culture, policies and institutions. This is an impressive accomplishment considering that less than two decades ago post-Communist Poland was still teetering on the edge of Europe, recovering from decades of chronic domestic mismanagement and international invisibility. Joining the European Union helped put Poland back on track. Since joining the EU, millions of Poles have taken advantage of visa-free travel to seek opportunities abroad, many of them in the United Kingdom. Earlier this year data released by the Office for National Statistics showed that 546,000 people speak Polish in England and Wales, making it the country’s second most-spoken language after English. As a result, for many Europeans “Polish” has become a brand signifying hard work, comparable to “French chefs” and “German engineers.” This is in stark contrast to the welcome handed out to the 150,000 Poles who moved to Britain after 1945. Many have bitter memories of prejudice, such as signs in the 1950s reading “No Irish, No Blacks, No Poles.” Since then, although perception of Poland and Poles has radically improved, media stereotyping and prejudice (sometimes dubbed “polonophobia”) have not entirely disappeared. In Germany, the media tone towards Poles has improved substantially in recent years. Gone are the days when the German mass media would depict their eastern neighbours as car thieves and petty criminals. Now, polls show that over 70% of young Germans have a positive perception of Poles.
photo: ﾅ「kasz Dejnarowicz (Forum)
photo: Jan Włodarczyk (Forum)
The picturesque Gąsienicowa Valley in the Tatras, the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains.
Tourism and Foreign Affairs over the last six years. In addition to boosting the scope – and coffers – of the Polish National Tourist Office, active efforts were made to piece together a comprehensive public diplomacy strategy that would be responsible for rebranding and repositioning Poland in the international community. These changes were institutionalized in 2008 when the department of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs responsible for promotion of the country abroad was renamed the Department of Public and Cultural Diplomacy. Successful public diplomacy coups include the Chopin Year in 2010, which celebrated the bicentennial of the composer’s birth, Poland's Presidency of the EU Council in 2011 and, of course, the Euro 2012 football tournament co-hosted by Poland last year. Last year more than 670,000 European fans flooded Polish stadiums and almost 2.5 million foreigners crammed into sweaty fan zones across Poland. The Polish Ministry of Tourism estimate that visiting fans and tourists spent an estimated 1.1bn zł during the tournament – much more than predicted. Many of the fans came to Poland on the Berlin-Warszawa Express, which had been given a major facelift. The smugglers have since been replaced by passengers playing with iPads and young couples going to Poland for a romantic
weekend break. Instead of lukewarm żurek soup and greasy pierogis, the menu in the restaurant car now reads like a list of Italian music festivals: piada San Marino, pizza Rimini, penne San Remo. Arriving at Warsaw’s Central Station, newcomers would stare at the massive banner wrapped round the entire station, reading “Feel Like at Home.” Despite the clumsy grammar, the message was clear: unlike the gloomy country O’Rourke visited over two decades ago, the Poland of today is eager to embrace Europe, eager to please.
Changing views The tournament helped change how Europeans see Poland. A poll taken just after the final game showed that over 80% of Euro 2012 visitors said they would want to return to Poland in the next three years. Over 90% of those polled said they would recommend visiting Poland to their friends. This has nudged both business and political leaders to, perhaps optimistically, predict a spike in the number of annual tourists by up to half a million by the end of 2013. Poland’s geography and climate mean that unlike southern European countries it cannot promise consistent sunshine and blue skies to potential tourists. It can, however, offer breath-taking nature reserves and scenic landscapes:
Branding of Poland It was only a few years ago that the ac-
claimed policy specialist Eugeniusz Smolar complained that European leaders treated Poland as their “second class cousins.” This is no longer the case. In the last few years, Poland has started to shift from a naïve satisfaction at belonging to a western club, to being a co-shaper of policy. This gradual shift has also changed the tone of Polish foreign policy and public diplomacy efforts. However this metamorphosis is not yet as complete as has been portrayed by Poland’s leaders. Prestige is important, but it should not be an end in itself. Poland needs to continue pushing ahead with its public diplomacy efforts, but it also needs to start translating its newly gained prestige into concrete policy gains.
‘In the next few months, the Polish Ministry of Tourism will launch their biggest ever promotional campaign aimed at the Asian market’
Poland’s strategic communication and branding strategy also needs to be more flexible, and less focused around events. Focusing exclusively on big events – such as the EU Presidency or EURO 2012 football tournament – is an inefficient use of energy. An effective branding strategy needs to be constantly evolving and must be embraced by the nation’s citizens. Unlike branding a company, branding a country takes time – often decades. Poland’s brand, although already impressive, is still a work in progress.
be it the Masurian Lake District, Baltic Sea coast, Tatra Mountains (the highest mountain range of Carpathians), or the Białowieża Forest which straddles the border between Belarus and Poland and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Polish part of the Białowieża Forest is home to 800 European bison and attracts over 200,000 tourists each year, from Poland and beyond. By preserving and promoting areas such as the Białowieża Forest and the Masurian Lake District, Poland has managed over time to showcase its natural beauty and dispel the idea that the country is all concrete and Communism. The largest group of tourists visiting Poland are Germans (over 3.5 million last year) followed by the British (780,000), Italians (470,00) and Russians (460,000). While many Germans making the short trip over to Poland are looking for cheap cigarettes and a change of scenery, an increasing number are searching for their roots. According to local press reports Germans make up more than a quarter of travel agency clientele in the Opole Voivodeship. The majority of them are looking to discover where their ancestors lived – the region belonged to Germany for several centuries. Tourism connected to monumental historical events, such as the Holocaust, continues to attract millions of tourists every year. Visits to former Nazi concentration camps such
photo: Daniel Pach (Forum)
How can this be done? First, more honesty. Honesty about what Poland is, but also about what it is not. In the early 1990s, Lech Wałęsa, spoke of his dream of Poland becoming a second Japan. When Donald Tusk campaigned in the 2007 parliamentary elections, he spoke of his desire for Poland to become the second Ireland. This large appetite for imitation has rarely played out in Poland’s interest as successful nation branding cannot come in a one-size-fit-all type of PR package. It takes far more to brand a nation than a one-off advertising campaign. In recent years Poland’s leaders have started to understand that true branding of a nation is the product of a united co-operative effort by various governmental agencies.
as Auschwitz or to what is left of the Warsaw Ghetto are common among tourists and school groups alike. Jewish life in Kraków, nearly extinguished by the Nazis, was driven underground in the communist era. Now a Jewish revival of sorts is starting to draw in more tourists – some out of sentimental reasons, others purely out of curiosity. In Kazimierz, once the Jewish heart of Kraków, there are restaurants with Hebrew lettering, and klezmer music can be heard in narrow back alleys. Once a year the quarter hosts a Jewish Festival attracting up to 13,000 visitors. The large increase in the number of Russians – up 18% compared to three years ago – is largely due to shopping and transit tourism. Gone are the days when O’Rourke could walk around the three main department stores on Warsaw’s main Marszalkowska Street and complain that everything was made of “imitation polyester.”
What’s next? Poland’s tourism sector is still expanding and new areas of expansion have already been identified. In the next few months, the Polish Ministry of Tourism will launch their biggest ever promotional campaign aimed at the Asian market. Worth 50m zł, the initiative hopes to attract more tourists from China, India and Japan. Medical tourism has also been earmarked as a priority sector by the Polish Ministry of Economy. Poland is already a popular medical tourism destination for patients seeking dental treatment, cosmetic surgery and aesthetic treatment: last year over 300,000 foreign patients spent around €200m on health-related tourism. Sector specialists estimate the potential growth at up to 20% growth per year. Poland, a Holiday in Hell? No, not at all. But it could be a Holiday on the Hel peninsula, one of the finest stretches of sand on the Baltic. Just one of the many corners of the country undiscovered by Western tourists. by Philip Boyes
The charming medieval city of Toruń, one
of the oldest cities in Poland, is the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus.
24 Armed and ready defence
A significant increase in defence spending promises sweeping changes to Poland’s aging armed forces
The armed forces have
long been at the heart of much of what is Poland. Be they the winged hussars at Vienna, cavalry sweeping the Red Army away from the gates of Warsaw or pilots downing the Luftwaffe over the fields of Britain, Poles in arms are deeply ingrained in Polish history and culture. But away from the romance of history, Poland’s current armed forces are undergoing sweeping changes more reflective of the nitty-gritty reality of 21st-Century politics and a country determined to assert itself as a European power than the aurora of cavalry sabres and Pilsudski’s Legions. At a time when the chill winds of austerity and recession have led to many European countries taking the axe to their defence budgets Poland is one of the few doing the opposite.
covers Central Europe for the UK’s The Telegraph, while also writing on Central and Eastern European affairs for The Scotsman. He has reported on major events such as the 2010 Smolensk disaster and Poland’s recent presidency of the EU. He first came to Central Europe in 1992 as an English and history teacher.
(PolSoCom) soldiers during MOUT training (military operation in urban terrain). By 2014 Poland is to become one of the few NATO frame nations with a certified ability to lead joint multinational allied special operations.
Over the last 10 years some 30% of Poland's 100,000 troops have gained combat experience on foreign deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
photos: Wojciech Barczyński (Forum), Zakład Konstrukcji Specjalnych Instytutu Techniki Uzbrojenia Wydziału Mechatroniki WAT
Polish Special Operations Command
Reinforcing the pillars of Polish defence policy This year defence spending will increase by 6.7 % to 31.17 bn zł, with some 10 bn zł earmarked for new equipment to replace, in some cases, Poland’s seriously aging military hardware. The commitment to spend makes Poland one of only five NATO countries to meet the organisation’s unofficial requirement to spend at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence. In the meantime some of Poland’s neighbours in Central Europe are slashing budgets to such an extreme that the military top brass are beginning to fear that they will soon command nothing more than a local militia. Much of Poland’s money will go towards reinforcing the three pillars of Polish defence policy that have been the country’s priorities for most of the post-Cold-War years: the EU, Nato and bi-lateral ties with the United States. The trio have provided both the framework and goals as Poland slowly transformed its armed forces from a Warsaw Pact power intended for continental warfare into a smaller but—so the planners hope—potent force. Another reason for spending is that some of current military hardware has long past its use-by date. Wojciech Łuczak, a defence expert and publisher of the defence magazine Raport, says that in particular the “navy needs urgent investment because there will be
a dramatic situation if nothing is done.” Along with helping the navy stay afloat, the government has also earmarked money to spend on new artillery systems, tanks, general-purpose helicopters and advanced jet training aircraft.
Boosting credibility But at the same time, Poland’s willingness to spend on war machines appears influenced by the shifting sands of international politics and economics. “At the moment there are a lot voices in Poland expressing concern over European defence,” said Jacek Durkalec, a defence analyst at the Polish Institute of International Affairs. “Other EU countries are cutting defence budgets, and are not really pulling their weight. Europe will lose influence at a time when it may well have to do more because of the US being involved in other areas such as Asia. “Polish credibility in defence is a sign to our allies that they should be doing the same and not cutting or losing their military capabilities,” he added. In a way this desire to lead by example, to fulfil and stand by its commitments, also stems from the hard lessons of history. Poles point to the events of 1939 when Poland’s allies failed, they say, to remain true to their word and by doing so left the country to fight alone. The historical lesson, therefore, is to support an alliance and make sure you have the military capability to do so. It also helps to make sure your allies show their support with something tangible other than just pieces of paper.
future standard weapon system of the polish army
MSBS-5,56 is an assault rifle currently under
development for the Polish army. The rifle has two basic variants based on a common upper receiver and exchangeable modules: a bullpup version and a standard version with a folding, retractable stock. Thanks to the variety of modules, both variants are able to be easily transformed into a carbine, sniper rifle or squad light machine gun. The rifle is chambered with standard 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition. A 40mm underbarel grenade launcher is also part of the weapon system. The rifle has been under development since 2007 by the Military Technology University in Warsaw, in cooperation with FB Radom manufacturer. The modular and ergonomic setup was conceived by a separate team comprised of Adam Gawron, Bartosz Stefaniak (Poland Today's creative director), Grzegorz Misiołek, and Maciej Sajdak, working alongside mechanical engineers. The weapon system is set to enter serial production at Radom-based Fabryka Broni and enter service by the end of 2015.
security of ‘presence’. While the past has an undoubted influence, Poland’s leaders have also sought to promote a policy of expeditionary warfare; giving the country’s armed forces the capability to operate in foreign fields, something quite new for the Polish military. Poles fought in Iraq and took on an abrasive stint in Afghanistan, despite widespread misgivings in the Polish population over the operation, when other European allies opted for the more peaceful “nation-building” option. On top of this Polish troops have had a long presence in the Balkans as peacekeepers. Polish politicians claim much of the Choosing allies with care reason behind the foreign deployments “We have to be very careful about our lies with the need to stand by Poland’s allies, which is why Poland has always allies in adversity, remaining true sought visible assurances and not just to Nato commitments and fostering written ones,” commented Durkalec. closer military co-operation in Europe. “We need a demonstration of some- But underlying it is also the desire thing being put into practice. Solidarity to get Poland dining at the same table makes a difference.” as the important powers. Prove that missile shield due to be located on Polish This has led to the Polish government you are a willing ally, with a capable mili- soil, and they started to stress the need encouraging the deployment of US air- tary at your disposal and, the logic goes, to revamp and upgrade Poland’s aging force aircraft and ground troops to man then your voice will not only be heard missile defence. “President Komorowski a Patriot missile system on Polish soil in the corridors of power but it will is leading the way with the opinion that despite the rumblings of discontent in also get louder. “There is a recognition national defence has a priority over Russia about the stationing of foreign in Poland that strengthening our capa- foreign intervention and expeditionary troops in an area it has long regarded bilities makes our position in Europe and warfare,” commented Łuczak. “This is at its backyard. The Patriots are not Nato that bit stronger,” said Durkalec. his doctrine: the ‘Komorowski Doctrine’.” armed but just the American presence Foreign wars have changed Polish In April the president signed a bill has given the government long desired defence spending, policy and plan- committing 4-5% of Poland’s defenning but at the same time the cause of ce budget to the development of a defending the motherland has, instead national missile defence programme. defence budget of receding into the background, grown The system, designed to be mobile and in prominence. flexible, will also be part of Nato and According to the Stockholm International US systems rather than operating as an Peace Research Institute, Poland’s 2002 miliKomorowski leading the cause independent deterrent. All the spendtary expenditures, measured in constant USD (2010), were equal to the combined defense Traditional Polish concerns over Russia ing should maintain the armed forces’ spending of Czech Republic, Slovakia and have been mixed in recent years with place in the Polish national consciousHungary. Currently, Poland’s defense budget misgivings over certain allies’ commit- ness. But whether Poles will tolerate the is more than two and a half times larger than the combined budgets of those countries. ment to the country’s defence. Polish large sums being spent on weapons at a Poland is to spend 43 bn USD on military leaders were left rather nonplussed time when other budgets feel the pinch equipment purchases until 2022. when the US cancelled a contentious remains to be seen. by Matthew Day
‘Poland’s willingness to spend on war machines appears influenced by the shifting sands of international politics and economics’ The MSBS-5,56 weapon system
is part of a larger R&D programme called Individual Battlesystem Tytan held by the Polish industry. Its aim is to supply each Polish soldier with a complete set comprising a new weapon platform, state of the art optoelectronics, live streaming multimedia communication means, an online navigation system, health monitoring system, new uniforms, webbing and ballistic protection.
Primetime Warsaw conference
Warsaw on the brink of a renaissance Having once again proven its resiliance, the Polish capital is poised to take its place amongst the ranks of Europe’s elite cities. As the war
that left Warsaw a smoking charnel house of ruins and 45 years of ham-handed communist rule recede into the historical distance, the legacy of the 20th century continues to haunt the Polish capital as it tries to work out just what kind of a city it should be in the future. “Warsaw has a chance to enter the top ranks of European capitals,” Jerzy Buzek, a former prime minister and European Parliament president, said at a Primetime Warsaw conference hosted by Poland Today that looked at Warsaw’s development prospects. The ambition is palpable in the capital of the EU's fastest growing country – one which saw its economy expand by 15.7% from 2008 to 2011, a time during which the European Union's gross domestic product shrank by 0.6%. “This is a remarkable time for Warsaw – we haven't had a time like this for centuries,” said Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Warsaw's mayor.
photo: Paweł Toczyński (Forum)
A rags to riches tale There is no doubt that both Poland and Warsaw have made enormous strides in the 24 years since communist rule ended. In 1989, Warsaw was a grey and dirty city, polluted by industrial plants not far from the city centre, its architecture blighted by concrete housing estates in neighbourhoods like Ursynów and Praga, no highway connection to the outside world and its traffic slowed by the occasional horse-drawn cart. Since then Warsaw has been the biggest beneficiary of Poland's remarkable return to Europe. It is by far the most prosperous city in the country – Mazowsze, the region that contains Warsaw - recently hit 102% of the EU average GDP per capita, the only Polish region to scramble so far up the rankings. “Warsaw has traditionally had growth twice as fast as the country as a whole, and I think that is still going to be the case,” said Gronkiewicz-Waltz, adding that although the Polish capital has recently seen an uptick in unemployment it still has one of the country's lowest jobless rates at only 4.5 per cent. That has put Warsaw far above every other Polish city in terms of wealth and, with a metro and suburban population of about 2.5m, in terms of inhabitants as well. “Warsaw is beyond competing with other Polish cities – we are competing with other major European cities and capitals,” said Gronkiewicz-Waltz. The question for the Polish government is whether to allow Warsaw to dominate the country – in the way that London or Paris loom over their countries – or whether to move in a more German direction and foster regional economic centres. “Poland is going to have to choose between polycentric and monocentric development,” said Buzek. Poland's growing wealth, plus a flood of structural funds coming from the European Union have had a transformative effect on the city. The city is now linked by highway to the German border, although, as Gronkiewicz-Waltz caustically pointed out, Warsaw remains the only Polish city without a single proper on-ramp to get onto that highway.
