Gdańsk builds new home for Solidarity cultural centre

A dedicated museum, library and research centre will preserve the heritage of the freedom movement that was born in the city.

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The European Solidarity Centre (ESC) in Gdańsk will soon move to its new home, with space for a permanent exhibition and for researchers to consult its archive.

World-changing freedom movement

The ESC exists to preserve the heritage and ideas of the Polish Solidarity movement, which was founded in 1980 during a strike at Gdańsk Shipyard and went on to contribute, a decade later, to the fall of Communism in central and eastern Europe.

The organisation also takes a broader perspective, documenting freedom movements in modern history in Poland and Europe, and attempting to hand down to future generations an understanding and appreciation of the universal values of solidarity.

Popular visitor attraction

The ESC is already one of the most popular tourist visits in Gdańsk, capital of the region of Pomerania and Poland’s principal seaport. However, the new building will for the first time provide the organisation with its own premises on one site.

Located within the area of the former Gdańsk Shipyard, the centre will be composed of two wings: one three-storeys high, the other six-storeys, with a viewing terrace on top. It will host events, seminars, conferences and readings, supporting research and exploring the notions of freedom, justice and solidarity.

Thirty new jobs will be created to run the venue, which will house a permanent exhibition, temporary exhibitions, a library and reading room with space for 100 000 books, a library storage room with capacity for a further 100 000 volumes, and an archive with room for 40 000 records.

Planned to be ready well in advance of the 25th anniversary of the Solidarity Movement in 2015, the centre expects to welcome over 250 000 visitors each year from 2014, with many more in important anniversary years.

The 450 000 inhabitants of Gdańsk should also benefit from the greater visibility of the new centre, and thanks to its role in promoting the city’s unique cultural heritage.

Total and EU funding

The project “Construction of the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk” has a total eligible budget of EUR 66 659 115, to which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 38 455 310 in the programming period 2007-2013.

Draft date