Kwidzyn (Polish pronunciation: [ˈkfʲid͡zɨn]; Latin: Quedin; German: Marienwerder; Old Prussian: Kwēdina) is a town in northern Poland on the Liwa river in the Powiśle (right bank of Vistula) region, with 40,008 inhabitants (2004). It has been a part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, and was previously in the Elbląg Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is the capital of Kwidzyn County.

Photos of Kwidzyn


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 53°44′9″N 18°55′51″E
Country Poland
Voivodeship Pomeranian
CountyKwidzyn County
GminaKwidzyn (urban gmina)
Established11th century
Town rights1233
  MayorAndrzej Krzysztof Krzysztofiak
  Total21.82 km2 (8.42 sq mi)
42 m (138 ft)
  Density1,700/km2 (4,500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code(s)+48 55
Car platesGKW


The Pomesanian settlement called Kwedis existed in the 11th century. In 1233, the Teutonic Knights built the Burg Marienwerder and established the town of Marienwerder (now Kwidzyn) the following year. In 1243, the Bishopric of Pomesania received both the town and castle from the Teutonic Order as fiefs, and the settlement became the seat of the Bishops of Pomesania within Prussia.[1] The town was populated by artisans and traders, originating from towns in the northern parts of the German empire. A Teutonic knight, Werner von Orseln, was murdered in Marienburg (Malbork) in 1330. He was among the first to be buried in the newly erected cathedral of the town.

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

The Prussian Confederation was founded in the town on March 14, 1440.[2] After the defeat of the Teutonic Knights in the Thirteen Years' War, the western part of their monastic state of the Teutonic Knights would by annexed by the Kingdom of Poland and would form the Polish province of Royal Prussia. The Bishopric of Warmia situated in the centre of the monastic state was also recognized as part of Poland. The remainder, known as Teutonic Prussia, to which Marienwerder belonged, was placed under Polish suizeranity as a fief. In 1525, the Teutonic state was transformed into a secular and Lutheran duchy under the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Order Albert, a political foundation only possible with consent of the Polish King Sigismund I the Old. The price had to be paid by remaining a Polish fief. In 1618 the ducal rights were inherited by the Brandenburg branch of the House of Hohenzollern and in 1657 the Brandenburg dukes severed ties with the Polish crown and in 1701 elevated their realm to the sovereign Kingdom of Prussia.

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

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

In 1910, according to the Prussian state census, the district of Marienwerder district had 68,446 inhabitants, 37.8% of which spoke Polish as their mother tongue. Marienwerder town (Kwidzyn) had 25,871 inhabitants, and 9.8% of them spoke Polish as their mother tongue.

In 1919, after World War I, the Marienwerder district was divided. The parts west of the Vistula were incorporated into the Polish Second Republic according to the Treaty of Versailles. Those parts contained 25,313 inhabitants, of which 81.3% spoke Polish. The parts east of the Vistula to which the town Marienwerder/Kwidzyn belonged, numbered 43,113 inhabitants, 87.6% of which spoke German and these expressed their national preference in anticipation of the definitive allocation and drawing of new national borders. A plébiscite was needed to eventually draw this new state border between Germany and the newly erected Polish republic. During the East Prussian plebiscite, some 95% of the population of the contested eastern parts - the districts of Marienwerder-Kwidzyn and Allenstein-Olsztyn - voted to remain in East Prussia, and consequently in Germany. The vote was largely boycotted by the ethnic Polish minority, confronted by the persecution of Polish activists by German nationalists.

On November 10, 1937, when the Nazi regime was in power in Germany, a Polish private high school was opened in Kwidzyn. It was forcibly closed down on August 25, 1939.[3]

On January 30, 1945 during World War II, the town was captured by the Soviet Red Army. The Red Army established a war hospital in the town for 20,000 people. The town centre was burned and pillaged by Soviet soldiers.

After World War II, the region was placed under Polish administration by the Potsdam Agreement, under territorial changes demanded by the Soviet Union. Most of the people of the town and district were Germans who fled or were expelled by Polish authorities, and were to be replaced with Poles, some of whom had themselves been expelled from the Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union. In 1947, Ukrainians from the Soviet border regions were forced to settle in the area as a result of Operation Vistula. Burned parts of the town's centre were dismantled to provide material for the rebuilding of Warsaw after its destruction in the Warsaw Uprising.


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

Year Inhabitants
1400approx. 700
1572approx. 700
1965approx. 13,000
The above table is based on biased primary sources from the time of Prussian Partition of Poland.[1][4][5][6][7]

Points of interest

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

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

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


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

The second biggest employer in Kwidzyn is Jabil, a global electronics manufacturing services company.[8]

The city has lower average crime and unemployment rates when compared to the national average rates of Poland.[8] These lower rates are attributed to sport programs for youth such as MMTS Kwidzyn (handball) and MTS Basket Kwidzyn.[8]

Notable people


International relations

Kwidzyn is twinned with:


  1. August Eduard Preuß: Preußische Landes- und Volkskunde. Königsberg 1835, pp. 441–444.
  2. Jürgen Sarnowsky: Der Deutsche Orden. Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-53628-1, p. 100 ff. (restricted preview).
  3. Andreas Lawaty, Wiesław Mincer and Anna Domańska: Deutsch-polnische Beziehungen in Geschichte und Gegenwart – Bibliographie. Vol 2: Religion, Buch, Presse, Wissenschaft, Bildung, Philosophie, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, ISBN 3-447-04243-5, p. 879 (restricted preview)
  4. Michael Rademacher: Deutsche Verwaltungsgeschichte Provinz Westpreußen, Kreis Marienwerder (2006)
  5. Der Große Brockhaus, 15th edition, Vol. 12, Leipzig 1932, p. 143.
  6. Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, 6th edition, Vol. 13, Leipzig and Vienna 1908, p. 299.
  7. Johann Friedrich Goldbeck: Vollständige Topographie des Königreichs Preußen. Teil II, Marienwerder 1789, pp. 3–6.
  8. Turystyka, historia, zabytki. Kwidzyn Moje miasto.
  9. 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 24, Schmidt, Heinrich Julian retrieved 9 November 2018
  10. "Stadt Celle". Retrieved 2010-01-05.


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