Onwards and upwards The city centre has been turned into a construction zone for a new east-west subway line running under the Vistula River, and new skyscrapers grace the core of the city, even
though as Piotr Krawczynski, CEO of Kulczyk-Silverstein The second is financing the city’s growth. Olga GrygierProperties, a real estate buyer and developer, noted Warsaw Siddons, the head of PwC Poland, the consultancy, estimated had four tall towers 20 years ago and now only has about that the city needs investment of about 200bn zł through a dozen. Standing by the modern university library and 2035 to fully bring its infrastructure, and especially residenlooking eastwards past the Copernicus science centre, tial housing, up to western European norms. Part of that cash the new Świętokrzyski bridge across the Vistula and on is coming from the European Union. Warsaw has been a big towards the new National Stadium built on the east side of beneficiary of the €68bn in structural funds flowing into the river it is possible to take in a view of en entirely modern the country from 2007-2013 – the city’s second subway line and quite well-designed city. But such sights are still a rarity. is only being built because of financial aid from Brussels. Large patches of Warsaw are still a hodgepodge of styles, Even more money is expected for the next EU budget period, where low-rise town-houses that survived the war jostle which ends in 2020. “The next seven years will be the last big for space with communist-era monstrosities and modern budget for Warsaw,” said Gronkiewicz-Waltz. Properly developing the city involves dealing with issues glass towers. The challenge for the city is to turn itself into a true such as finally covering all of Warsaw with zoning plans European capital, one that manages its growth in sensible – currently 26% of Warsaw has been zoned, up from only 13% ways to make itself a more attractive and liveable city while when Gronkiewicz-Waltz took power in 2006. It also means not squelching the entrepreneurial drive and rawness that creating a vision of what the capital should look like – whether have made it an economic success. Looming over all plan- to focus on high-rise developments in the core of the city, ning efforts is the city's turbulent past, underlined by the or instead to refurbish lower-rise older buildings into modern showing during the conference of a new film Warszawa 1935, residential and office properties. The resources for reshaping a computer-animated short that shows a street-level view the capital will come largely from the private sector. of Warsaw four years before the start of the war that destroyed it. What was striking as the camera rolled along One of Central Europe’s recreated streets, showing Marszałkowska and other down- largest and most bouyant markets town avenues, was that the view was completely unrecognis- Warsaw is one of the largest and most buoyant residential markets in Central Europe, with an average of 12,000 units able to anyone living in Warsaw today. With the exception of the 66m-tall Art Deco Prudential sold every year, and by far the largest and most liquid office building, before the war the second-tallest tower in Europe, market in the CEE. Warsaw has almost 4m square metres which still stands in central Warsaw, almost every other of existing office space, about a quarter of the stock for the building had been wiped from existence first by the German whole CEE region. Last year Warsaw saw 267,000 square bombing campaign of 1939, then by the Warsaw Ghetto metres of completed office space. In the early years of the Uprising of 1943 and finally by the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. post-communist transformation more attractive CEE capitals “We want to rebuild the whole of Warsaw,” said Ernest like Prague and Budapest vied to be the main business hub Rogalski, one of the film's producers, of his goal of making of the region. However, Warsaw’s vibrancy and the size of the Polish economy have made it the leading destination for more films about other parts of the capital. regional corporate headquarters, drivDesigning Warsaw ing the office market in the core of the as palimpsest or clean slate? city. “Warsaw is one of the few places on the continent where you can even This is the task facing the city – how far should it go in trying to recapture a talk about building skyscrapers,” said least a sense of the city it was before the Maciej Zajdel, CEO of IVG Poland, the Polish affiliate of the German fund. war, or if it should simply move rapidly to becoming a modern and well-funcWarsaw is also firmly on the radar tioning city with little historical bagof investors, attracted by risk that is gage. That was the approach favoured similar to western Europe but where the by Lars Christensen, chief economist yields, at about 6.5%, are significantly higher. “Warsaw has less building than with Danske Bank, and a frequent visiin Western Europe, so it has long-term tor to Poland for more than a decade as he has watched Poland's economy potential,” said Tomasz Trzósło, the develop. Christensen admitted that the head of the Polish office of Jones Lang Polish capital was “ugly” but marvelled LaSalle, the real estate consultancy. at its vitality. Warsaw’s uneven development over the last seven decades has left the city The challenges facing the city are enormous. First is Warsaw's fast-rising with enormous possibilities – something population. The wider city may have that can be seen along the Vistula River, as many as 4m people in the next decthe last largely wild river that flows ades. As Józef Wancer, head of the through a European capital. That creAmerican Chamber of Commerce in ates the chance to sensitively develop Poland, noted, Warsaw and Kraków are the riverbank, leaving areas that are the only two Polish cities likely to see still wild and act as anti-flood barriers population growth over the medium to long term. That has while also creating beaches and promenades that would led to American-style sprawl, with bedroom communities bring the city back to the Vistula – in a sense restoring the spreading far beyond the official boundaries of the Polish contact with the river that existed during the inter-war period. capital, often connected by only a few traffic-clogged roads. “This isn’t a project about putting up a few buildings – it’s much The city has had a difficult time coordinating buses and rail more ambitious than that,” said Piotr Stark of Hochtief, the lines with suburban municipalities, as well as building a net- property developer which is building a new project called work of park-and-ride garages to more efficiently ferry com- Copernicus Square not far from the river on the site of an muters into and out of the city. “There is not much thinking abandoned power plant. Rapidly developing Warsaw will about getting people from the sprawl around Warsaw into never look like the city being carefully brought back to life by the centre of the city,” said Michael Dembinski, head of policy Rogalski and his team – but it could be an attractive and wellplanned capital that dominates the region. by Jan Cienski at the British Polish Chamber of Commerce.
‘Warsaw is firmly on the radar of investors, attracted by risk that is similar to western Europe but where the yields, at about 6.5%, are significantly higher’
Jan Cienski is
the Warsaw and Prague correspondent for the Financial Times. He has been in Warsaw since 2003. Prior to that he spent five years as the Washington correspondent for the National Post, a Canadian newspaper. He also spent several years in the US working for the Associated Press. From 1992 to 1995 he worked in Moscow for the German News Agency DPA. Jan has a degree in international relations from the University of Toronto.
Primetime Warsaw conference
Poland's capital riding high
Leading property investors, developers and consultants discussed the prospects for the real estate market in the Polish capital in the upcoming years at the recent Primetime Warsaw conference organized by Poland Today.
Left: Paweł Dębowski from Dentons added a legal perspective to the real estate panel Below: Richard Ste-
phens, Poland Today's publisher and Roman Młodkowski from TVN CNBC
Above: The Mayor
of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, addressed the cameras after her speech
Right: Bogdan Roga-
la of Philips Lighting Poland contributed to the sustainable urban development panel.
Trzaskowski, member of the European Parliament for Warsaw, took part in the keynote panel moderated by Roman Młodkowski from TVN CNBC.
The capital city’s
office market remains relatively robust, with net space absorption amounting to approximately 200,000 sqm in 2012, according to data presented by Tomasz Trzósło, Managing Director at Jones Lang LaSalle. There is still much tenant activity in the market but Piotr Krawczyński, MD at Kulczyk Silverstein Properties, and Waldemar Olbryk, MD at Skanska Property Poland, admitted that there are fears that this
trend will not be sustained for a long time to come. Much of the discussion focused on new office skyscrapers in Warsaw that several developers have announced of late. Maciej Zajdel, MD at IVG Group, stated that the capital is one of just a few cities in Europe in which there is room for many more highrise buildings. In his opinion, however, just three to four new office towers will actually be developed in Warsaw within the next few years, noting that high-rises are very expensive and difficult investments to build. According to Mr Zajdel, what international investors seeking office property in the Polish capital are often interested in and cannot find are mid-sized developments that can be bought for between €10 million to €20 million. Office panellists also noted that a number of areas in Warsaw, including the north of the Polish capital, the Port
Praski and Dolny Mokotów neighbourhoods and the Wilanów district are now increasingly seen as emerging office locations. Paweł Dębowski, Partner and Head of Central Europe Real Estate at Dentons law firm (formerly Salans), brought up the issue of unclear land ownership titles in Warsaw which are often a problem in office transactions. He noted that these days many developers insure their legal titles to property in the city.
Room for smaller-scale retail Discussing prospects for the retail property market in Warsaw, Anna Staniszewska, former Head of Consulting and Research at DTZ, said that the size of the city and the high purchasing power of its population mean that the capital will continue to attract new investments. There is already almost 1.7 m sqm of modern retail space
What is the business environment like in your sector?
Paweł Dębowski, Partner & Head of Central Europe Real Estate, Dentons law firm, about the commercial property sector: There is still a lot of equity and demand
Sztemberg from ECE Projektmanagement (above)
Left: Jerzy Buzek,
former European Parliament President, said he believed that Warsaw could join the top ranks of elite European capitals
for product, and acquisition finance is available at good rates and on good terms. There isn’t a problem there. I believe that this year investors are looking more at the office markets in secondary cities like Wrocław, Kraków, maybe Poznań and maybe Łódż. The market has matured - I wouldn’t call it emerging now. New players are coming up. There is a very visible differentiation between prime properties in the Warsaw central business district and non-Warsaw CBD, and that applies to secondary cities as well.
Olga Drela, research consultant at DTZ property consultancy, about the retail sector: The retail sector is very
dynamic and growing continuously. In the last two years alone - 2011 and 2012 - over 1.2 m sqm of modern retail space was delivered in Poland. The market is now developed and very competitive.
Leszek Sikora, Head of Development Poland for retail centre developer ECE Projektmanagement: We’re dealing
with a maturing market which is increasingly saturated, in some cases even over-saturated if the reference point is the purchasing power of the Polish population. There is a strong interest in prime quality income-producing product, which you can see in transaction prices. Grassroots developments, by which I mean ‘new-to-industry’ projects, are difficult and even some reasonable projects – those which are properly located, well-designed and with strong potential - cannot be launched due to lack of risk-friendly capital if there isn’t any equity to hand.
Tomasz Trzósło, Managing Director, Poland, of Jones Lang LaSalle real estate consultancy, about the office sector:
photos: Piotr Dziubak, Konrad Konstantynowicz
The market continues to provide opportunities across the sectors, although all are significantly more restricted than a couple of years ago. The limitations of the debt markets make it harder for developers to build and projects are less profitable, with the macro-economic slowdown in Europe reducing overall demand. Only developers which are financially strong and have a significant track record can continue to be successful with new projects simply because the market is smaller. For this smaller group of developers the market will continue to produce demand, both on the tenant and investor side, and they can continue to be successful.
Piotr Krawczyński, Managing Director, Member of the Board, Kulczyk Silverstein Properties, about the real estate market in general: It’s still a competitive market for core assets as demon-
strated by the €210 m sale of Warsaw Financial Center (office building) and the €475 m sale of 77% of the shares in Złote Tarasy (shopping centre) to Unibail-Rodamco. However, we are seeing liquidity disappear from the value-add and opportunistic-yielding investments in Poland. We’re finding more opportunity on a risk-adjusted basis in higher yielding assets.
Bogdan Rogala, CEO, Philips Lighting Poland: There’s a strong
focus on innovation and LED solutions as this kind of service can provide real benefits in the longer term. Philips Lighting has a significant footprint in Poland in order to be able to take advantage of the opportunities.
Szanajca of Dom Development speaking on the residential panel of the conference.
in the Warsaw market and a further 315,000 sqm is now under construction, Ms Staniszewska said. She added that there is still room for expansion as some areas of Warsaw evidently lack retail facilities. ECE Projektmanagement Polska, which has already developed a number of shopping malls in the regional Polish cities, is now looking for investment opportunities in Warsaw, said Robert Sztemberg. He added that
ECE Projektmanagement Polska is now looking for land in the Polish capital, with a view to developing a shopping centre project that would comprise at least 40,000 sqm of retail space. Marek Koziarek, head of the commercial real estate finance department of Bank Pekao, said he believed there is also room for small local retail projects in Warsaw with catchment area limited to a particular district, rather than a larger part of the city. During the residential panel, Kazimierz Kirejczyk, President of the Management Board of residential consultancy Reas, pointed to the large number of apartments currently on offer in the Warsaw market that at the end of the first quarter stood at more than 19,400. He also noted that some developers evidently have sales problems, with many of these units located in already-completed projects or in schemes that are at
Olga Grygier-Siddons, Chairman, PwC Poland, about the general market situation: Like all of Europe, Poland has entered
a slower growth period, but it has avoided recession so far. The economy has slowed down sharply and is now growing at 1.1% after recording just 2% growth in 2012. Real GDP growth this year is expected to be around 1.3%. Export growth has slowed to below 2% after growth of over 20% in the 2010-2011 period. Business activity has also slowed down for many firms and the first quarter of 2013 is worse in terms of sales performance than the second half of 2012. Most firms now expect low single-digit growth for 2013. Many are looking to re-forecast 2013 results downwards as sales in certain sectors slump and even fall lower than in Q1 2012. Profit margin pressures are high due to extremely tough competition and market share battles.
Waldemar Olbryk, President of Skanska Property Poland, about the office sector: In the last few years the sector has devel-
oped rapidly but it’s starting to mature and so are its players, including tenants and investors. I believe, however, that despite a volatile macroeconomic environment, well-designed and excellently located high quality projects will continue to find tenants and buyers. I am also confident that the proportion of certified green office buildings will surge – it’s now only 5% in Poland - as they are the preferred choice for property investors. The market’s interest has shifted towards green investments not only because of vaguely-promised benefits, as it was initially, but mainly because of the increasingly-evident benefits such as value for money and long-term quality. For example our Green Towers office in Wrocław and Nordea House and Green Corner in Warsaw were leased and sold in no time, even before construction was completed.
a very advanced stage of construction. On the other hand, demand for new apartments in the Polish capital in the first quarter of this year was still better than many developers had expected, said Jarosław Szanajca, Management Board President at Dom Development. He added that despite the expiry at the end of last year of the popular Family on its Own (Rodzina na Swoim) subsidized mortgages programme for first-home
Right: Jerzy Buzek, next to Richard Stephens, publisher of Poland Today, signing a copy of the magazine which features him on the front cover.
Below: Tomasz Zaboklicki, CEO of PESA speaking on the transport panel.
buyers, demand was sustained by an the programme and that his company increased number of people financing is not basing its market forecasts on it. home purchases with cash, rather than He added that the very announcement bank loans. A new subsidized mort- of the scheme helped stifle demand as gages programme is expected to be many potential buyers postpone their introduced by the Polish government decisions till next year. some time next year. However, not all of its details are known yet and it is still Creating a riverside difficult to say what its ultimate effect Warsaw can be proud of on the market will be. Mr Szanajca The Powiśle neighbourhood of Poland’s said that he remains skeptical about capital has major development potential and deserves to have its Vistula riverside revitalized and urbanized, concluded participants of the last panel. The discussion focused on how Warsaw could make better use of its undeveloped riverside, with the architects pointing to Powiśle as an area where new buildings would be particularly welcome. The neighbourhood, which in the 19th century was mostly associated with industry and poverty, is today regarded as prestigious and could house new res-
Left: Piotr Krawczyński of Kulczyk Silverstein Properties participated in the commercial real estate panel.
Left: Olga Grygier-
Siddons, PwC Poland
Olbryk, Skanska Property Poland
The conference gathered high level representatives of foreign embassies and chambers of commerce.
idential and commercial developments. next to the Vistula River. The vision Powiśle is located close to the down- was commended by Ewa Kuryłowicz town of Warsaw and already features of the APA Kuryłowicz & Associates good public transport infrastructure, architectural studio, who said that the noted Andrzej Chołdzyński, architect land on top of the road tunnel that runs and urban planner at the AMC archi- along the river bank in Powiśle should tectural studio. Additionally, the area is be developed if technically possible. expected to benefit from the opening Meanwhile, the city is already revitalizof the central stretch of the second sub- ing a riverside boulevard in the neighway line in the upcoming years. One of bourhood, with construction scheduled the stations for that line will be located for completion in mid-2015, said Michał in the neighbourhood. Olszewski, Vice Mayor of the capital. Hochtief Development Poland is Several other Warsaw neighbourhoods already planning a major mixed-use located along the Vistula River have complex called Copernicus Square in a chance of getting a facelift in the near Powiśle which will involve the revitali- future, stated Olgierd Jagiełło of JEMS zation of a former power plant and will Architekci, saying that his company deliver a total of more than 42,000 is now involved in work on planned sqm of usable space. More is certainly developments in the Port Praski area. to come. Tomasz Karpiński and Mateusz The panel clearly demonstrated the Wójcicki of 4AM Architectural studio huge potential of the riverside, showpresented a vision which calls for the casing some of the ideas and developdevelopment of land located directly ments underway. by Adam Zdrodowski
How do prospects look in your sector over the next two or three years?
Paweł Dębowski, Dentons: It depends on the economy. My sec-
tor is fueled by tenants so it depends on business expansion or the establishment of new businesses. If we play musical chairs relocating tenants the market will not improve on the leasing side. But I think that there is still demand and when I look at my clients and other market participants I see activity. The differentiation that I just mentioned allows investors to purchase high quality properties in secondary cities and Warsaw non-CBD at attractive - in comparison to Western Europe - prices. Retail will remain everybody’s darling. There is the demand for retail product and it will continue. Poles will continue to earn more and move in the cities, meaning the cities will grow and with it demand. I believe Warsaw will continue to develop towards Wola and the North-West.
Olga Drela, DTZ: Shopping centres with established market posi-
tions which have for many years profited from a well-chosen location and clients’ loyalty for many years have had to cope with new modern projects. Consumer habits and shopping trends are changing. Retailers are constantly adjusting to these developing needs and reality, needing to innovate in order to maintain competitiveness.
Leszek Sikora, ECE: The situation I described above offers a chance
for developers concentrating on top locations in the strongest cities, although chances are limited. We see demand for good projects even in their early stages of development. Existing assets are getting old and their owners are looking for ways to increase their value by sometimes major re-builds and other optimization efforts. We want ECE in Poland to look much closer into those opportunities in the near future. Marked prospects depend, however, on the overall economic situation: the threat of recession which has replaced the fear of a eurozone collapse throws a shadow over my generally optimistic approach.
Tomasz Trzósło, JLL: Notwithstanding (the difficulties), there are
going to be interesting opportunities in all sectors and I expect some developers to be very successful in the next few years. This will however be subject to taking higher risk, and it will only be possible for those who are equity-rich and therefore able to develop without being dependent on debt. The market will be there for them.
photos: Piotr Dziubak, Konrad Konstantynowicz
Piotr Krawczyński, Kulczyk Silverstein Properties: KSP is generally optimistic for the Polish real estate market. 76% of the total value of transactions carried out on the property market in the CEE region in 2012 were done in Poland. For the last two years approximately €2.5 bn has been invested in Poland and analysts predict that 2013 will be the same. As Poland continues to outpace its Western European counterparts in domestic growth, new investors and tenants will want to expand into Poland to take advantage of the country’s strong national demand and global trading relationships. GDP is expected to grow at over 3% in 2014, which will present opportunities not available in France, Italy or Germany. Bogdan Rogala, Philips Lighting Poland:
The need for indoor and outdoor lighting is continuously increasing. Lighting consumes approximately 20% of electricity globally. This poses a major challenge, in a world facing resource scarcity and climate change. Energy-efficient lighting can help. For example, a full switch-over to the latest LED lighting would provide very significant energy savings. This equates to approximately €130 bln per year in reduced running costs – or the equivalent of 640 medium sized power plants! Energy efficient lighting solutions are, and will be, a major focus for many years ahead. This also fits in with the goals of available EU Structural Funds.
Olga Grygier-Siddons, PwC: Several domestic economic policies will help Poland outperform Western Europe this year and in the years ahead: Poland has reasonably good economic fundamentals. Public debt is relatively low, at 55.6% of GDP in 2012, in contrast to the eurozone average of over 90%. The central bank continues to cut interest rates and there is still room for further cuts. Economic growth is expected to accelerate in 2014 and 2015. Forecasted GDP for 2015 is 3%. 45% of Polish CEO’s are very confident about growth in the revenues of their businesses over the next 3 years. The total percentage of moderate and absolute optimists on a 3 year horizon stands at 89%, according to PwC’s CEO Survey 2013. Right: Tomasz Trzósło from Jones Lang LaSalle Far right:
Lars Christensen of Danske Bank presented Poland's economic situation as keynote speaker.
Waldemar Olbryk, Skanska Property Poland: The fact that we keep expanding our project portfolio into new regional markets proves that we strongly believe in the Polish market’s prospects. There has been a spectacular growth in the BPO/SSC sector and there is no doubt that Poland is becoming a leading location for knowledgebased processes. We have analyzed the specific needs of outsourcing companies in terms of office space requirements and signed several large contracts with tenants from this sector.
Primetime Warsaw conference
District mayors touting new locations The mayors and vice mayors of six of the largest districts in Warsaw discussed new investment opportunities in the office and residential property sectors during the Primetime Warsaw District Mayors Workshop organized by Poland Today.
The Distirict Mayors Workshop
provided an opportunity for the real estate community to discuss important issues.
Stephens, Poland Today's publisher, Mirosław Bednarek, Matexi Polska, Paweł Sztejter, Reas (from left to right)
Paweł Sztejter, Reas, Adam Grzegrzółka, mayor of Białołęka, Bohdan Szułczyński, vicemayor of Bemowo and Piotr Guział, mayor of Ursynów (from left to right) discussing residential market prospects.
The workshop focused on
future locations for new real estate projects, as well as on how new infrastructural investments are influencing the local property markets. The commercial property part of the workshop concerned the districts of Sródmieście, Mokotów and Wola which currently have the largest stocks of office space and in which there will be many new deliveries in the upcoming years.
According to Tomasz Czuba, Head of Office Leasing at Jones Lang LaSalle Poland, there is approximately 1.3 m sqm of existing office space in the central business district of Warsaw, of which only 13% is less than five years old. It is difficult to secure land for largescale office developments in downtown Warsaw, admitted the Mayor of Śródmieście, Wojciech Bartelski, but he added that two very attractive
plots in the district could appear in the market in the near future. He revealed that new schemes will probably be developed on the site of an existing school on ul. Twarda, as well as on a nearby plot which now houses a district office. Mr Bartelski also stressed that investors are welcome to revitalize existing historical buildings. Mokotów and Wola now respectively have more than 1 m sqm and
Right: Katarzyna Łęgiewicz, vice mayor of Wola, talking about the commercial property market from her district's perspective.
What key issue in your sector is having a big effect on the market?
Paweł Dębowski, Dentons: Financing. We are still waiting for more
development financing. It would help the market. But I also believe that alternative forms of financing will surface in the near future.
Olga Drela, DTZ: To maintain a shopping centre’s footfall and
turnover levels, and therefore its value, property owners have to take action. Growing competition posed by e-commerce is also a factor. Mature shopping centres are starting to appreciate asset management services and are seeing the need for the modernization, refurbishment and sometimes re-development of their centre.
Lezek Sikora, ECE Projektmanagement: There are several crucial issues but the one I feel distorts the market is the on-going lack of clarity concerning planning right interpretations. Can you get your scheme permitted based on a WZ ("warunki zabudowy," translation “planning decision”), or is a master plan a must? The query seems easy but until the law is explicit about it there will be various interpretations and competition between players will not be fair. Tomasz Trzósło, Jones Lang LaSalle: For the real estate market
it is very easy to identify the one big influencing factor: the European and global recession. Poland is certainly a market that continues and will continue to develop at a faster pace than Western Europe, and one that will require a substantial amount of real estate product in all sectors, but the overall European picture has a significant impact. With slowing consumption both in and outside Europe, the Polish market faces lower production input, which translates into lower demand for real estate. Lower spending power means not only a slowdown in retail development, but also in residential demand. The issues faced by the banking sector and the lowering values of real estate also add to the slowdown. However, it is clear that the overall demand for real estate in Poland, and other countries in the CEE, will continue to be higher than in Western Europe, and will continue to create the potential for future development, albeit at a slower pace. Basically, whereas fewer developments are feasible in the next few years, overall market potential and development perspectives remain good.
photos: Piotr Dziubak
Andryszczyk from Primo Corporate Advisory, Katarzyna Łęgiewicz, vice mayor of Wola, Wojciech Bartelski, mayor of Śródmieście and Bogdan Olesiński, mayor of Mokotów (from left to right)
over 650,000 sqm of office space, said Katarzyna Lipka, a consultant at DTZ. She added that there are plans to build a further 600,000-700,000 sqm of office space in Mokotów, while in Wola the figure is even higher, at 800,000 sqm. Katarzyna Łęgiewicz, Vice Mayor of Wola, noted that Warsaw's downtown is now expanding westwards into her district and stressed that the trend is set to continue due to the abundance of post-industrial areas and well-developed transport infrastructure in Wola. For his part, Bogdan Olesiński, the Mayor of Mokotów, said that a new major office hub should in the future emerge in the area of ul. Sobieskiego and Al. Sikorskiego. Currently the bulk of office projects in the district are being developed in Służewiec. The residential part of the workshop focused on the prospects of Białołęka, Bemowo and Ursynów, each of which
has seen the development of a large number of housing projects in recent years. According to data presented by Paweł Sztejter, Partner at Reas consultancy, Białołęka and Bemowo currently account for respectively 13% and 6% of all apartments on sale in the Warsaw market. Both districts are expected to continue to see the development of new residential projects in the upcoming years. Bohdan Szułczyński, Vice Mayor of Bemowo, pointed to the huge potential of the Chrzanów neighbourhood which will in the future be accessible by subway. Adam Grzegrzółka, Mayor of Białołęka, noted that his district has benefited from the recent delivery of a new bridge over the Vistula River and stressed that locations including the Piekiełko neighbourhood are still waiting to be discovered by developers. Ursynów was not long ago a big construction site but today it actually accounts for only 1% of all new apartments for sale in Warsaw, according to Reas. This could change soon as developers focus on new locations there. Piotr Guział, the loquacious Mayor of Ursynów, pointed out that the area of ul. Kłobucka, for one, is increasingly popular with residential developers. He also revealed that new plots of land on ul. Ciszewskiego will be made available for residential development.
by Adam Zdrodowski
Piotr Krawczyński, Kulczyk Silverstein Properties: Under current conditions only strong companies with existing relationships are the investors who will prove successful in the capital markets. The availability of financing is not as robust generally in Europe as it was five years ago. Lenders are seeking tighter covenants and higher margins to originate debt than in the past. Bogdan Rogala, Philips Lighting Poland: Over half the global population currently lives in urban areas, a figure that is expected to rise to over 70% by 2050. This amounts to over three billion extra city dwellers, mostly in emerging economies, and cities will face tough challenges to ensure that they remain safe, environmentally-sound, attractive and supportive of vibrant communities. This trend is more or less the same in Poland, so lighting is and will remain a growth area in Poland and CEE. Olga Grygier-Siddons, PwC: The advisory and consulting market mirrors the overall shape of the economy. Hence, it is not a surprise that weakening economic growth resulted in a decrease in the number and value of assignments. It resulted in declines in employment in consulting firms, as well as the withdrawal of some advisers from the Polish market. Merger and acquisition activity exceeding €100 million is particularly low. One of the key issues in the audit sector is the European Commission’s requirements regarding statutory audits of public interest entities (PIEs). Many of our clients are facing additional regulatory pressures and this presents auditors with additional reporting expectations. Waldemar Olbryk, President of Skanska Property Poland:
We still need to work hard to increase the market’s awareness of sustainable development and the benefits it brings to tenants. The trend towards ‘green’ is of course becoming stronger every day, and it might be said that this is only a matter of time, but there are still some misconceptions, for instance concerning the costs of LEED certification. For example hardly anyone knows that employee efficiency is 4% higher in green office buildings and the sick leave rate is reduced by an average of three days per employee per annum, which has been confirmed by research in the USA. This information is still something new in Poland.
34 Primetime Warsaw Developing a sustainable European metropolis
Copernicus Science Centre, Warsaw
Poland Today would like to thank our Patrons and Partners for helping to make our first conference, Primetime Warsaw, a great success.
The Southern power Exploring Silesia's transformation from sluggish mining region to prime investment location.
The region of Silesia
cut his teeth at several publications in Malta while still a communications student. Since moving to Poland in 2004, he has contributed to many national and international newspapers, magazines and websites on subjects ranging from small businesses, economy, culture and fine dining. He currently produces Business Poland, a weekly TV show for CNBC Europe.
in southern in the service sector, whereas the agriPoland has long been largely depend- cultural and industrial sectors employ ent on its mining sector – with 41 active 2.8% and 39.4% of the population mines producing millions of tonnes respectively. of coal a year. But as the demand for coal power has been in decline, Silesia Economic heavyweight has had to diversify its activities. The GDP per capita in Silesia in 2010 It is now proud to be one of the jew- (the latest data available at the time of els in the crown of Polish investment. writing) was 7.0% above the national The region is not resting on its laurels, average. The voivodship's strategic however. The Deputy Marshal of Silesia, sectors, mentioned in the region's Aleksandra Gajewska told Poland Today strategy of regional development, prithat “despite the global crisis, [Silesia marily include: the SME-sector, R&D is] one of the most attractive locations and the implementation of new tech- Silesia Statistics for foreign direct investment.” Over the nologies, food industry, tourism and Capital: Katowice last few months, Silesia has garnered the modernisation of traditional sectors Population: 4.6m several important distinctions. It ranked (the manufacture of coal, steel and Av. Monthly salary: 4,208zł (GUS, Mar '13) 11th on a list of 20 regions worldwide coke). Between 2005-2010, the average Total area: 12,333.09 km² Population density: 375/km² (45% y/y increase in FDI in 2012) accord- annual gross domestic product (GDP) Unemployment: 12.0% (GUS, Mar '13) ing to the FDI Intelligence report, and rate in Silesia for growth was 5.9% Other principal cities/towns: was also voted best in Poland for for- (at constant prices). This was second Częstochowa, Gliwice, Bielsko Biała eign investors by the Gdańsk Institute only to Mazowiecki (where the Polish Special economic zones: Katowice SEZ for Market Economics. capital Warsaw is located), which grew Investment in the region provides by 6.1%. The national average was 4.7%. employment for many of its 4.6m In 2010, only Silesia and Mazowieckie “This voivodship has a relatively higher inhabitants. In fact, at the end of March contributed to more than a third of concentration of investment outlays 2013, the unemployment rate in Silesia Poland's GDP, according to the Central in industry (17%) than in services (9%), stood at 12% – well below the national Statistical Office (GUS). which is understandable considering its level of 14.2%, according to the Central PAIiIZ classifies regions by their com- industrial nature,” according to the 2012 Statistical Office (GUS). In Katowice, petitiveness – with a “Class A” being the Regional Attractiveness Report by the the seat of Silesia's local government, most competitive. The Silesian voivod- Centre for Local and Regional Analysis. only 5.7% of the population was out ship is characterised by a very high level of work, among the lowest in Poland. of universal investment attractiveness, Go-fast zone The main potential for human capital which manifests itself in its rank (Class The Katowice Special Economic Zone creation in the voivodship comes from A) according to the main potential (KSEZ) – already home to some of its 45 institutions of higher education investment attractiveness index for the the major automotive investments boasting a collective 170,200 students, whole national economy, the agency in the country – is expanding. Sławomir according to a report on the region said. Among the microclimates which Węglewski from the Silesian Investor by the Polish Information and Foreign constitute this index, those ranked and Exporter Assistance Centre said Investment Agency (PAIiIZ). This makes particularly high are: technical infra- that the zone has received the green up 9.8% of all students nationwide. structure (A), market microclimate (A), light from the city of Częstochowa to As of February 2013, the average sal- administration microclimate (A) and expand two areas, and the plan is curary in Silesia was 4,208 zł, higher than innovation (B). The Silesian voivodship rently being reviewed by the Minister of the national average of 3,710 zł. In spite took second place in Poland in terms Economy. Mr Węglewski did not want of a highly developed industrial and of investment outlays (14% of its total to disclose the exact investment nummanufacturing sector, 57.8% of the value in all voivodships), while its share bers. However, at a press conference in voivodship's employment is actually in the country's population was 12%. January, Częstochowa mayor Krzysztof Matyjaszczyk said that the city is due to receive about €1.6m in EU funds ascribed to Silesia for 2007-2013 for this purpose. The new, expanded zone will likely attract companies in the automotive and metal sectors, Mr Węglewski said, adding that new companies will be able to make use of tax rebates of up to 60%, as well as tax-free real estate in the zone. Mr Węglewski highlighted the vicinity of the planned A1 highway as one of the attractive points for
‘Despite the global crisis, Silesia is one of the most attractive locations for foreign direct investment’ – Aleksandra Gajewska, Deputy Marshal of Silesia
‘As of February 2013, the average salary in Silesia was 4,208 zł, higher than the national average of 3,710 zł’
INVESTMENT BY SECTOR
INVESTMENT BY COUNTRY
Automotive industry is a dominant sector in Katowice Special Economic Zone. Investment carried out by companies from this sector constitute over 60% of total investment.
Within the Katowice Special Economic Zone, primarily investors include American, Italian, Japanese, Polish, German and Spanish companies.
Automotive: 62% Glass goods: 6% Building: 6% Metal: 6% Food: 3%
USA: 35% Italy: 22% Japan: 12% Poland: 12%
Foreigners in mind The region's activities to attract investment include the "Silesia 2020" Regional Development Strategy, and the Regional Innovation Strategy for Silesia 2013-2020 – aimed at supporting small and medium-sized enterprises and R&D institutions that have an impact on economic growth and the development of technology and science. The Silesian voivodship has 9% of the total value of accumulated share capital in the companies with foreign capital participation, out of which most is national capital. This is a small figure, compared to the 12% share of Poland's population, PAIiIZ says. “Though it must be noted as a positive fact, that in the years 2003-2009 Silesia has raised its competitive advantage on direct foreign investments from 6.67% to 8.75%.” The agency adds that an opportunity for Silesia lies in neatly prepared investment offers. The region invests heavily in promoting its activities abroad. Deputy Marshal Aleksandra Gajewska says that the region works hard to promote itself beyond Polish borders. This year alone, representatives of the region have attended MIPIM and EXPO REAL, as well as sent an economic mission to Turkey. “All of the strategic documents of Silesia are aimed at obtaining foreign investors,” said Mrs Gajewska, “particularly those involving high technology.” It is not surprising therefore that Silesia is involved in research ranging from industrial design to perfecting an artificial heart. All these activities prove that Silesia is at the heart of doing business in Poland. by Roberto Galea
the owner of Famur, a company from Katowice that is one of the largest producers of mining equipment in the world.
Częstochowa Population: 240,000 Perhaps best known as a major religious destination, the city of Częstochowa is a business titan of Silesia in its own right. The E75 route runs through the city, making it an ideal spot for exporters. According to Deloitte, a third of Poland's largest agglomerations are situated within a 120km radius from the city, including one of the most urbanised areas on the continent - the Silesian conurbation with a population of 4.6 mln. According to a Young & Rubicam report, it is “the fourth city in Poland in terms of brand strength, and, at the same time, the most trustworthy place.” The city also boasts of offering investors the best possible local tax relief system in Poland. Częstochowa is in the process of expanding a Special Economic Zone, with an investment of well over a billion euros. The city's labour market is dominated by the production and construction industry, which employs 39.6% of the population, while 24.7% is employed in the services sector.
photo: Wojciech Barczyński (Forum)
investors. KSEZ already has a very distinguished track record. It has created 50,000 new jobs and attracted more than €4.4bn in investments.
Germany: 9% Spain: 4% Others: 6%
plant in Częstochowa. Rolling mills such as this one are some of the biggest beneficiaries of investment in Silesia.
Katowice Population: 309,000 The business powerhouse of Silesia is Katowice, recently proclaimed as the third fastest-growing region for investments in Poland's business services sector. One of the city's main assets is its location, right next to the A4 highway. It also has direct rail connections to Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, Prague, Moscow and Hamburg. The city's airport is one of the busiest air-cargo hubs in the region. Recent investments in the city include the 52,000-sqm Galeria Katowicka shopping mall, due to open in August at an estimated cost of €250 m. Malls are big business in the city. Silesia City Center was recently sold by Immofinanz Group to a consortium led by Allianz for €412m. The city is fast shaking off its industrial image to emerge as one of Poland's most dynamic and vibrant urban centres.
photo: Tomasz Jodłowski (Fotorzepa / Forum)
Machines: 3% Logistics: 2% Appliances: 2% Chemical: 2% Other: 7%
The leadership gap A two-day conference in Warsaw brought together European leaders from all spheres to discuss how leadership needs are shifting in Europe’s changing landscape
photo: Piotr Dziubak
Is a leader born, or is he or she conditioned by circumstance and experience? The perennial question may never be satisfactorily answered, but it doesn't stop thousands of 'leadership gurus' from trying, and earning a tidy buck in the process. The ideal attributes of a leader is also a subject of much discussion, with different times demanding different strengths. For General George Patton no discussion was necessary: "Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way".
pummelled participants’ minds with a range of left-of-field facts and theories on leadership, from the ancient Greek dogma ‘Know Thyself’ to the rather aptly titled ‘The Silverback Gorilla System of Leadership’. This latter theory compares our leadership skills to that of our distant primate cousins. Apparently, bands of gorillas, just like humans, crave direction and protection from their leaders. No stranger to managerial coachFormer President ing, Kets de Vries asked how many Aleksander KwaDay 1 of the participants – a room crammed śniewski picking with CEOs and former political leaders up leadership tips This two-day conference entitled – took coaching classes. Only one brave from Poland Today Publisher Richard ‘European Executive Forum: Leadership audience member raised his hand. The Stephens, who modin a Changing Europe’, organised quick-footed Dutch professor unwiterated the conference. by Warsaw-based Executive Club tingly summed up the tone of the day’s – the brainchild of Beata Radomska, upcoming themes when he remarked: Managing Partner at Cigno Consulting “when you look at leadership in Europe, – aimed to tackle some of the key issues you don’t smile too much.” facing leadership in Europe today. Former Polish President Alexander Putting country Kwaśniewski, whose foundation ‘The ahead of ambition Europe Amicus Foundation’ co-organ- During a panel discussion on ‘Past ised the conference, and former prime and Future Leadership’ moderated ministers Giuliano Amato of Italy and by former Polish president Alexander José María Aznar of Spain, were among Kwaśniewski, former PMs Amato and an impressive line-up of participants, Aznar uttered their concerns over which also featured a number of busi- an increasing trend amongst European ness chiefs and leading academics from leaders to cling to populist policies. the field of political science. “The danger for democracy today is not dictatorship. It is populism,” said Aznar, Sleeves rolled up who added that leadership was the abiland ready to go ity to “put one’s country ahead of his Before the political heavyweights took (one’s own) ambitions.” The influence of social media is influcentre stage to hammer out what kind of leadership an embattled Europe encing the way in which leaders carry requires, attendees were treated to out their responsibilities, argued Aznar. a live-wire presentation by Professor He urged leaders to “adapt our demManfred Kets de Vries, a Dutch clini- ocratic systems to new technological cal professor in leadership develop- times” and not to make them “prisonment and a serial publisher of books ers of social media.” Indeed, pressure on management theory. Kets de Vries, to deliver policies as neat sound bites sleeves rolled up and roaming the con- seemed to be something the panel’s ference hall in search of cannon fodder, three former leaders could relate to.
Kwaśniewski called for “more vision, and less television”, a point that would be contested by TVN’s Adam Pieczynski later in the day. Prof Piotr Płoszajski, Head of the Department of Management Theory, at Warsaw School of Economics, speaking during the third panel discussion of the day echoed Aznar’s sentiments. On populism, he noted that nowadays “leaders mainly negotiate rather than lead”. Płoszajski further highlighted that social media has left politicians with “no room for error”. Politicians must now face greater competition, he added. “Gangnam Style and Justin Bieber are the new competitors for politicians”, he added wryly. Former Italian PM Amato said that since the onset of the current economic crisis, national interests have overtaken pan-EU concerns. In fact, the speakers displayed little patience for EU leaders who travel to Brussels intent on solely protecting their own parochial interests. “We are confronted with a generation that are cowards and are looking to events at home,” said Amato. “The EU does not work because there is less Europe,” he added. Unfortunately, when asked by Poland Today to clarify exactly what ‘less Europe’ meant, the former Italian prime minister declined to comment. All of this rhetoric seemed rather pessimistic. But who could blame the speakers? Admittedly, the EU is facing its toughest test in its 56-year history while a cocktail of apathy and anger towards its institutions remains widespread among EU citizens.
Breaking through the technocratic rhetoric Later on, during a panel discussion entitled ‘What kind of leadership does Europe need today?’ Professor Michał Kleiber, President of the Polish Academy
‘Gangnam Style and Justin Bieber are the new competitors for politicians’
of Sciences, underlined that the EU curJan Kulczyk was the lone reprerently faces both an economic prob- Day 2 sentative of the business community in the conference’s last, star-studded lem and a political problem, and that it was projecting an image of itself “as an Penny Meesupya, though only 23, is panel which also included prominent incompetent system”. Adam Pieczyński, no stranger to the highest political ech- European politicians: former Chancellor a member of the Management Board elons. She was invited to the EEF con- of Austria Alfred Gusenbauer, forof TVN’s News programmes, backed up ference by the former Polish President mer German Foreign Minister Joschka Kleiber’s point when he highlighted that Kwaśniewski and former Chancellor Fischer, Chairman of the Economic in an era so obsessed with the rheto- of Austria, Alfred Gusenbauer, whom Council to the Prime Minister Jan ric of mission statements, he was una- she met while working for the former Krzysztof Bielecki as well as Professor ware of the EU’s own mission statement. foreign minister of Thailand. A law Krzysztof Obłój from the University Attendees were fast getting a picture of school graduate, Meesupya has political of Warsaw. The panel was moderthe EU as an institution suffering from aspirations. “I come from a developing ated by former president Aleksander dire communication problems. country and hopefully I could use this Kwaśniewski. Former Austrian Chancellor Alfred knowledge one day,” she told Poland Instead of summarizing two days’ Gusenbauer called for a more prag- Today. The day’s third panel, “The End worth of debates - Kwaśniewski noted matic approach to communicating EU of the World of Managers” must have that the discussions resulted in multiple policy to its citizens. Technocratic lan- been a bit of a cautionary tale for the prescriptions for leadership and asked guage, written in Brussels, is influencing visitor from Thailand. his panellists for another recipe for the way our politicians speak, he said. The panel, peppered with anec- success: “How can we reconcile quick “Nowadays politicians stick to techno- dotes and light-hearted self-depreca- decision-making with democratic procratic formulations that are incompre- tion, included academics such as Prof. cedures, especially in a crisis context?” hensible for people,” Gusenbauer told Andrzej Koźmiński, founder of the Chancellor Gusenbauer, a man of nothPoland Today. “You need a political doc- Leon Koźmiński University, and busi- ing less than a stately posture, emphaument written in simpler language to ness leaders such as Ronald Binkofski, sized that in a crisis a politician must convey a political message. If the politi- General Manager of Microsoft Poland. convey an image of “security, solidcal elite is developing its own language On two of the panel’s main themes - the ity and calmness.” Showing that the that is so distant from normal commu- decline of the manager and the iden- conference was not just an abstract nication, then this creates suspicion,” he tification of a leader - the viewpoints intellectual exercise, he even put added. But if it looked like the EU was tended to represent the speakers posi- a somewhat forgotten idea on the table. getting a rough ride, more was to follow. tions as either theorists or practitioners. “Personalities matter more than ever. Grzegorz Hajdarowicz, the President Koźmiński started with a very grim We should be going towards a direct of Gemini Media Management Board view of leadership in Poland. “The election of a European President.” He and publisher of Rzeczpospolita, threw entire political-administrative system cited Herman van Rompuy as an examan even larger cat among the pigeons, roots out leaders more than it helps ple of a viable candidate, and gave ten them. If someone leans out, their head years as the time frame. gets chopped off. Those who survive become leaders.” In a humorous vein Walk the talk that ran throughout the entire discus- The debate became more heated, sion, Dr. Radosław Koszewski of the though in a friendly, jocular manIESE Business School, quipped that “a ner, when Kwaśniewski turned to Jan leader is ready for a knife in his back, Kulczyk, the richest man in Poland, askwhile a manager is not.” Favouring ing about what type of business leadthe leadership model, the academ- ership was needed in politics. Kulczyk ics claimed that managers fall into an did not hold back. “First of all, act, don’t assembly-line manner of functioning. just talk.” For Kulczyk, competence Binkofski, along with Aster Papazyan, is key. “Even a regular tram driver General Director of Dell Poland, main- needs to pass rigorous examinations. when he said that he believed that the tained however that management skills It’s a norm everywhere, except for the EU would “not survive in its current will remain an essential component world of politics, where who talks pretty shape”, and would close its doors by of leading in business. is important,” he said. Joschka Fischer, 2020. It all sounded rather pessimistic. the panel’s “dessert” as Kwaśniewski Despite Gusenbauer’s earlier bleak Looking for leaders called him, retorted animatedly: assessment of the EU’s communi- The discussion’s other axis was one “If experts take all these exams - how cation skills, he told Poland Today of nature versus nurture. Do leaders was the disaster of 2008 possible? that the election of an EU President emerge organically or do they have Leadership needs conviction and with real power was only a matter to be taught leadership skills? While courage! Experts are not a guarantee of time. This, he said, “would strengthen the practitioners tended to lean against disaster.” Fischer put his cards European identity, not because of the towards the former view, the academ- on the younger generation, giving importance of the person but because ics, as those who nurture future leaders, the example of the Erasmus program of the importance of the process.” emphasized the latter. Papazyan said he as an initiative that nurtures the modern But are our national leaders less com- had “got his fingers burnt” while seek- European citizen. mitted to the European project than ing out future leaders, as they should be Katarzyna Rudnicka, one of the they were in the past? Gusenbauer the ones showing initiative. Later on in more vocal audience members, CEO of seemed to think so. “There have been the discussion, however, he claimed Vivenge, a visual identification company, times when the European idea was that he searches for candidates with agreed with Fischer, saying that these stronger in the mind-set of the politi- leadership potential in his hiring pro- conversations are missing a crucial parcians than nowadays. If you look back to cess. “It takes me out of my comfort ticipant. “We should be talking to young Mitterand and Kohl, they had a stronger zone. If there’s a certain feeling of tran- people, to the guy who designed the European determination than European quillity in the team it’s the first day of smartphone application for this conferits death, of the death of the company.” ence.” by Hanna Kozłowska leaders nowadays.” by Liam Nolan
‘There have been times when the European idea was stronger in the mindset of politicians than nowadays’
table of contents
warsaw stock exchange insider
Indexes still snoozing after winter low Investors are still waiting for a recovery after WIG20 fell below 2300 points,
see page 42
An interview with the new CEO of WSE Adam Maciejewski talks about the recent changes at WSE and market sentiment in Q2 see page 43
Banking & Finance
Polish pension funds under attack OFE’s proposal to pay out pensions for a fixed period rather than as lifetime annuities provoked anger. see page 46
After a sluggish end to the winter for the WSE, investors will be hoping that the summer months will see the WIG20 bounce back to a peak level of 2600 points, last seen in January. In this issue’s special feature, the new chief of the bourse Adam Maciejewski discusses the successful introduction of the bourse’s new trading system – the Universal Trading Platform (UTP) – and insight on how best to place WSE back at the top of the IPO table in Europe. The energy sector saw its fair share of drama in April: we look at PGE’s decision to pull the plug on plans to construct its much-hyped 9.4bn zł hard coalfired power plant at Opole and the sudden departure of Treasury Minister Mikołaj Budzanowski. Apparently, the former minister was unaware of the terms of an agreement between EuRoPol Gaz and Russian Gazpromexport, which outlined plans to construct the proposed Yamal 2 pipeline through southwest Poland. In the capital, the construction of new office and apartment blocks continues apace while nationwide, consumer demand for high quality shopping malls continues to fuel developments. Panattoni Europe plans to deliver be-
tween 200,000 sqm and 250,000 sqm of new warehouse space in Poland this year, says Robert Dobrzycki, managing partner, Central and Eastern Europe, at the company.
see page 50.
“The decision to expand the plant in Opole would
be uneconomic under current market conditions,” says Paweł Puchalski, a Warsaw-based analyst at Bank Zachodni WBK. see page 47.
PGE decides to halt its Opole project Plus, the fallout from the secret Yamal 2 agreement causes heads to roll. see page 47
transPort & inFrastrUstUre
Contractual difficulties haunt GDDKiA
The roads authority is facing more than 700 court cases arising from last year’s construction fiasco. see page 48
“I have been always convinced that the
OFEs understand they should pay pensions to people, and a pension is by definition a benefit paid until the end of (someone’s) life,” said Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski, displeased at new pension proposals by the OFE. see page 46.
warehoUse & Logistics
Slight increase in demand for leasable space Lower labour costs and the stability of the złoty encourage more companies to move their production facilities to Poland, see page 50
Warsaw’s Mokotów and Wola districts on the rise More construction projects reinforce the attractiveness of west Warsaw as an office hub. see page 51
Nationwide demand for high quality malls Gdańsk, Kalisz and Lower Silesia see substantial developments. see page 52
Developers optimistic about apartment sales Warsaw and Gdańsk saw substantial sales of units during Q1 of this year. see page 54
TechMine: channeling Silesia’s IT potential A Katowice based tech start-up is hoping to make the region synonymous with IT innovation. see page 56
New WSE CEO Adam Maciejewski says that under his tenure the bourse will aim “to create optimum conditions of business growth for domestic and international entrepreneurs while leveraging the potential and competences of the capital market in Poland.” see page 43.
42 business review
Poland in a nutshell Geography: Poland, officially the Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska), is a country in Central Europe, bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian enclave, to the north.
312,685 km2 120,696.41 mi2 69th in the world
Vistula (1047 km) Oder (854 km)
History: The establishment of the Polish
Coat of arms:
The White Eagle symbol appeared for the first time on the coins made during the reign of Bolesław I (9921025), initially as the coat of arms of the Piast dynasty. The eagle’s graphic form has changed throughout centuries. Its recent shape, accepted in 1927, was designed by professor Zygmunt Kamiński and was based on the eagle’s form from the times of Stefan Batory’s reign (1576-1586).
state is often identified with the adoption of Christianity by its ruler Mieszko I in 966, over territory similar in size to that of present-day Poland. The Kingdom of Poland was formed in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a long association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin, forming the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth ceased to exist in 1795 as Polish lands were partitioned between the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire and the Austrian Empire. Poland regained its independence as the Second Polish Republic in 1918. Two decades later, in September 1939, World War II started with the Nazi Germany and Soviet Union invasion of Poland (Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact). Over six million Polish citizens died in the war. The People’s Republic was declared in 1952 although Poland was a client state of the Soviet Union from 1944. During the Revolutions of 1989, the communist state was overthrown and democratic rule was re-established in the form of the “Third Polish Republic”. Despite the vast destruction the country experienced in World War II, Poland managed to preserve much of its cultural wealth. There are currently 14 heritage sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in Poland. Since the end of the communist period, Poland has achieved high rankings in terms of human development.
Higher education rate: 88,7% of adult population (2010, Eurostat)
Gini coefficient: 31.1 12th in the EU (2010, Eurostat)
Life expectancy at birth:
men: 71,3 years women: 79,8 years (2010, United Nations)
Fertility rate: 1,38%
(2010, World Bank)
Human Development Index: 0.813
39th in the world (2011, United Nations)
Total: $814 bn 19th in the world Per capita: $21,261 45th in the world (2011, World Bank)
researched and edited by Bartosz Stefaniak
Total: $514 bn 22nd in the world Per capita: $13,463 51st in the world (2011, World Bank)
Warsaw (1,7 mn pop.)
Kraków (0,76 mn) Łódź (0,74 mn) Wrocław (0,63 mn) Poznań (0,55 mn) Gdańsk (0,46 mn) Szczecin (0.4 mn) Katowice (0,3 mn)
Christianisation: Apr 14, 966 Kingdom of Poland: Apr 18, 1025 Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth: Jul 1, 1569 Partition of Poland: Oct 24, 1795 Duchy of Warsaw: Jul 22, 1807 Congress Poland: Jun 9, 1815 Independent Poland: Nov 11, 1918 Invasion of Poland, WWII: Sep 1, 1939 Communist Poland: Apr 8, 1945 Republic of Poland: Sep 13, 1989
38,501,000 6th in the EU 34th in the world (2011 national census)
Internet: .pl Phone: +48 Drives: on the right
123/km2 (320/mi2) 83rd in the world (2011 national census)
98.1% Polish 0.6% Ukrainian 0.2% German 0.2% Belarusian 0.1% Lithuanian 1.8% Other (2011 national census)
Law: the legal system has been developing
since the first centuries of Polish history, over 1,000 years ago. In 1791 Poland became the first country in Europe (2nd in the world) to adopt a Constitution as supreme law on its territory. Constitutional Tribunal is the highest jurisdiction in today’s Poland. Court decisions can be appealed to the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg. The Republic of Poland recognizes also the International Court of Justice.
Political system: a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government of a multi-party system and the President is the head of state. Executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Sejm and the Senate. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Administrative order: Poland is a unitary
state. After the 1999 administrative reform, it is now divided into 16 provinces (voivodships), 379 districts (powiat) and 2479 local government communities (gmina).
Next presidental election: 2015
Army: 100,000 (professionals) Yearly defense budget: $10 bn (2013) Scheduled equipment purchases: $41 bn Foreign deployment: Afghanistan (2900 pers.)
UN, United Nations (1945) EU, European Union (2004) NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1999) WTO, World Trade Organization (1995) IMF, International Monetary Fund (1986) Schengen Agreement (2007) G6, Group of Six (2006) Council of Europe (1991) OECD, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (1996) OSCE, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (1994) Visegrád Group (1991) Weimar Triangle (1991) EEA, European Economic Area (2003) CBSS, Council of the Baltic Sea States (1992) IEA,International Energy Agency (2008) IAEA, International Atomic Energy Agency (1957) ESA, European Space Agency (2012)
Sources: National Statistics Office (GUS), National Bank of Poland, Min. of Finance, Min. of Economy, Min. of Employment, 2011 national census, Warsaw Stock Exchange, Eurostat, World Bank, United Nations, OECD
Prime Minister: Donald Tusk (PO)
Ruling coalition: PO-PSL
Next parliamentary election: 2015
PO: 207 seats (45%) PiS: 157 seats (34,13%) RP: 40 seats (8,69%) PSL: 28 seats (6,08%) SLD: 27 seats (5,86%) (female deputies: 24%)
Number of Polish deputies in the European Parliament:
51 seats (6,76% of total)
1522 1444 1344
1275 1175 1057 980
Currency exchange rates:
Polish Złoty (zł)
EUR: 4.14 (y/y+0.75%) USD: 3.17 (y/y 2.40%) GBP: 4.77 (y/y -3.48%) CHF: 3.38 (y/y -2.50%) JPY: 3.42 (y/y -9.95%) (Mar 1, 2013, National Bank of Poland)
Feb 2013: 3.75% Jan 2013: 4.00% Dec 2012: 4.25% Nov 2012: 4.5% (National Bank of Poland)
$26.2/hour (2011, OECD)
1600 zł gross (Jan 2013, Ministry of Employment)
Nominal GDP growth: free float of the national currency helped the country maintain development even in the middle of the global crisis. (National Statistics Office)
Main tax rates:
GDP per capita in relation to EU average:
Oct 2012: 10.1% Sept 2012: 10% Aug 2012: 9.9% Jul 2012: 9.8% (Eurostat)
av. 1937 hours per year 7th place in OECD 3rd place in EU (2011, OECD)
814 772 685
97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
National bank governor:
National bank reserve:
prof. Marek Belka
Jan 2013: €82.5 bn Jan 2012: €75,7 bn Jan 2011: €70.2 bn Jan 2010: €60.9 bn Jan 2009: €46 bn Mar 2008: €63.4 bn (National Bank of Poland)
Dec 2012: 2.4% Nov 2012: 2.8% Oct 2012: 3.4% Sept 2012: 3.8% Aug 2012: 3.8% Jul 2012: 4.0% Jun 2012: 4.3% (National Statistics Office)
Economical overview: after 20 years
of constant economic growth, Poland with a nominal GDP per capita of $13,463 is recognized as a high income economy. It is the biggest economy in Central Europe, the sixth largest in the EU and, according to different sources, 19th to 21st in the world. It is also one of the most dynamic economies on the globe. According to the United Nations Statistics Division, Polish nominal GDP rose from $64,5 bn in 1990 to $514 bn in 2011. After China and Vietnam, it gives Poland 3rd place worldwide in long term development rate. During the ongoing crisis, Poland was the only member country of the European Union to have avoided a decline in GDP, meaning that in 2009 Poland created the largest GDP growth in the EU. Poland is also home for the biggest and most dynamic stock exchange in Central Europe. According to Deloitte’s CE TOP 500 survey, four of the 10 biggest companies in Central Europe are from Poland.
Fitch: A- (stable) Moody’s: A2 (stable) S&P: A- (stable) (Jan 2013)
Foreign direct investment in Poland:
1994-2011: €139.1 bn 2011: €10.9 bn (National Bank of Poland)
Polish direct investment abroad:
2011: €5.1 bn (National Bank of Poland)
photos: tomasz adamowicz (forum), adam chełstowski (forum), rafał siderski (Dziennik / forum)
WIG20 stock index: 2012: +20% (2582 pt) 2011: -22% (2144 pt) 2010: +15% (2744 pt) 2009: +33% (2388 pt) 2008: -48% (1789 pt) 2007: +5% (3456 pt) 2006: +24% (3285 pt) 2005: +35% (2654 pt) 2004: +25% (1960 pt) 2003: +34% (1574 pt) imports (€ billions): 53
exports (€ billions): 34
Foreign trade balance: Poland’s economy plays an important role in the chain of supply of many global companies. A significant part of imports are capital goods needed for industrial retooling and for manufacturing inputs, rather than imports for consumption. Poland is also highly dependable on external fossil fuel suppliers. The current economic slowdown in Europe combined with the free float of Polish currency is exerting a major influence on Poland’s foreign trade.
51% (2004, EU accession), 51% (2005) 52% (2006), 54% (2007), 56% (2008), 61% (2009), 63% (2010), 64% (2011) (Eurostat)
16 035 000 (2011, OECD)
7.1 6.2 5.0
5.3 4.5 4.3
PIT, personal income: 18% (below zł 85k/y) 32% (above zł 85k/y) CIT, corporate income: 19% (flat tax) VAT, value added: 5%, 8%, 23% (Ministry of Finance)
Minister of finance:
Jacek Rostowski, awarded ‘Best European Finance Minister 2009’ by The Banker magazine.
10 year bonds interest rate:
3780 zł gross (y/y +2.7%) (Nov 2012, National Statistics Office)
3.72% (Dec 2012) 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
GDP growth rate: Poland’s GDP figures since
Warsaw Stock Exchange:
Balanced budget amendment:
the mid-90’s have varied greatly but, crucially, they have never gone into negative growth. In 2009 the country, was the only EU economy not to. While serious challenges remain, the figures are a testament to those who set the course of the economy during and immediately after the transition from communism to a freemarket economy.
listed companies: 438 (43 foreign) capitalization of Polish companies: €129 bn capitalization of foreign companies: €52 bn number of IPOs: 34 (2010), 38 (2011), 19 (2012) number of investment accounts: 1.5 mn 2012 total stock sales: €49.6 bn 2012 average stock sale per session: €200 mn (Jan 2013, Warsaw Stock Exchange)
Exports by destination:
Imports by origin:
Exports by sector:
Imports by sector:
Developed countries: €114.2 bn (84.2% of total) Developing countries: €21.4 bn (15.8%) European Union: €105.6 bn (77.8%) Eurozone: €73.3 bn (54.1%) Germany: €35.4 bn (26.1%) United Kingdom: €8.7 bn (6.4%) Czech Republic: €8.4 bn (6.2%) France: €8.3 bn (6.1%) Italy: €7.3 bn (5.4%) (2011, National Statistics Office) Automotive: €19.1 bn (14.1% of total) Chemical industry: €18.7 bn (13.4%) Mechanical equipment: €16.7 bn (12.3%) Consumer electronics: €15.3 bn (11.3%) Metalurgy: €16 bn (11.2%) Food products: €15.1 bn (11.1%) Furniture: €6.5 bn (4.6%) Clothing and textiles: €4.9 bn (3.6%) Shipbuilding: €3.6 bn (2.6%) (2011, National Statistics Office)
2011: 56.4% GDP 2010: 54.8% GDP 2009: 50.9% GDP 2008: 47.1% GDP 2007: 45% GDP 2006: 47.7% GDP 2005: 47.1% GDP 2004: 45.7% GDP 2003: 47.1% GDP (Eurostat)
2011: 5% GDP 2010: 7.9% GDP 2009: 7.4% GDP 2008: 3.7% GDP 2007: 1.9% GDP 2006: 3.6% GDP 2005: 4.1% GDP 2004: 5.4% GDP 2003: 6.2% GDP (Eurostat)
Poland’s constitution (adopted in 1997) caps public debt at 60% of GDP - the government cannot take on any financial obligations that would cause that limit to be exceeded. To ensure this level is never breached, Poland has a self-imposed debt threshold of 55% of GDP, and the government must take action to balance the budget once this level is exceeded.
Developed countries: €99.8 bn (66.4% of total) Developing countries: €50.6 bn (33.6%) European Union: €89.1 bn (59.3%) Eurozone: €69.5 bn (46.2%) Germany: €33.5 bn (22.3%) Russia: €18.3 bn (12.2%) China: €13,2 bn (8.8%) Italy: €7.9 bn (5.3%) France: €6.3 bn (4.2%) (2011, National Statistics Office) Chemical industry: €26.4 bn (17.5%) Fossil fuels: €19.2 bn (12.7%) Mechanical equipment: €18 bn (12%) Metalurgy: €16.3 bn (10.8%) Consumer electronics: €15 bn (10%) Automotive: €12.1 bn (8.6%) Food products: €12.5 bn (8.3%) Clothing and textiles: €7.4 bn (4.9%) Medical & scientific devices: €7.4 bn (4.9%) (2011, National Statistics Office)
Exports dynamics: Developed countries: +11.8% Developing countries: +18.3% (2011/2010, Ministry of Economy)
Developed countries: +10.7% Developing countries: +15.1% (2011/2010, Ministry of Economy)
44 business review
Agata Nałęcz is
an investor relations specialist. She was previously a Reuters correspondent for four years, covering equity markets, the Warsaw Stock Exchange and Initial Public Offerings of domestic and foreign companies.
Falling prices of commodities hit Poland’s sole copper and silver producer KGHM and dragged down WIG20. The blue chip index lost about 12% since the beginning of 2013.
warsaw stock exchange insider
Indexes still snoozing after winter low The Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) is still waiting for spring to come. The market is brooding and investors are looking for the first signs of indexes to flourish again. Since reaching a peak level above 2600 points at the beginning of 2013, the blue chip index WIG20 fell all the way down to below 2300 points, leaving investors with little hope for a significant recovery. April didn’t bring much enthusiasm to the market either. Investors needed to handle repercussions from the Cypriot banking crisis and the escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula, all of which made market players more cautious at the time of buying equities. In the Polish market some of the biggest WSE-listed companies surprised negatively with Q4 financial results. Moreover, specialists point out that there is not much money left in the wallets of institutional investors, as they are filled with shares of the biggest Polish banks. “The blue chip index is visibly underperforming in Europe, USA and Asia. A great amount of cash has been withdrawn from the Polish equity market with the recent offers of Pekao, being sold by Unicredit, and sales of the Treasury’s stakes in PKO BP and BZ WBK,” says Sebastian Siejko, Head of Sales at DI Investors brokerage house. Apart from banks, the Ministry of Treasury decided in April to sell a 12.1% stake in chemicals firm Zakłady Azotowe w Tarnowie Mościcach (ZAT). It has been sold for about 626m zł to long-term investors, one of which is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Last month the black sheep among blue chips was copper producer KGHM Polska Miedź (KGHM) whose shares suffered from the falling prices of commodities, especially copper and silver. KGHM dragged WIG20 down and in the middle of April the index reached a minimum, last seen in September 2012. “I see KGHM as a major threat to the recovery of WIG20. Even though the value of its shares has already declined painfully, I think that they are still relatively expensive and may drop further. Especially taking into account the copper prices, which went down below $7000 a tonne. Investors are waiting for KGHM to pay out a dividend, which may hamper a further sell off for a while. But I think it won’t be enough to help KGHM catch up,” says Siejko. It discourages a considerable number of companies from ringing the opening bell on the WSE’s trading floor. Nevertheless some of them decide not to wait any longer, as favorable market conditions may not come anytime soon. In early May, the WSE’s Main Market saw debuts of International Personal Finance, a British-based provider of consumer loans operating under the Provident brand, Austrian property development company Immofinanz and Mabion – a pharmaceutical company, which was the only one among this year debutants that decided to issue new shares. The other negative protagonist among blue chips was leading Polish gas producer Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo
photo: wojtek wilczyński (forum), Di investors, wse
from DI Investors sees a chance for a slight rebound by WIG20. Investors are hoping for generous dividends from blue chips.
(PGNiG). A memorandum of understand-
ing on the feasibility study of the potential Jamał 2 gas pipeline caused disarray, leading to the dismissal of Treasury Minister Mikołaj Budzanowski and caused divestment of PGNiG shares. Prime Minister Donald Tusk and former Minister Budzanowski were unaware of talks and an agreement signed on 5 April between the Jamał pipeline operator EuRoPol Gaz (in which PGNiG and Gazprom each hold a 48% stake) and Russian Gazpromexport. Tusk has since appointed Włodzimierz Karpiński, a former deputy Administration and Digitalization Minister, as the new Treasury Minister. PGNiG CEO Grażyna Piotrowska Oliwa became the next casuality, losing her position at the end of April. The Polish government revised its GDP growth forecast for 2013 to 1.5% from 2.2% assumed in the budget, informed Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski. A recent unwelcome surprise has been Poland's industrial output data, showing a decline of 2.9% y/y in March while market expectations were of a 2.4% y/y decrease. The macro environment does not favour a bullish equity market despite the efforts of the Monetary Policy Council, whose easing cycle was aimed to support the domestic economy. Interest rates were cut by 50 basis points in March, surpassing investors’ expectations. However, in April, Poland's rate council decided, for the first time in five months, to put interest rate cuts on hold. The reference rate is at an all-time record low of 3.25%. The upcoming weeks in the Polish equity market will be dedicated to the publication of Q1 financial results of WSE-listed companies. They will help investors to verify their strategies based on Q4 results and assumptions for the whole of 2013. Investors will keep a keen eye on stateowned companies. Poland's new Treasury Ministry may be willing to raise more money from state companies' dividends than the 5bn zł assumed in the 2013 budget due to state budget needs and lower than planned tax revenues. The outgoing Treasury Minister Mikołaj Budzanowski said some time ago that Poland might take a dividend from all state-controlled listed companies. “One of the drivers for a possible recovery of WIG20 is an expectation that some of the blue chips are going to pay out a dividend. After a downturn rally, indexes of the WSE deserve a rebound but I wouldn’t expect it to be stronger than several percent and to last for long,” says Siejko from DI Investors. “I believe that investors will focus now on medium and small size companies, following their Q1 financial results and tracking down possible takeovers,” he adds. by Agata Nałęcz
An interview with Warsaw Stock Exchange CEO Adam Maciejewski Poland Today talks with the Warsaw Stock
Two years ago, WSE decided to extend the trading session, which caused protests from brokerage houses. Why have you decided to change the trading hours once again, this time by cutting the session 30 minutes short? Has it not caused unnecessary confusion? No, we should be flexible in reacting to the market environment, and this is exactly how we behaved. The new trading schedule has been implemented in response to expectations of professional market participants. It is effective as of the first day of availability of the new system, 15 April 2013. The modification is temporary and will remain in force until 31 December 2013, which will allow WSE and other market participants to evaluate the business effects of this decision and survey investors’ preferences. From our perspective, it caused no confusion. No analysis confirmed 30 minutes can change matters in case of trading activity. Further decisions in this matter will be made before the end of 2013. Does economic stagnation affect the stock market? Will the recent series of interest rate cuts in Poland favour reallocation of cash from deposits to the stock market or are investors still unwilling to buy what they consider to be higher-risk assets? An environment of lower interest rates
On 16 April the WSE celebrated its 22nd Anniversary. The day before it had successfully completed the most important technology project in many years: the implementation of the new trading system UTP.
Exchange’ CEO Adam Maciejewski about the recent changes at WSE and the prevailing market sentiment in Q2.
The last few weeks at WSE were a time of intensive efforts to implement the new trading system: the Universal Trading Platform (UTP). How was the project received by market participants? It is an undoubted success how smoothly the implementation of this most important technological transition was conducted. Mistakes were avoided despite the great complexity of the process and the involvement of numerous capital market organisations and software vendors. UTP has worked faultlessly. Thanks to the new trading system, WSE has become a technology peer to the most advanced markets, and the project was completed without interruptions. The entire UTP implementation was consulted on an ongoing basis with other market participants involved in the project – the group comprised more than 100 different entities. Exchange members themselves concluded that 15 April was the optimum roll-out date.
favours allocation in higher risk financial instruments including equities. In Q1 2013 the turnover generated on WSE Main Market in equities was around 20% higher than in Q1 2012, which allows us to be cautiously optimistic. What sets us apart from other exchanges in the region is that, despite weaker economic conditions, our market still witnessed large transactions in shares, for example sale of stakes in main banks PKO BP and Pekao SA, which help to diversify the shareholding base and increase the number of shares in free-float. Access to a liquid and deep market is key to investors. Isn’t WSE more vulnerable than other stock markets to an outflow of capital in case of major international events? The Polish capital market is still considered as emerging; we follow the very same trends as other emerging markets and we are evaluated by foreign investors in the context of this group. I personally believe that the new technology will create conditions necessary to improve trading liquidity in our market. Once we offer a service of colocation of hardware and software for automatic generation of orders in proximity to our trading system (High Performance Access - HPA), this will attract new investors who use such advanced trading techniques. Initially, these will be mainly foreign investors who are experienced in such trade. How does WSE want to stimulate the IPO market and strengthen its position compared to the biggest competitors including the London Stock Exchange and the Deutsche Boerse? Indeed, the number and the value of initial public offerings on the Warsaw Stock Exchange in the last few years have made us a European leader and have helped to build a position of WSE in Europe that is stronger than the value of secondary market trading would imply. It has been and will be our objective to create optimum conditions of business growth for domestic and international entrepreneurs while leveraging the potential and competences of the capital market in Poland, which we think will create an increasingly attractive offer for domestic and international investors. What other challenges will the Exchange face in the nearest future? Are you planning to establish closer
co-operation with NYSE Euronext or other exchanges? If so, how? The challenges ahead include the implementation of the second stage of the technology: it will be a highly-specialised UTP component for derivatives trading. As for potential co-operation, all I can say is that we are in talks with the CEE Stock Exchange Group (CEESEG) and considering various scenarios of co-operation at this early stage. Whether or not we will opt for any of them, we will be very active talking to potential partners as appropriate in our competitive and market position. Recently, we can observe many consolidation processes on the global exchange markets therefore all trading operators should actively monitor such developments. interview by Agata Nałęcz
Adam Maciejewski was appointed
as President of the Management Board of the Warsaw Stock Exchange in January 2013. He replaced Ludwik Sobolewski, who had been in charge of the WSE since May 2006.
is a freelance journalist covering the Polish economy and stock market. She previously worked for 12 years as an economy reporter for Bloomberg News in Poland.
Banking & Finance sector
Polish pension funds under attack Experts had not expected an easy year for the financial sector in 2013. However, one of the unexpected casualties has been private pension funds (known by the Polish acronym, OFE). After a splendid 2012, when OFE financial results were unexpectedly high (the rate of return on investments rose faster than in any of the previous six years – 16.3%, while the value of nominal assets grew by an all time high amount – 45bn zł), a lean period has set in. The OFE ended Q1 with a loss – the return rate fell by about 1% from a year earlier, which should not come as a surprise given that the WIG and the WIG20 indexes shed nearly 5% and over 8% respectively between January and March. Still, the pension funds are rather optimistic about this year and expect to post a profit in 2013, albeit lower than last year.
Maciej Bombol, CEO of AXA TFI
investment fund, warns that without OFE the demand on the WSE will wane. “Their participation in a shareholding structure is a guarantee for individual investors that it is worth investing in a company. Only pension funds are long-term and stable investors on the stock exchange,” he says. .
OFE, the Warsaw bourse’s status as the leading stock exchange in the region will fade, says Maciej Bombol, chief executive of AXA TFI investment fund. He notes that the Budapest stock exchange froze after the liquidation of pension funds. “It is worth to fight for OFE’s assets as it is a fight for the stock exchange,” he says. Zbigniew Stopa, CEO of Bogdanka – the most profitable coal miner in Poland, praises pension funds for helping his company finance a gigantic investment programme that enabled a boost in production. The recent auction of Treasury bonds should have given the government food for thought. The demand for two-year and five-year notes beat an alltime high as investors placed 25.5bn zł bids for a 7-10bn zł offering. The Ministry took advantage of robust interest and sold 10.52bn zł of securities at the lowest yields ever of 2.748% and 2.69% respectively.
OFE’s proposal to pay out pensions for a fixed period rather than as lifetime annuities provoked an angry reaction from Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski. “It is a deeply shocking idea,” he said. “I have always been convinced that the OFEs understand they should pay pensions to people, and a pension is by definition a benefit paid until the end of (someone’s) life. Now, I’m stunned.” The Finance Minister added that “the current pension system is a trap and we need to find a way to lead Poland out of this trap,” prompting speculations that the government might dismantle the private pension scheme. Prime Minister Donald Tusk barely appeased the tension, saying that while there were no plans to scrap the pension funds, they did not have to continue operations at all cost. According to Tusk, the cabinet will announce its decision about the pension system by the end of June. The uproar comes as Poland is struggling with its steepest slowdown in 12 years, while it is trying at the same time to meet the EU’s fiscal limits in order to escape the so-called excessive deficit procedure, imposed by the European Commission in 2009. It might be tempting to follow Hungary, which nationalised pension funds in 2011 and took over their €10.7bn assets to reduce its budget deficit and public debt by cancelling Treasury bonds held by such funds. Poland’s OFE held 269.5bn zł assets at the end of March, which could offer a tasty morsel for the cash-strapped government. Still, however attractive it may be, policy makers are wary of the market’s reaction. Private pension funds are a major player on both the debt market and the Warsaw Stock Exchange – they keep a fifth of total government securities. The OFE played a vital role in the privatisation process, buying 42% of state assets since mid-2009, according to the Treasury Ministry. Without the
photos: marek wiśniewski (puls biznesu / forum)
Zbigniew Stopa, CEO of Bogdanka,
is a keen supporter of the OFE. Privately managed pension funds control over 40% of the most profitable coal miner in Poland. Bogdanka managed to raise 580m zł from the IPO to finance its ambitious investments. “It would be difficult to raise these funds in a different way,” he says.
Corporate bond sales are becoming a more popular alternative to banking loans. Moreover, banks lead the trend as their securities have dominated the offerings since the beginning of this year. In the first two months of this year they sold notes valuing 1bn zł, while the value of their offerings may near 10bn zł by the end of this year, compared with 8.5bn zł in 2012 – their total bond debt may top 50bn zł. Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego already has 500m zł notes and may offer an additional 1bn zł before the end of 2013. Meritum Bank, Bank BPS, Getin Noble Bank, Bank Idea, Bank Millennium, Alior Bank and BGŻ have officially announced similar plans, while media sources have reported that Bank Pocztowy is gearing up to sell 300m zł. This run is related to the Financial Supervision Commission’s (KNF) expectations that lenders will have at least 20% of their mortgage portfolios financed with long-term securities. According to a survey conducted by KNF, domestic lenders expect to generate profits comparable to last year. The average estimate is for a mere 0.2% drop from the combined 16bn zł made in 2012, while more than half of the 43 banks polled told KNF that their profits would rise. Corporate loan portfolios are seen to grow by a fifth, as companies will boost investments, according to KNF. Retail lending will increase by 4%. One should hope their optimism will materialise. by Monika Rozlał
PGE decides to halt Opole project
April also saw the departure of Treasury Minister, Mikołaj Budzanowski, who had held the position since late 2011. Budzanowski had apparently been unaware of an agreement signed on 4 April between the Yamal pipeline operator EuRoPol Gaz (in which PGNiG and Gazprom each hold a 48% stake) and Russian Gazpromexport, which plans to enable the construction of a new pipeline to run towards Hungary via south west Poland. Displeased with Budzanowski’s lack of knowledge over the deal, Tusk gave him his marching orders on 18 April and has since appointed Włodzimierz Karpiński, a former deputy Administration and Digitalization Minister, as the new Treasury Minister. PGNiG did not escape unharmed however. The company’s CEO Grazyna Piotrowska-Oliwa lost her job at the tail end of April for not disclosing the secret clause about the new pipeline. In other developments, the government’s plans to cut renewable energy subsidies are likely to impact upon the green energy sector. Jerzy Pietrewicz, who was named as Deputy Economy Minister in February, announced an update to proposals set out in the Renewable Energy Sources
Act (Ustawa o Odnawialnych Źródłach Energii - RES Act) draft last October. The government estimates that the total cost of state support for renewable energy sources will amount to 54bn zł between now and 2020, but Pietrewicz suggests it may be a different number. “We don’t plan a retreat from subsidies, but we see that progress in technology allows us to reduce previously proposed rates,” said Pietrewicz in his first interview on renewable sources since taking office. Subsidy cuts in Poland follow similar reductions in the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, Italy and France. Poland, which produces 90% of its electricity from coal, aims to expand the amount of energy it derives from cleaner sources to 19% by 2020 from a current rate of 8%. In mid April, a vote at the European Parliament on whether to withdraw 900 million CO2 allowances from the market was greeted with a singular voice from voting Polish MEPs: 50 for, none against and no abstentions. A second vote is likely in June. The European Commission’s proposal to help prices in the carbon market to rebound from record lows has divided policy makers and those within the industry. Paweł Smoleń, President of Euracoal, the European Association for Coal and Lignite, says that industry, jobs and wealth creation do not happen by chance. “They require stability, not successive changes to instruments which undermine investor confidence,” he says, adding that the EU needs to remain an attractive place to do business. The current plant
in Opole will not be getting any new neighbours in the coming years.
Kompania Węglowa, the biggest coal
company in the EU and a member of Euracoal, is very keen to block any reform to the EU’s Emission Trade System (ETS) – the requirement for big businesses to purchase a sufficient number of credits to cover CO2 emissions for net heat in excess of 20 MW. Any further reduction in coal-fired electricity production due to rising CO2 costs and cheaper coal from abroad would send Kompania Węglowa on the road to bankruptcy. The price of coal in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp shipping area is falling as a result of the growing use of shale gas in the United States. All of this is starting to hit Polish mining companies. And, in shale gas, PGNiG and its consortium partners of PGE, Tauron, Enea and Polish copper and silver giant KGHM, plans to spend around 100ml zł on exploration by the end of the year. Of the 109 licenses granted by the Ministry of Environment, eleven companies have drilled 42 wells. However, by 2020 this number will reach 270. The government remains confident that shale gas will prove commercially exploitable by 2016. by Maciej Szczepaniuk
Maciej Szczepaniuk covers
energy sector news including mining, privatisation and transport for Dziennik Gazeta Prawna. He also appears as a commentator on TV Biznes, the first Polish-language television channel on economic issues. He worked previously as a city-reporter for Rzeczpospolita for five years.
Former Treasury Minister Mikołaj
Budzanowski (right) was replaced by Włodzimierz Karpiński.
photos: Krystian maj (forum), michał Grocholski (forum)
In April, Poland’s largest utility PGE, cancelled a much-hyped 9.4bn zł hard coal-fired plant due to both a hike in electricity prices and a slump in demand for electricity. “The decision to expand the plant in Opole would be uneconomic under current market conditions,” says Paweł Puchalski, a Warsaw-based analyst at Bank Zachodni WBK. “PGE does not have to invest because their energy blocks are relatively young. The average age of a PGE block is 24 years. In comparison, those of Tauron and Enea (second and third largest Polish utilities) are a decade older,” adds Puchalski. He believes that, at current electricity prices, PGE does not have to invest in new capacity. The new power station blocks in Opole were supposed to be built by a consortium of Rafako, Mostostal Warszawa and the heavily indebted, Polimex-Mostostal. Last year, the latter recorded an astronomical 1.2bn zł loss and, in January, Agencja Rozwoju Przemysłu (ARP - Industrial Development Agency) provided the company with a financial injection of 150m zł in new shares. Rumours about the cancellation of the Opole project were enough to knock tens of percentage points off the value of the three listed companies. PGE earned 3.2bn zł last year despite this figure being 34% lower than 2011 profits. The abandonment of the Opole project suggests that PGE will have more cash in reserve, and according to analysts, dividends of up to 1.8 zł per share are likely.
48 business review
transPort & inFrastrUstUre sector
Contractual difficulties haunt GDDKiA Up, up and away.
writes about transport, infrastructure, roads and railways for Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily newspaper, and also appears as a commentator on the TV Biznes channel. He was previously infrastructure, transport and EU investment correspondent for Rzeczpospolita daily newspaper for nine years.
Testing times for
the GDDKiA and its chief Lech Witecki. Over 700 court cases have been filed against the roads authority by former contractors.
photo: adam chełstowski (forum)
Emirates' WarsawDubai daily route is the airline's 129th route worldwide.
Good news was at hand in April when the European Commission released 3.5bn zł for road construction projects in Poland. The payment was suspended in December because of a bid-rigging charge pursued by the Polish public prosecutor in 2010. Better still, the new EU budget for 2014-2020 means that the GDDKiA is set to receive approximately 75bn zł – including grants from Brussels, from the state budget and state body, Polish Investments and Devel-
opment (Polskie Inwestycje Rozwojowe, PIR). Minister of Transport Sławomir
Nowak and Minister of Finance Jacek Rostowski will decide in the coming weeks on how, and where, to spend the new EU funding. A top priority for the Ministry of Transport is route S7 – the main artery connecting Gdańsk, Warsaw and Kraków. GDDKiA plans to announce several tenders this year such as the section between Nidzica and Napierki, and from Kielce to Kraków. The S8 expressway, which connects Wrocław, Warsaw and Białystok is another main priority. Over the next seven years, the government plans to connect the S8 to the centre of Warsaw via Grota-Roweckiego Bridge, as well as between Piotrków Trybunalski and Warsaw and to complete two missing sections in the Podlasie region. According to the latest government plans, the S5 expressway between Wrocław and Poznań will be completed by 2020, along with another section from Poznań to Grudziądz. The S3 route from Zielona Góra to Lubawka – on the border with the Czech Republic – and the S17 from Warsaw to Lublin are also on the priority list. Furthermore, the construction of the A1 motorway from Tuszyn to Silesia is expected to cost 7.5bn zł. Preparations for new road projects are underway whilst a giant legal war between GDDKiA and its former contractors continues to simmer in the background. According to recent data, GDDKiA is involved in more than 700 court cases as building companies – former contractors
– are demanding a combined total of almost 6 bn zł from GDDKiA in compensation. Conversely, the road agency has filled numerous penalties against contractors and has paid itself more than 450m zł from bank and insurance contract guarantees. As a result the biggest beneficiary of the Polish road program looks likely to be lawyers, and not contractors. However, GDDKiA is keen to avoid the same errors made before Euro 2012, when the agency announced many tenders at once, causing the price of construction materials to automatically soar. Lech Witecki, head of the GDDKiA says that road investment projects until 2020 will be divided into sections of 20 to 30 km. “We plan to start no more than 15 projects per year, in order to minimise the risk of accumulating investments at the same time,” said the GDDKiA chief. In railway news, PKP PLK (Polish Railway Lines) is facing a rather good problem – the need to spend its remaining EU funds from the 2007-2013 budget. In April, it transpired that PKP still has to spend and account for 4-5bn zł in funding by the end of 2015. “The use of all grant funding by PKP PLK from the 2007-2013 budget is now highly unlikely,” says analyst Adrian Furgalski from economic advisors TOR. “PKP PLK will have to admit that several key projects, such as modernisation of the Warsaw-Radom railway or the construction of the Łódź Fabryczna underground station will not be completed by 2015,” he adds. And, up in the skies, global airline company Emirates' Warsaw-Dubai connection, which launched in February, became the airline's first destination in Poland and its 129th destination worldwide. The route is served daily by an Airbus A330-200 aircraft. In addition to passenger services, Emirates SkyCargo offers 238 tonnes of belly-hold capacity per week. Maciej Pyrka, Emirates' Country
Manager in Poland says that since February, the service has "already witnessed strong and steady sales." Finally, it appears that Polish seaports are currently enjoying a good period. In 2012, the deepwater container terminal DCT Gdańsk received one million TEU (standard containers with a length of 6 metres) for the first time. During the same period, the BCT Gdynia terminal handled 400,000 TEU, its best result since 2008. In August, a premiere cruise will ship from South Korea to Gdańsk, Maersk’s largest cargo container, which is capable of transporting 18,000 TEU on board. Gdynia will be ready for handling such ships from 2015, when ongoing investments in BCT will be complete. On top of that, a new container terminal is also being built in Szczecin. All of this spells good news for the competitiveness of the Tri-city ports. “The development of Polish ports weakens the positions of those in Bremerhaven and Hamburg. Before our eyes Gdańsk is becoming a sea hub. Approximately 40% of containers after coming into Gdańsk are going by sea to other ports in the Baltic region,” says professor Włodzimierz Rydzkowski from the University of Gdańsk. Unfortunately, the recent miniboom in Polish seaports faces limitations caused by infrastructural barriers, such as the never-ending modernisation of the E65 railway between Gdańsk and Warsaw. Other barriers include customs and tax administration procedures, which in comparison with German ports require too much time. by Konrad Majszyk
50 business review
previously worked for five years at the Warsaw Business Journal, first as a journalist and then as the editor of the paper’s real estate section and real estate newsletter.
warehoUse & Logistics sector
Slight increase in demand for leasable space
Developer Panattoni Europe plans to deliver between 200,000 sqm and 250,000 sqm of new warehouse space in Poland this year, says Robert Dobrzycki, Panattoni's managing partner, Central and Eastern Europe, at the company. The bulk of the new space will be built-tosuit areas, rather than speculative space, says Dobrzycki. He added that Panattoni Europe will mostly focus on the major existing warehouse locations in Poland in which the company is already present. Last year, Panattoni Europe completed approximately 250,000 sqm of new warehouse space across Poland, which was the largest annual supply developed by the company in the country since 2008, notes Dobrzycki. When it comes to new supply, the company currently holds more than a 50% share of the Polish market. According to Dobrzycki, the beginning of this year witnessed a slight improvement in terms of demand for warehouse space in Poland, compared to the second half of 2012 when tenants remained very cautious. Lower labour costs and a stable local currency have encouraged some companies to move their production facilities from Western Europe to Poland, driving demand for built-to-suit projects in the country. Dobrzycki says that Poland is viewed as the most attractive investment location within Central and Eastern Europe. Another major industrial space developer, Prologis, will develop a new 18,300sqm built-to-suit facility for Tradis, part of the Eurocash Group, at its Prologis Park Wrocław V distribution park in Lower Silesia. This will be the third BTS project developed by Prologis at the park which is sitting on 70 hectares of land located near the Wrocław ring road and whose development potential totals 290,000 sqm of warehouse space. In Q1 of last year, Prologis delivered a 19,100-sqm BTS project for UPM Raflatac at the complex and in Q4 2012 it signed an agreement to build a 17,800-sqm BTS scheme for a major wholesale and retail supplier of white goods and electronic equipment. “As the third BTS in less than two years, the transaction further highlights the strategic importance of Prologis Park Wrocław V as a key logistics location,” says Ewa Zawadzka, business development director at Prologis Poland. In other news, Prologis announced that it has signed a lease agreement with Volkswagen Group Polska for approximately 16,000 sqm of distribution space at the Prologis Park Poznań II in western Poland. The industrial and logistics agency team of Jones Lang LaSalle advised Volkswagen Group Polska during the process of choosing the location and negotiating the lease agreement. The tenant will move into its new premises in mid-2013.
Demand for warehouse space
has seen a slight improvement since the start of the year, says Robert Dobrzycki, Panattoni's managing partner for Central and Eastern Europe.
Prologis will start construction on this new 18,300 sqm built-to-suit facility for Tradis.
developing in a joint venture with PHN, is expected to ultimately comprise 40,000 sqm of warehouse space.
For its part, warehouse and light industrial space owner, asset manager and developer SEGRO has acquired the Żerań Park II warehouse complex in Warsaw from AREA Property Partners and Apollo Rida Poland for €43.2m. Developed between 2005 and 2011, the complex comprises 49,900 sqm of leasable space which is approximately 85% leased out. Its acquisition follows the purchase by SEGRO in September 2012 of Ożarów Business Centre near Warsaw for €14.1m. “These two recent acquisitions significantly strengthen SEGRO’s market position in Warsaw,” says David Sleath, chief executive at the company. Following the latest transaction, SEGRO currently has almost 140,000 sqm of existing space in the Warsaw area. The company is now also building a 24,000-sqm project in the region and its Tulipan Park Warsaw investment has a further development potential of 50,000 sqm. In other news, SEGRO announced that parcel delivery company DPD Polska has started operating a 7,000-sqm crossdock distribution terminal at the SEGRO Industrial Park Wrocław, the developer’s first investment in the Lower Silesia region. The park, which SEGRO is
Meanwhile, the Wrocław area was in 2012 the only warehouse market outside of central Poland to see a y/y increase in demand for warehouse space, according to a recent report by Jones Lang LaSalle. More than 153,000 sqm of space was taken up in the area last year, the third largest volume in the country, compared with 130,000 sqm leased in 2011, the study said. According to Jones Lang LaSalle experts, rising accessibility resulting from the development of transport infrastructure is one of the key driving forces behind the growing demand for warehouse space in the Wrocław area. Piotr Sobański, a senior consultant at the industrial agency of Jones Lang LaSalle, says that thanks to the A4 motorway the region is already well connected with the west European motorway networks and that new infrastructure projects including the underconstruction A5 and A8 expressways are further increasing the region’s significance for domestic logistics. Also the supply in the Wrocław area increased in 2012, by 56,000 sqm, compared to 40,000 sqm a year earlier. A large volume of underconstruction space is not, however, going to result in a higher vacancy level as the new projects are mostly pre-let or builtto-suit schemes. A falling vacancy rate and the lack of speculative construction are expected to drive rents up in the near future, the Jones Lang LaSalle report said. by Adam Zdrodowski
Warsaw’s Mokotów and Wola districts on the rise Construction is expected to launch on a number of new office projects in Warsaw later this year. International commercial real estate developer and investor HB Reavis will, in the upcoming months, start building a scheme located on ul. Postępu in the capital’s Mokotów district. HB Reavis is now finishing work on the architectural concept of the development and hopes to obtain a building permit for the planned investment within the next few weeks, said Maarten Hulshoff, chairman of the advisory board at the company. The new project will comprise approximately 33,000 sqm of GLA. In the same neighbourhood, HB Reavis has recently completed Konstruktorska Business Center, the company’s first major scheme in the Polish market, which has delivered more than 45,000 sqm of leasable office space. For its part, real estate investor Capital Park Group plans to launch construction on its Royal Wilanów office project in Warsaw in Q3 2013, says Marcin Juszczyk, board member, head of the investment department, at the company. The scheme will be located at the intersection of ul. Klimczaka and ul. Przyczółkowa in the Wilanów district of the Polish capital and will comprise a total of over 35,000 sqm of leasable space, including almost 28,000 sqm of office space and more than 7,000 sqm of retail areas. Capital Park Group views the location of the planned development as a highly attractive alternative to the popular but increasingly congested Służewiec business area in the Mokotów district of Warsaw. Mr Juszczyk said that construction on the scheme is expected to take two years. Meanwhile, real estate investor LHI is currently considering three new relatively small office projects in downtown Warsaw, at least one of which it could acquire later this year, says Robert Mandżunowski, member of the management board and CEO at the company. The schemes would be located close to the Nowy Dom Jabłkowskich and Chmielna 25 developments, which LHI has respectively delivered and is now building on ul. Chmielna in the capital’s central business district. Boutique office projects in central locations are increasingly in demand in Warsaw, Mr Mandżunowski said. Also in Warsaw, developer Hochtief Development Poland is planning to build a new major mixed-use investment called South Park. Located at the intersection of ul. Żwirki i Wigury and ul. 1 Sierpnia in the Włochy district of the Polish capital, the South Park development is expected to include office, retail and service and residential areas. The first phase of the complex will deliver more than 32,400 sqm of leasable office space and almost 2,900 sqm of retail and service areas on the ground floors, as well as underground parking spaces for over
600 cars. It is scheduled for completion in Q2 2015, said Jacek Trybusz, project developer at Hochtief Development Poland. Developer Unidevelopment has started leasing a new office project called Wola House which it is planning to deliver in the Wola district of Warsaw in Q1 2015. The planned scheme will be located on Al. Prymasa Tysiąclecia and will comprise almost 22,400 sqm of gross leasable area (GLA). Piotr Maciąg, commercial market director at Unidevelopment, said that the Wola House investment will start the process of transforming the area of Warsaw in which it will be built and noted that the same happened with the previous office building developed by his firm. Unidevelopment was the first company to start developing post-industrial land located opposite the Warsaw Uprising Museum building, an area in which several other developers are now active. The company has recently sold its 10,000-sqm project in the area to Bank Polskiej Spółdzielczości for approximately 100 m zł. Another major office space acquisition in Warsaw in recent weeks was the purchase by the Hines Global REIT fund of the New City complex from Europejskie Centrum Inwestycyjne. The value of the deal, in which the buyer and the seller were respectively represented by CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield, has not been revealed. The New City complex is located in the Polish capital’s Mokotów district and comprises two office buildings offering a total of approximately 44,000 sqm of leasable space, all of which is currently leased out. “This represents the second acquisition for the Hines Global REIT in Poland,” says Sherri Schugart, president and CEO at the fund. Meanwhile, developer Echo Investment has signed preliminary conditional agreements for the sale of the Aquarius Business House office complex in Wrocław to Horta and SKUA for a total of €66.51m. The complex
Another stylish edition to the
capital's Mokotów district - developer and investor HB Reavis plans to begin construction on this new project on ul. Postępu
comprises two buildings with a combined 25,000 sqm of GLA. Its first phase was completed in November 2012, while the second phase is scheduled for completion in October this year. Also, several office plots in the Polish capital could change hands in the near future. CBRE, for instance, is now involved in negotiations concerning the sale of land for three new office projects in downtown Warsaw, each of which is expected to deliver more than 40,000 sqm of leasable space. The plots are located in the rapidly developing area of ul. Towarowa in the Polish capital’s Wola district, said Mikołaj Martynuska, director, development consultancy, at the company. He added that two of the schemes may be high-rise developments. by Adam Zdrodowski
Hochtief Development's planned
new mixed-use investment South Park in Warsaw's Włochy district.
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Nationwide demand for high quality malls Real estate investor Immofinanz Group has appointed Warsaw Stock Exchangelisted construction company Warbud as the general contractor of its Tarasy Zamkowe shopping and entertainment centre in Lublin in south east Poland. The mall is being developed in the city's downtown area and is expected to deliver 38,000 sqm of leasable space which will house around 150 retail units. An underground parking lot with spaces for 1,400 cars will also be part of the project. Construction on the Tarasy Zamkowe scheme is already underway, with the development scheduled to open for business in autumn 2014. The investment is valued at approximately 480m zł. Eduard Zehetner, CEO of Immofinanz Group, says that Poland has large potential for the development of high-quality shopping centres and that his company’s long-term strategy calls for the development of more malls in the country. He added that Immofinanz Group is now also planning the development of new STOP.SHOP-branded retail parks in Poland. The first such facility in the country opened for business in 2008 in Legnica. “It enjoys 100% occupancy – definitely a promising sign for a further expansion in Poland,” says Zehetner. In Gdańsk, the Galeria Bałtycka shopping centre is going to be expanded by an additional 15,000 sqm of space within the next few years and will thus become the largest mall in the Tri-city area. The new space will help accommodate new brands that would like to debut in the Tri-city market, said Rafał Pruba, leasing department
director at ECE Polska which manages the mall. The new part of Galeria Bałtycka is expected to open in spring 2016 at the earliest. Located in the Wrzeszcz district of Gdańsk, the facility opened for business in October 2007 and currently offers almost 46,000 sqm of leasable retail space, housing some 200 stores and 15 restaurants and cafes. ECE is now intensively looking for new development opportunities in the major Polish cities, and in particular in Warsaw, and also wants to focus this and next year on the acquisition of existing centres which have further growth potential, says Leszek Sikora, head of development, Poland, at the company. Warsaw Stock Exchange-listed developer Echo Investment has announced that its Galeria Amber shopping centre project in Kalisz in western Poland will open for business at the turn of March and April next year. Located in downtown Kalisz, near the city’s railway and bus stations, the Galeria Amber scheme will consist of a four-floor retail and entertainment facility offering 33,500 sqm of leasable space, as well as parking spaces for approximately 1,000 cars. The investment, which will house around 140 stores and points of services, has already been 75% leased out. Anchor tenants at the development will include an E.Leclerc hypermarket and a Helios multi-screen cinema. Meanwhile, Echo Investment also recently revealed that it has signed agreements with London & Cambridge Properties regarding the sale of three regional shopping centres in Poland for a total of €67m. The three Echo Investment's
Galeria Amber shopping centre development in Kalisz will house 140 stores and service points, and has already been 75% leased out.
Capital Park's Art-
Norblin investment. The real estate investor hopes to secure a building permit later this year.
Echo properties in question are located in Piotrków Trybunalski (17,400 sqm), Radom (19,500 sqm) and Tarnów (20,200 sqm). The developer is planning to earmark the funds obtained from the sale for the realisation of new projects. Another Warsaw Stock Exchange-listed real estate developer, Rank Progress, has signed a preliminary conditional agreement with Elsoria Polska I for the sale of the Galeria Świdnicka shopping centre in Świdnica in Lower Silesia. The transaction is valued at €25m. In accordance with the agreement, the selling party has a right to pull out of the deal by 15 September this year if it secures a better purchase offer from another entity before that time. “We are now in talks with other entities which are also interested in the acquisition [of Galeria Świdnicka],” says Jan Mroczka, president of the management board at the company. The Galeria Świdnicka mall opened for business in March 2012 and comprises a total of 24,000 sqm of space. In Warsaw, real estate investor Capital Park has signed the Piotr i Paweł delicatessen chain for its planned ArtNorblin and Royal Wilanów schemes. The tenant will respectively occupy over 2,300 sqm and approximately 2,000 sqm of space at the projects. The Royal Wilanów development, for which Capital Park has already obtained a building permit, will comprise almost 27,900 sqm of office space and more than 7,200 sqm of retail areas. The ArtNorblin investment, for which the company hopes to secure a building permit later this year, will deliver 39,000 sqm of office space and around 22,000 sqm of retail and service areas. Kinga Nowakowska, head of asset management, sales and marketing departments at Capital Park Group, says that the company plans to start building ArtNorblin in 2014, with construction expected to take two and half to three years. by Adam Zdrodowski
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Substantial number of new apartment developments Warsaw Stock Exchange-listed Dom Development, the largest residential developer in the Polish capital, sold 339 apartments in Q1 of this year, according to a recent report released by the company. Company president Jarosław Szanajca says that Dom Development regards the Q1 sales results as very good and the market as stable. The developer sold 334 housing units in Q4 of last year. Szanajca adds that demand is still present and that there has been an increase in apartment purchases financed by buyers with cash, rather than bank mortgages. Upper standard homes have increased their share in the total sales volume of Dom Development. Also several other listed developers have reported good Q1 apartment sales results. Robyg, for one, sold a total of 303 apartments in Warsaw and Gdańsk during the period and is optimistic about reaching a sales level of approximately 1,000 units this year. Polnord sold 200 apartments in Q1 and says it has seen a gradual increase in sales since the beginning of the year. For its part, Ronson Development offloaded 132 housing units and has also witnessed increasingly higher sales each month this year. Due to the relatively good sales and despite a large existing stock of completed apartments available in the market, several major developers are now planning new investments. Marvipol is planning to launch construction on the first phase of a huge new residential project in the Polish capital later this year, says Sławomir Horbaczewski, vice president of the
Ronson Development plans to
increase its supply of apartment in eight new residential projects.
Okam Capital has launched construction on
the second phases of its InCity development, located on ul. Siedmiogrodzka in Warsaw's Wola district. It will comprise 483 apartments when complete.
management board at the company. The planned scheme will be developed on 11 hectares of land located on ul. Kłobucka in Warsaw’s Ursynów district and is expected to deliver a total of around 2,600 apartments over the next eight years. Horbaczewski says Marvipol hopes to obtain a building permit for the first phase of the development within the next few months. The company is yet to select a general contractor for the investment. Apartments in the estate will be priced at around 6,000 zł per sqm.
project will comprise approximately 700 apartments when fully developed. Robyg has already launched sales of 110 apartments which it will develop within the first phase of the estate. The company says that more than 30% of those have already been sold. Okoński says that Wilanów is now one of the most popular residential locations in Warsaw. His company has been present there for 11 years now and is currently also offering apartments in two other residential investments in the district.
Ronson Development is planning to increase its supply and launch sales of apartments in up to eight new residential projects this year, says Tomasz Łapiński, financial director at the company. The planned schemes will include Tamka (64 apartments) and Magellan (176 apartments in the first phase) in Warsaw and Copernicus (182 apartments in the first phase) in Poznań, as well as new phases of several ongoing investments in Warsaw, Wrocław and Szczecin. In total, Ronson could launch sales of approximately 1,000 new apartments in 2013. The company sold 380 apartments in 2012, which was less than it had expected but still counts as a company record. This year, the developer hopes to reach a sales level of 500 housing units, says Łapiński. The first new project that Ronson will launch this year will most probably be Tamka in downtown Warsaw, which will deliver luxury apartments, priced from around 10,000 zł per sqm.
Developer Okam Capital has recently launched construction on the second phase of its InCity multifamily residential project in Warsaw. Construction company Unibep is the general contractor of the scheme. The InCity investment is located on ul. Siedmiogrodzka in the Wola district of Warsaw and will comprise four eight-floor buildings (one of which will feature a 17-floor section) offering a total of 483 apartments when fully developed. The second phase of the development will comprise 97 housing units. It is scheduled for delivery in December next year, while the entire estate should be completed by the end of 2017.
Robyg has recently acquired approximately 4,000 sqm of land in the Wilanów district of the Polish capital that neighbours plots which the firm bought in December last year to launch its Osiedle Królewskie housing scheme. Robyg president Zbigniew Wojciech Okoński said that around 90 units can be built on the newly acquired plot, which means that the whole Osiedle Królewskie
Meanwhile, protruded administrative procedures pertaining to the granting of planning decisions and building permits are now one of the biggest hindrances to residential investments in Poland, according to the Polish Association of Developers (PZFD). A recent study by the PZFD, based on data collected in 11 of the country’s largest cities, found out that 92% of all planning decisions for multi-family housing projects issued in 2011 were granted after the maximum period of 60 days provided for by Polish law. In 29% and 18% of the analysed cases, respectively, it took the municipal authorities between six months and a year and more than a year to grant a planning decision, the study said. by Adam Zdrodowski
56 business review
TechMine: channeling Silesia’s IT potential
Poland Today profiles a new Polish start up every month, as part of our commitment to supporting entrepreneurship in Poland. If you would like us to consider your company for a profile, or you know of a company you think should be considered, please contact us through www.poland-today.pl
In the early days the TechMine Community meetings drew only a handful of young people, but soon they swelled to include professors and experienced business leaders. One of those attracted to TechMine early on was Alicja Mazur, co-owner of Madar, a company specialising in producing accounting software for firms. “The caliber of people that TechMine draws is phenomenal, from ambitious young students seething with creativity and ambition but little experience, to industry professionals with years of experience,” says Mazur. Shortly after founding TechMine Community, Zjawiński found himself organizing conferences while also being approached by angel investors looking for attractive business prospects. The growing interest encouraged Zjawiński to organise additional meetings and conferences, but he organised them under different names. Today, under the TechMine brand, there exist: TechMine Coffee (monthly informal meetings open to those with an interest in new technologies), TechMine Startups (bimonthly conferences drawing larger groups including academics and business professionals), and TechMine Investors (a broad business angels group geared at specific investments).
works as a freelance strategic consultant and financial journalist in Warsaw. He has worked in London for a major investment bank, and has made Warsaw his home for the past 3 years. Originally born in Canada, he has spent much time in both North America and Europe.
Silesia has long been Poland’s bastion when it comes to mining, with coal being one of the region’s top exports. Yet, Łukasz Zjawiński and his company, TechMine Sp. Z o.o. (the name drawing inspiration from the region’s mining prowess) are more interested in tapping the potential of another source of capital, namely, human capital. His company, founded in March 2013, provides consulting services and business training to entrepreneurs in the region. The company also serves as a vehicle for business angels to invest through in the Silesia region. Zjawiński, though, is quick to note that his company is only a small part of a bigger, equally important picture – a community of young professionals and experienced business leaders known as the Techmine Community. Hailing originally from Małopolska, the 30-year old “TechMiner” studied law at Wrocław University and spent 5 years working within finance in Katowice. In mid-2007, Zjawiński decided to strike it on his own, and began networking and learning as much as possible about new technologies and their potential in the
Mining for IT talent. Thirty-year old Łukasz Zjawiński founded TechMine Sp z o.o. in Katowice in March this year. A legal graduate from Wrocław University, he is confident that his start-up can forge a bright future for young entrepreneurial Silesians.
region while at the same time, developing mobile applications. Although TechMine Sp. Z o.o is short on history, this one-man company can trace its origins back to 2011 when Zjawiński founded the TechMine Innovation Community, with a mission of holding monthly meetings and invigorating the brightest minds in the region. “My initial plan was to set up a community of like-minded individuals open to others and eager to share business ideas and experiences” says Zjawiński. “Such a place did not exist, and I wanted to tap into the intellectual energy that the greater Katowice region provided,” he adds. Current members include telecomunication firm 3S, media company Grupa Spot, electronic publisher Złote Myśli and energy firm Eltrako.
One experienced angel investor is Grzegorz Dymek. Although unable to disclose any details regarding current investments, Dymek says that, “few places share such a breadth of knowledge and bring so many creative minds together around new technologies as Techmine does.” What’s interesting is that although the majority of people affiliated with Techmine work within the tech space, most of the conversation revolves around the practicalities of doing business. “Despite us sharing a strong interest in anything that relates to new technologies, we spend most of our time talking about marketing techniques, strategies to boost sales, and the overall business environment in Poland,” says Zjawiński. This environment of ideas and openness created “a type of ecosystem”, which gave birth to the commercial side of TechMine – namely – TechMine Sp. Z o.o. explains Zjawiński. The company hopes to become a leader in the region in business training and consulting services for small and medium sized companies. In March, TechMine established a cooperation deal with The University of Silesia in Katowice, with the two agreeing to partner up in providing entrepreneurship courses to young entrepreneurs on how best to negotiate sales, marketing, project management. “I hope to add a few consultants by the close of this year, as well as make seed investments in about 3 companies” explains Zjawiński. by Andrew Nawrocki
A Museum of the Living More than a decade in the making, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews opens its doors
The interior's sand coloured
passageway depicts the parting of the Red Sea. These curved concrete walls are not just designed to please the eye - as weight bearing walls, they support the museum's central structure.
‘The concept was built on a very compact design. It is minimal architecture’ Liam Nolan covers Polish current affairs for the Irish press, RTÉ Radio and NPR news. From 2004 to 2011, Liam directed and produced television programmes for Irish broadcasters RTÉ, TG4 and Setanta. He holds a MA in Communication from Université Lumière Lyon II and a B.Sc in Film & Broadcasting from DIT, Ireland.
One week before the opening of the
and especially how to adapt the buildnewly built Museum of the History of ing to its environment,” says Mahlamäki. Polish Jews in Warsaw’s Muranów dis- Rather than fit the exhibition into trict, Rainer Mahlamäki – the Finnish a pre-designed space, the Finnish archiarchitect who designed this gleam- tect and his team designed with the ing glass panelled structure – is sip- scheme of the core exhibition in mind. ping an espresso in the museum’s Some entries proposed protruding, jagluminous staff area. Calm and com- ged triangular structures, which could posed, the 57-year-old architect is at have stuck out like a sore thumb among the end of a journey that began back Muranów’s functional post-war blocks. in 2005 when his design, entered Mahlamäki however, favoured a more by his Helsinki-based studio Lahdelma subtle approach. “The building does & Mahlamäki, was chosen as the win- not have an expressive shape. The conning entry, ahead of over 100 entries cept was built on a very tight and comfrom around the globe. Indeed, the task pact design. It is minimal architecture,” of designing and building a museum he says, adding that he felt it was imporcapable of conveying the story of one tant to “respect the spirit of this place thousand years of Jewish history in and the spirit of the park-like area.” Poland was a monumental undertaking for all involved. “We are talking Sacred ground about a very complex project and dur- The origins of the project date back ing the competition phase, we offered beyond Mahlamäki’s involvement to a lot of time to study the programme, 1996 when historian Jerzy Halbersztadt
and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw initiated calls for a museum. Built on sacred ground – the site of Warsaw’s once thriving Jewish district and subsequently the walled wartime ghetto created by the city’s German Nazi occupiers in 1940 – the museum marks a significant chapter in Poland’s re-assessment of the contribution made by Polish-Jews to Polish life over the course of centuries, a topic which was almost entirely brushed aside from public discourse during 45 years of Communist rule. “Poles will recognise their history but see it in a different way,” says Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Program Director of the Core Exhibition, who has worked on the project since 2000 and whose father, a Polish-Jew, emigrated to Canada in 1934. “The visitors will know where they are geopolitically, but they have never thought about 10% of the population that lived
photos: Krystian Maj (Forum), Jakub Ostałowski (Fotorrzepa/Forum), Wojciech Kryński (Forum)
‘I would like people coming to Poland, who may have no interest whatsoever in the history of Polish Jews, to know that they cannot leave Poland without seeing this museum’
photos: Wojciech Kryński (Forum), Liam Nolan
One-third of the museum's space
will be occupied by the core exhibition. The remainder will include temporary exhibitions, a multipurpose cinema and concert hall, an educational centre, workshop rooms, as well as a restaurant and café.
here for a thousand years. They were high profile donors such as Polish-born a very visible, tangible part of the char- American entrepreneur and Holocaust survivor Sigmund Rolat, the Tad Taube acter of towns.” Mahlamäki and his team worked Foundation and prominent Polish busion the project with Warsaw-based nessman Jan Kulczyk to name but architects Kuryłowicz & Associates a few, the museum’s 175 multi-media from 2005. After an intense design installations will trace the story of early period of two years, it took ten Jewish settlers to the rise of Hassidism, months to find a contractor, Polimex- the Jewish enlightenment, the emerMostostal. Construction began in 2009 gence of modern forms of Hebrew and reached completion in time for and Yiddish culture, religious tolerthe 70th anniversary of the Ghetto ance and anti-Semitism, the horrors of Uprising in April. Sadly, those working the Holocaust and the story of Jews in on the project suffered a personal blow post-war Poland. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett in June 2011, when famed architect is keen to emphasise however, that the Stefan Kuryłowicz, who had played a museum will remember how Polishkey role in advancing the construction Jews lived, not just how they died. phase, died in a plane crash in Spain. His Unfortunately, the installations will not death was a big shock for all involved, be unveiled until later this year, meaning says Mahlamäki. visitors can only admire the architecBuilt at a cost of approximately ture for now. That said, the presence 200m zł and funded by the Polish of a wooden synagogue and its beaugovernment, the City of Warsaw and tifully ornate ceiling – a copy of a syn-
Rainer Mahlamäki Finnish architect Rainer Mahlamäki (born
1956) graduated from Tampere University of Technology in 1987. He's been Professor of Contemporary Architecture since 1997. Well known designs in his native Finland include the Folks Arts Centre in Kaustinen, the Lusto Finnish Forest Museum and the Physicum and Exactum buildings at the University of Helsinki. The Museum of the History of Polish Jews is his first project outside of Finland.
agogue from Gwozdziec (today the Ukrainian town of Hvizdets), destroyed by the Nazis like all of eastern Poland’s wooden synagogues – gives visitors a taste of the rich culture and history that will be on offer.
The museum experience Entering the museum, from the side of the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, visitors traverse a central bridge, which
The museum's copper and glass façade. The glass
panels are adorned with a printed pattern of letters in Latin and Hebrew, spelling the Hebrew word Polin, meaning “here” (po) “you should dwell” (lin).
Nalewki Street Before the cataclysmic events of World
War Two, the site upon which the new museum in Muranów now stands was a focal point of Warsaw’s thriving Jewish district, brimming with businesses and cultural activity. Pre-war Nalewki street alone (adjacent to the site of the museum) was home to over 700 small businesses and shops. Nazis ordered the walling of an area of 1.5 square miles in November 1940, thus creating the city’s Jewish ghetto, and cramming over 400,000 Jews – natives of Warsaw and its surrounding towns – into less than 4 square kilometres. Disease and starvation ensued until the Nazis deported over 300,000 of Warsaw’s Jews to Treblinka extermination camp between July and September 1942. Finally, it was here that Jewish fighters staged the Ghetto Uprising in April and May of 1943 in an effort to resist the Nazis' final liquidation of the ghetto. Following the crushing of the Uprising, the ghetto was razed to the ground by German forces.
Mahlamäki describes as a link between the past and the future. “The past is the history of Warsaw, but also the history of the monument, of the ghetto, and the future is ahead. That’s the chronological order that is hidden in the design,” says Mahlamäki, adding that the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes (which commemorates Jewish fighters who staged the Ghetto Uprising of 1943) was “one of the starting points in terms of how
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is hoping that to give the basic shape to our design”. With both the museum and the monu- the museum will replicate the “Bilbao ment facing each other, the once soli- effect”, a reference to renowned architary space inhabited by the monument’s tect Frank Gehry’s landmark design chiselled figures now looks and feels of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, complete, or as Mahlamäki says, allows which has attracted in excess of ten both structures to “enter into a dialogue million visitors since opening in 1997. with each other”. What is strikingly “I would like to think that people comnoticeable about the museum’s design ing to Poland, who may have no interis the contrast between its minimal est whatsoever in the history of Polish glass panel exterior and curvaceously Jews, know that they cannot leave the shaped interior, which takes the form of country without seeing this museum,” sand-coloured waves. The design of this she says. The notion of imbuing Warsaw central hall was “the key to the architec- with a touch of the 'Bilbao effect' does ture of the building,” says Mahlamäki as not seem that far-fetched. Fifteen he points out that the wave-like walls thousand people lined up to visit the are “not just for aesthetics”, but are museum during its inaugural open weight-bearing walls, which support house weekend in late April – a sign of the building’s central slabs. Describing the increasing interest among Poles in the central hall’s design as “a metaphor this chapter of their country’s history. for the splitting of the red sea,” he tells “My goal is that the visitors should leave me that this section of the project was curious, wanting to learn more,” says the most demanding aspect. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett. by Liam Nolan
While the Museum of the History of Polish Jews covers
the entire story of Poland's semitic population from its earliest origins to the present day, the dark days of the 2nd World War loom large, with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising providing the terrible crescendo. Poland Today brings you exclusive firsthand accounts from two eyewitnesses.
Eyewitness: To divide the human race Jakub Gutenbaum was sent to Majdanek, where he was separated from his mother and brother, who he never saw again
In 1939, I was ten years of age and a very happy child. We were a close-knit, happy family – my parents Aron and Rywa were teachers. My brother Chaim was three years younger than me. We lived in a mixed area at 42 Żelazna Street, which was not in the Jewish district. There were different inhabitants: Poles, Jews and even a German family. Before the war there were no problems between neighbours. But when the Germans invaded Poland, our German neighbour put on a German uniform. My mother thought that no harm would come to us from such cultured people as the Germans. My father was an activist in the Bund party the Jewish Socialist Party. He was afraid of German repression and escaped to the USSR. We stayed in Warsaw. As far as I know, my father was deported to Novosibirskaja (Siberia) – we call them Gulags today. I don’t know what happened to him. The last time that I saw him he was on a horse and cart with others who were leaving the city at evening time. Then he disappeared. We only ever received one postcard from Siberia from ‘Tato’ (Dad).
In July ‘42, they started sending Jews from the ghetto to Treblinka. The Germans announced that only those Jews that worked for them could stay. People were getting cards that stated that they were working for German organisations. People called this card the ‘numbers of life’. The Germans and the police sent Jews to the Umschlagplatz deportation point, which is now near Stawki Street. Every day they were sending 7,000 to 8,000 people away in wagons to Treblinka. News came at that stage that Treblinka meant death. After the displacements, from half a million Jews, one-tenth was left.
The Uprising begins
On the morning that the Ghetto Uprising started, there was a knock at our door. Three men with rifles and revolvers woke us up and said the Germans had surrounded the ghetto and for certain they would be continuing to remove people. They told us to hide ourselves in our bunker or anywhere that we could save ourselves. At that time, the entire ghetto was building underground shelters and bunkers. We had been hiding for two weeks, from Life in the ghetto 19 April to 2 May, when the Germans Things changed when the Germans discovered our bunker on Zamenhof announced the closure of the ghetto in Street. Maybe someone informed. They November 1940. We had to exchange came into our shelter with machine our apartment for an apartment inside guns and pistols and ordered us at the ghetto. One day a German SS gunpoint to get out. I was still with my mother and my little brother, Chaimek. officer and a woman came to our home and ordered us to leave within 24 hours. In Umschlagplatz, they were murderWe then moved to Franciszkańska ing us, hitting us, demanding money. Street, which was inside the ghetto. It was terrible. Being separated from I remember groups of Jews coming into my mother was difficult. They started dividing the women and children from the ghetto looking famished. They were the men into two sides. And then my corpse-like people who didn’t have Professor Jakub Gutenbaum was born in much in life. At that time I worked as Warsaw in 1929 and is a retired engineer, spemother and brother weren’t there. cialising in automation and robotics. He sura messenger in the ghetto. I travelled They sent us to the concentration camp vived the Warsaw Ghetto, Majdanek concentraa few kilometres each day delivering tion camp, and the Skarżysko-Kamienna and in Majdanek where they murdered people with cyclone gas. My mother letters from one side of the ghetto to Schliebe work camps. In 1955, he graduated the other. I saw corpses of children in from the Moscow Energy Institute and began and brother disappeared. working at the Polish Academy of Sciences, the morning in the streets and children In Majdanek, there were five fields obtaining his PhD in 1962 and doctorate in 1968 begging. People were living in terri- at Warsaw Polytechnic. In 1978, he received the divided by barbed wire fences. The fifth ble conditions in places like cinemas title of professor. A polyglot, he speaks fluent field was for women and the fourth was and prayer halls. There were food Russian, Italian, German and French. Jakub for men. There was about 100 metres lives in Warsaw with his wife Irena. between the fourth and fifth field, but allowances for every person – one loaf you could communicate so I went there of bread for a few people. There was to see if there was someone who I might know. But when some marmalade but that didn’t last long enough. Half a million people had to live on something, so there I came back I was told that while I was gone, the guards had were very clever ways of smuggling food. For example, taken ten or more young boys to peel potatoes. So I went to on Koźla Street, there was a house whose windows faced the director of the kitchen and asked him to please take me the ghetto side and the other side faced the ‘Aryan’ side. to the rest of the boys. Because I went to the kitchen, the The windows were blocked with nets, but it was still pos- director kicked me out. As it turned out, all of the boys from sible to funnel milk and oil through the nets with rubber that group had been taken to the gas chamber. All of them tubes. There were even places where people used drain were gassed. I have lots of examples of these chance incipipes to transfer flower to a building on the Jewish side. dents. I survived because of chance. All of these actions Everyone was adjusting to the situation. During four years, by the Nazis are impossible to explain logically. To divide I didn’t taste eggs, milk or meat. the human race is mad, insane. interview by Liam Nolan photo: Liam Nolan
Eyewitness: And then I was alone Krystyna Budnicka endured the disapearance of her family members one by one during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
“I was born and lived at number 10 Muranowski Square
May 1943, buildings burn as the
Nazis ruthlessly put down the Ghetto Uprising. The ghetto was subsequently razed to the ground.
in Warsaw’s Jewish district. My family was a traditional Jewish family who obeyed the commandments and Jewish traditions. I had six brothers and one sister so I was a little bit spoilt by the rest. Most of my brothers were adults. There was a 21-year gap between my oldest brother and me. My father ran a small carpentry workshop in the cellar of the building where we lived, and my eldest brothers worked with him. My oldest memories are of family celebrations, guests arriving, aunts, uncles and cousins in the house. It was a modest but loving household. All of my life during the occupation was about losing the people nearest to me. From having a big family in 1939, by 1945 I was on my own. It was a nightmare. There were continuously fewer of us. It started when two of my brothers and their families were sent to Treblinka. One day my father, who had a very beautiful white beard, came back from the street. A German soldier had cut half of his beard off. The soldier started dancing around him and making fun of him. My father became broken – it humiliated him as a human being. He couldn’t look after the family anymore so my brother Rafał became the leader of the family. My brothers built a bunker and we all started living in it from January 1943. There was tap water, there was light, and next to it we had a very strong basement that had reenforced concrete. A tunnel connected the bunker to the sewers. We kept our reserve food in the cellar, or as much as we could have in the ghetto. When the Uprising (Ghetto Uprising) flared up on 19 April, my three remaining adult brothers went out to fight. My 13-yearold brother Jehuda and I stayed in the bunker with my parents and sister Pola. We heard the sounds of what was going on. There was no enthusiasm. The fight was to signify that we are fighting. The Germans poured petrol from house to house and set them alight. There were explosions all of the time. Our bunker’s overhead slab collapsed and there was fire all around us. We were literally in an oven so we had to escape to the sewers. We sat in them – they were oval shaped and were lined with wooden boards for people to walk on. The ghetto was one big fire, one big plume of smoke. People were desperate to escape. To get out from the sewers they had to climb out of the manholes. The Germans quickly realised what was happening in the sewers and whoever appeared from the manholes – they shot them like ducks. Then the Germans started throwing gas into the sewers. So we were stuck between gas and an oven. The walls became green from the gas. We put some wet
Krystyna Budnicka was born as Hena Kuczer in Warsaw in 1932,
the youngest of eight children of Józef-Lejzora and Cyrli Kuczer. Krystyna took the name Budnicka after being helped by a childless couple, Mr and Mrs Budnicki, who looked after her in their home on Dobra street. Following the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, Krystyna lived in an orphanage run by Grey nuns until 1952. She later studied pedagogy at Lublin Catholic University and the Institute for Special Education in Warsaw, and became a tutor of children with disabilities.
cloths over our faces. When they threw the gas we went back to the hot oven. We still had water inside the bunker so we were pouring water over us. When we got too hot, we went back to the gas that was dispersing. For a few days in a row, we were moving like this until the walls of the bunker cooled down. Then we were practically cut off from the whole world because the ghetto didn’t exist anymore. We didn’t know how many people were left in the ghetto. In September, six months after the uprising, we were still in the bunker. We had two bags of oats and some medicine and we kept a regime everyday. We cooked the oats and ate small portions, so they lasted a long time. We swapped day for night and night for day.” In September 1943, members of the Polish resistance made contact with the family and a rescue was organised to remove the remaining family members one by one via the sewers. Krystyna’s brother Rafał was rescued first because he had a typhoid infection. Then, after waiting in the sewers for two days under a manhole, Krystyna and her brother Jehuda were removed. Her parents – too weak to move to the escape point and accompanied by her sister Pola – stayed in the sewer passageways. Krystyna never saw them again. “I hadn’t seen light in nine months. We were thin like skeletons so we were able to fit into sacks. They moved us to Mokotowska street to a basement cellar. A doctor came and prescribed us a diet. Jehuda had got a blood infection and died within a couple of weeks. Only my brother Rafał and I remained from my whole family. The house caretaker was bringing food to us. Then, in January ’44, the son of the caretaker brought the Gestapo. They took my brother, the housekeeper and his son. I had previously been taken to another hiding place. The young man had betrayed his own father. So at the end of the war I was on my own. I was the youngest and the weakest. For a long time afterwards, I never spoke about what had happened to me.” interview by Liam Nolan
‘It was a nightmare. There were continuously fewer of us’
photo: Jewish Historical Institute
It happened in... June Bielsko-Biała, 6 June 1973: the first Polish ‘Maluch’ rolls off the production plant
The Polski Fiat 126p, often crammed
First open presentation of
photo: Mirosław Stankiewicz (Forum), Krzysztof Pawela (Forum)
the licenced Fiat 126p took place in Warsaw in 1972. The car was intended to be the first vehicle available for the average Polish family
‘In Hungary it is known as kispolszki, meaning little Polish’
with squashed family members and anything that could be traded, from fur coats to flimsy electric drills, was a familiar sight on the pot-holed streets of Communist Poland. The ‘p’ was to distinguish it from the original Italian model, whose nickname ‘Bambino’, meaning ‘child’, mirrored the Polish pet name ‘Maluch’, or ‘little one’. The affectionate term became so popular that in 1997 it was accepted by the producer as the official name. Another nickname was ‘Kaszlak’, literally meaning ‘cougher’ after the sound the engine makes when it starts. In Hungary it is known as ‘kispolszki’, meaning ‘little Polish’, and sometimes by the nickname ‘egérkamion’, ‘a mouse's truck’. The car was produced by Fabryka Samochodów Małolitrażowych (FSM) in the towns of Bielsko-Biała and Tychy under Italian Fiat licence between 1973 and 2000. The car kept up with the times - in January 1997 the catalytic converter was introduced. The millionth vehicle was produced in 1981, the year that martial law was declared. By the time production finished on 22 September 2000, 3,318,674 of the iconic little four-wheelers had rolled off the production line. All 1,000 Fiats of the last limited Happy End series were yellow or red, 500 of each colour. For Poles the Maluch is indelibly linked with the Polish People’s Republic, in particular with communist party leader Edward Gierek, under whose tenure sales of the car increased rapidly, in no small part due to his desire to be seen as the great provider of consumer goods to the nation. Despite this, families sometimes still had to wait for up to a couple of years before they could purchase one, such was the waiting list. The price was also prohibitive. According to an article on Polskie Radio’s website, the first cars cost 69,000 zł at a time when the average monthly wage was 3,500 zł. As time went by it got more affordable, becoming an ubiquitous presence on the road in the 70s and 80s. Recently an almostnew model from 1979 went under auction on Allegro for zł 1 mln, attracting huge media interest. In the end it didn't sell. This was fitting. The Maluch never pretended to be something it wasn't, which is part of the appeal.
by Richard Stephens
Hundreds of brand new Maluchs on
the FSM factory lot in the town of Tychy, 1978.
comes from the town and municipality of Tornio in Lapland, Finland. The municipality covers an area of 1,348.55 square kilometres and has a population of 22,524. He arrived in Katowice in February of this year to study Business Management. He would like to go into the travel & tourism business and work around the world, starting by trying to attract more people to his native Lapland.
Taking in the Silesian sights An Erasmus student sets off to discover his new surroundings
I had a lot of options when deciding
‘Katowice is a great place to go out at night – it really comes to life.’
where to spend my Erasmus year. It was up to me completely – no one else had any influence. I chose Poland because I had the preconception that it’s a changing society, but also a lot of fun for students. I did some online research and chose Katowice from reading articles and seeing a promotional video about the city on YouTube (I just checked but it doesn’t seem to be there any more). All I knew about Poland before I came was that the girls are beautiful, the peo- dents as well as other Erasmus students. ple are friendly and came from what To be honest Poland is not as developed I saw of the EURO 2012 coverage. as it was made out to be in the promoI also knew that Katowice was recently tional materials – Katowice, for example, a European Capital of Culture. But it is a city under construction, and many wasn’t about the city, it was because stores don’t accept credit cards, which I specifically wanted to study at the can be frustrating at times. University of Economics (Uniwersytet But overwhelmingly it has been Ekonomiczny w Katowicach) here. The a good experience so far, one I won’t lessons are in English, and I get the want to forget. I came with a friend chance to study alongside local stu- but I’ve made a lot of Polish friends
since I arrived, as well as some fellow Erasmus students. Concerning the actual studying, it’s been interesting but less demanding than I thought it would be. In our spare time we walk around the city, play football, go to clubs and bars. Katowice is a great place to go out at night – it really comes to life. I like Polish food a lot, especially pierogi. I miss Finnish food but I haven’t cooked any since I arrived in Poland because I don’t cook – I leave that to my friends.
Saturday: Sosnowiec and the Silesia Culture and Recreation Park During the weekend, the photographer – Piotr, who is from Katowice – and I decided to go first to Sosnowiec on Saturday because of its historical significance as a mining and industrial hub for Poland, and because it’s close to Katowice. Many buildings in Sosnowiec
Silesia Culture and Recreation Park This 620-hectare park – the largest of its kind in Europe – was created in the 1950s from an initiative by local politician Jerzy Ziętek, who wanted to restore a piece of industriallyravaged land situated in the centre of this urbanized region. The designated area was 75 percent devastated by mining and industrial waste, with the rest being undesirable marshland and dead trees. This initiative was one of the most ambitious and pioneering environmental renewal projects ever undertaken in Europe. The park boasts extensive green areas for picnics, dog walks and taking in a little nature, in addition to being home to a stadium, a zoological garden, a planetarium, an amusement park, a water sports complex and an ethnographic park, among many others. There are also many hotels, restaurants and cafés surrounding the park, making it an ideal destination for a day trip – or a family vacation. www.parkslaski.pl
used to be exclusively used by the miners and they are epic to behold. We then went to the Park of Recreation and Culture (Wojewódzki Park Kultury i Wypoczynku), which appealed to us because it’s one of the top attractions in Katowice. The weather was pretty awful – it was cold, grey and rainy – so we couldn’t do much, but we saw the amusement park, the water park, the Rose Garden and the Zoo. I was really impressed by the scenery and how peaceful it was, and I look forward to coming back when there’s better weather.
English-language brochures. They do offer English-language tours for groups, but you have to book in advance. The most interesting information was about how the miners carried out their daily work, but again the language barrier prevented me from knowing more. Although it was a very interesting three hours, I have to admit to being quite relieved to get back into the fresh air.
by Samuel Desh
‘I chose Poland because I had the preconception that it’s a changing society, but also a lot of fun for students.’
Sunday: The Kopalnia Guido Coal Mine On Sunday the weather still wasn’t great, but it didn’t really matter as we would be going underground, to the Kopalnia Guido restored coalmine in the city of Zabrze near Katowice. The mine was the centre point of the surrounding community and for me it was a chance to see such an important part of the local heritage. The coal mine has two viewing levels, one 150 metres down, the other 300 metres down. It was cold, but at least it wasn’t dark as there was a lot of light. There was a lot of impressive machinery, though unfortunately I wasn’t able to find out about them because the guide spoke only Polish and there were no
The Kopalnia Guido Coal Mine The Kopalnia Guido Coal Mine was opened in 1855 in Zegrze by magnate and industrialist Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck, with the original intent to provide coal to the nearby Donnersmarck mill. Having long since retired as an active coal mill, this historical monument now attracts tourists with its shafts that descend to a depth of 320 metres, making it the deepest visitor mine in all of Europe. The tourists go underground in a genuine mine cage. The possibility of touching a coal deposit is a big attraction. Visitors are able to go back in time on the higher floor (at 170m below), where recreations of coal mining life around 1900 are on display. Since 2008, the mine has also provided a unique venue for concerts, theatre performances and exhibitions. The mine is a part of the Industrial Monuments Route of the Silesian Voivodship. The region's industrial heritage is gaining importance and becoming more and more popular.
photos: Piotr Sopalski
Indulging your foodie passions With the myriad of upcoming food festivals, summer in Poland is the ideal time to test your palate on Poland’s most treasured delicacies
The popularity of
Polish food festivals and organic produce markets has grown significantly in recent years as more and more people seek out the best traditional, local products out there. Here pictured is the Warsaw's weekly Targ Śniadaniowy.
Kashubian strawberries are the first
Polish fruit to be protected under EU law. Their unique taste comes from a high sugar content attributed to the hot days and cool nights of the lake district region in which they are grown.
POLISH SPECIALTIES When visiting food festivals, here are some of the local specialties to be on the lookout for: Charcuterie: smoked hams (szynki) and sausages (kiełbasy) – made from pork. Also look out for kabanosy, a jerky-like, long, thin sausage (usually made from pork). Some producers also propose lamb, goat and venison sausages; goose breast (półgęsek) – an ancient specialty made from boneless goose breast with the skin on, cured and slowly smoked.
festivals came about in Poland just a few years ago, with the purpose of promoting unique local food products and the culinary heritage of individual regions. Most of them take place in summer time. If you want to get a bit more familiar with the local specialties, try to visit one of the food festivals listed below.
June 29-30: Strawberry lovers flock to Magdalena Kasprzyk-Chevriaux
is an attorney and food blogger with a passion for cooking. She has worked at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and is a graduate of the Law Faculty of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Magdalena strives to promote Polish culinary traditions abroad and to revive long-forgotten recipes, sometimes by organising special foodie events in Poland. She is the author of the culinary blog tastycolours. blogspot.com
the open-air “Strawberry Festival” in Brodnica Górna, a town situated in the selected in semi-finals taking place in picturesque Kashubia region (Kaszuby) June and July in Oświęcim, Nowy Sącz, in the north of Poland. Strawberry pro- Zakopane, Nowy Targ, Tarnów and duction is one of their local specialties. Miechów. Each year around 30,000 people visit the event. August 24-25: One of the most renowned festivals has to be the August 15-18: Time for the Ogólnopolski Festiwal Smaku w Grucznie (Festival of Festiwal Dobrego Smaku (National Flavours in Gruczno) in this little town Festival of Good Flavours) in Poznań – by the Vistula River located in northern the capital of the Wielkopolska region Poland, in the Kujawsko – Pomorskie in the west of the country. Producers region. It welcomes producers of artipresent their local specialties from the sanal and organic food products, region of Wielkopolska, and from other parts of Poland. September 7-9: The Europejski Festiwal Smaku w Lublinie (European Festival August 25-26: Head to the historical city of Flavours in Lublin) is the largest of Kraków for the Małopolski Festiwal food festival in this beautiful part of Smaku (Małopolski Festival of Flavour) the country. This exquisite food event food festival. The Great Final of the 9th is accompanied by workshops and edition of the festival will be held in Plac shows with professional cooks as well Wolnica – where you can taste the best as by cultural events: concerts, exhibiregional food products and dishes, tions and lectures.
Cheeses: “korycińskie cheeses” (sery korycińskie) – traditional cheeses from the east of Poland, close to the famous Biebrza National Park, often flavored with various herbs. Search for the excellent farmer’s cheeses (sery zagrodowe) made of non-pasteurized goat, sheep, or cow’s milk. And of course, oscypek, bryndza and bundz from the Podhale region. Fruit preserves: traditional ones as well as
some with the addition of non-traditional Polish spices; don’t forget to ask for the traditional plum preserves (powidła) as well as naturally pressed fruit juices (soki) and fruit syrups (syropy).
Alcohols: liqueurs (nalewki) - traditional
strong alcoholic beverages (around 40%), prepared by maceration of herbs, fruits or spices. They are usually aged; Mead (miód pitny) - honey wine, an alcohol produced by fermenting a solution of honey and water; try also to find producers of Polish wines (yes, wines!) and beers from small breweries.
Breads: all possible types of organic wheat,
spelt and rye breads with the addition of spices and seeds.
Pickled goods: pickled cucumbers and cabbage, pickled mushrooms and pickled vegetables. Smoked freshwater fish: for example, smoked eel and trout.
Organic Oils: canola (or rapeseed) oil (olej
rzepakowy) and flaxseed oil (olej lniany) – both made from Polish non-modified seeds and rich in unsaturated fatty acids.
Honeys: from small apiaries from various types of local trees and flowers.
71 Health Matters Building a sustainable healthcare system for Poland
Health Matters will discuss
the current shape of the Polish healthcare sector and explore how both public and the private sectors can best work together to build a more sustainable healthcare system. Participants will include: private healthcare providers, insurance companies, hospital management, legal experts, healthcare consultants and hospital planners & designers. as well as private equity funds.
An excellent networking opportunity, expert panels will discuss: • Healthcare legislation • Financing sources and structures for clinics & hospitals • Case studies of efficiently designed hospitals • Telemedicine: a major development in diagnostics • Healthy aging
Date and venue to be announced
Chase the summer A roundup of music, cultural and artistic events coming up soon in Poland, so there’s no excuse for sitting at home and twiddling your thumbs.
Spanish art armada to everybody's favourite musical doctor, culture-vultures are swarming with top-notch ideas and events to woo you and your nearest and dearest, so switch off your tablet and leave your calendar open - there are some real gems on offer over the coming weeks and months.
cultural round up
Dr. House in the House!
is an Irish writer who has contributed to the Irish Times, The Sun and TheJournal.ie. His satirical travel book about Euro 2012 reached no. 1 in Ireland last year. Based in Warsaw since 2006, he speaks Polish. He is online editor of poland-today.pl.
Attention all Gregory House fans, your chance to see the infuriatingly indomitable author, actor and musician Hugh Laurie will take place on 6 June in a one-off performance at the Palace of Culture and Science. The two-time Golden Globe winner has built up a colossal fan-base worldwide playing the role of the eccentrically loveable doctor, yet still somehow finds time to perform his magical vocal and piano skills. The percussion and saxophones on his debut album 'Let Them Talk' cast a spell on fans in 2011, selling over a million copies worldwide. His second album 'Didn't it Rain', which sees him venturing towards the heart of America, has recently hit the shelves. Well worth grabbing a ticket - from 180 zł up.
In the Heart of the Country
Primarily containing works purchased as part of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage’s 'International Collections of Contemporary Art' programme, this largest ever collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw is just a taste of what will be housed in the museum's future building on Plac Defilad. Behold a feast of over 150 exhibits, including works from artists like Sanja Iveković, Zbigniew Libera, Sharon Hayes and Paweł Althamer; 150,000 negatives from eminent photographer Eustachy Kossakowski; as well as films and photographs charting the activities of Professor Grzegorz Kowalski’s workshop at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, a quintessential element of Polish art since the 90's. There is also a collection of several hundred films by artists, available online in the Museum’s Filmoteka. The exhibition is open: Tuesday – Sunday from noon till 8pm and admission is free.
Get out your skimpy shorts and tank tops, it's time to relive your youth and mix with music-lovers from around the country. The 10th Heineken Open'er Festival takes place on the 75 hectare Kosakowo Airfield in Gdynia for four days between Wednesday 3 and Saturday 6 July. A host of heavyweights are on their way, including Skunk Anansie, the Artic Monkeys, Blur, Queens Of The Stone Age, Kings Of Leon and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Art galleries, theatre shows and fashion competitions are also on the bill.
Getting 'Out There!' with the Beatle!
Lego concentration camp. This
iconic work by Polish best known contemporary artist Zbigniew Libera, is part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.
7 June in the Atlas Arena in Łódź Eric Clapton will be celebrating 50 years as a professional musician since first signing with the Yardbirds in 1963.
Just two years after Ringo Starr played Congress Hall in Warsaw, Poland is to be graced with the other surviving member of the Liverpudian legends. 'Macca', aka Paul McCartney - the world's richest musician (with an est. fortune of £680m) - is so valuable that even just the front door of his childhood home recently sold for more than £5,000 at an auction! We’re hoping that the Beatle, who in February won his 17th Grammy Award for last year's album 'Kisses on the Bottom', will repeat his recent Brazilian gig surprises and perform a few to-date unknown gems when he plays the National Stadium in Warsaw on 22 June. Two years ago professor Jerzy Eisler of the Institute of National Remembrance told Rzeczpospolita daily that Communist authorities thought of hiring the Beatles in 1966 in order to scupper the 1000th anniversary of Poland's adoption of Christianity, but due to crowd control fears they dropped the idea. Tickets range from a steep 242 zł to a colossal 1,100 zł.
Joan Miro's sculptures are part of the exhibition at the National Museum in Wrocław, where the collection of Fundación Banco Santander is currently on display.
Last year's selection of
artists at the Heineken Open'er festival gathered almost 100,000 public. The line-up for this year is also impressive.
Don't miss the opportunity to
fall in love with classical music. Warsaw's Copernicus Planetarium organizes a series of concerts for youth accompanied by a sky display inside the dome.
Musicalising the youth
Ex-Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl may seem an unlikely bedfellow of the Boston Philharmonic conductor Benjamin Zander, yet when it comes to their unbridled passion for music they speak in full harmony. The former hit the nail on the head recently while commenting on future great musicians: “You don’t need a f***ing computer or the internet or The Voice or American Idol”; while the latter, through his TED talks, has helped millions dig to discover their deep-seated love for classical music while encouraging them to turn away from the tide of reality music shows. "Starry Night Concert" is one such excellent example, a series of 10 performances at the Heavens of Copernicus Planetarium. Maria Gabryś showcases young talented musicians playing kid-friendly classical compositions from Bach to Chopin. The concerts on 14, 21 and 28 June will be accompanied by a sky display on the dome. Witness the "musicality" of the sky and the celestial inspiration of unparalleled classics. My daughters Mia and Emma will be in the front row. Come join them! Tickets are a steal at 18-64 zł in either 2D or 3D. Also, keep an eye on www.filharmoniamalucha.pl for their summer repertoire.
The National Museum in Wrocław has pulled off a major score with their 'Santander Collection: From Cranach to Picasso.' Organized by Fundación Banco Santander and Bank Zachodni WBK, Wrocław will be the first European city outside Spain to host this exhibition of the most significant Spanish painters and artists from the Spanish court to modern times, including works by Cranach the Elder, El Greco, Zurbarán, Van Dyck, Rubens, Tintoretto, Picasso and Miró. It has been open since March and closes on 6 June, so make sure you pencil it in when you are in Sląsk. Admission is just 10-15zł. More details at www.mnwr.art.pl
The Wall that unites Europe
As soon as you put down this magazine, you might want to rearrange your summer vacation around Roger Waters 'The Wall' gig in Warsaw's National Stadium on 20 August. Hailed as his triumphal return to Europe, if you have any doubts as to whether you should nab some tickets you may want to pay heed to the critics. The Times in London have remarked that “The Wall is a triumph of scale and ambition…. the pinnacle of rock achievement”, the Philadelphia Inquirer holds true that “The Wall Live is flawless. Everyone should see it once before they die.” And just in case you are still hesitant, then we'll leave you with the New York Post: “The best Arena show ever. Period.” Tickets are a steal, starting at just 198 zł.
And finally, ladies and gentlemen...
Eric Clapton's talent and emotional songs are superb enough to make grown men cry buckets on 7 June in the Atlas Arena in Łódź, where he will be celebrating 50 years as a professional musician since first signing with the Yardbirds in 1963. VIPs, prepare to fork out 808 zł; cash-strapped folks - 198 zł will get you past the bouncer. It would also be a sin not to mention that Bon Jovi are going to melt thousands of female hearts on 19 June at the PGE Arena in Gdańsk. In 2010, the musicians from New Jersey, wellknown for pulling off top drawer concerts, were the best earning group in the world. Tickets start at just 99zł. Polish rock icons Perfect will be performing at the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw on 20 June, so ex-pats will have a chance to hear the awesome voice of Grzegorz Markowski and classic hits like 'Kołysanka dla nieznajomej' for just 80 zł. On 25 July English electronic band Depeche Mode's 'The Delta Machine Tour' will be in Warsaw's National Stadium. The Essex group have had thirteen top 10 albums in the UK charts, two songs which debuted at No. 1 and sold over 100 million albums worldwide over three decades that redefined the sound of music. Tickets from 220-385 zł. Final words of advice: Given the odd weather, don't forget to bring a big pair of wellies, a raincoat and umbrella, no matter what cultural event you are heading to this summer!
Published on May 20, 2013
Published on May 20, 2013
Poland Today is an English-language media company operating in Poland. We operate in the niche that falls between the international coverage...