• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland


    Cultural ties bind Poland and the Netherlands for centuries. According to researchers in the matter, first contacts between Poland and peoples living in the Maas river area can be traced back to 12th century. In the field of culture however, the activity between two Poles and the Dutch begun to flourish in the 15th century, right after signing the Toruń Peace Treaty between Poland and the Teutonic Order. Especially rise of trade of works of art in that time had been significant. IN the 17th century, Dutch culture made its footprint in northern and central Poland, also thanks to settlement of Dutch Mennonites who established numerous colonies along the Vistula river.


    In Gdańsk, which had been a centre of Dutch activity in Poland, Dutch-styled clothing, furniture and other daily-use goods were very much popular among Poles. This harbor city also made home for a famous painting The Last Judgement (Laatse Oordeel) by Hans Memling, which can be seen till today. Moreover, there are many examples of Flemish altars – among other in St. Cross chapel in the St. Mary church in Gdańsk or altar in the church in Pruszcz Gdański.


    Thanks to vivid trade contacts between Wrocław and Antwerp, also in Lower Silesia one can see strong influence of Dutch culture – altars in many churches in Wrocław, Oleśnica, Legnica or Brzeg are perfect examples of it.

    Cultural relations were mainly focusing on Dutch artists living in Poland, Dutch portrait painters who depicted Poles in the Netherlands and Polish artists whose works were indirectly influenced by the Dutch masters. Also many Poles kept on purchasing Dutch works of art. Polish Royal House has been very fond of the Flemish arrases, which today can been seen in Wawel, Cracow.


    Important element of common Polish – Dutch cultural relations is a fact, that offspring of many Polish aristocrats and magnates went to study in Holland, for example brothers Jan and Karol Ogińscy or prince Janusz Radziwiłł, who studied in Leiden.   


    After secession of Southern Netherlands, Polish Catholics maintained ties with Belgium and protestants with the Netherlands.  


    In the 1970s, Polish – Dutch cultural contacts yet again begun to develop. To some extent it was fueled be Polish political emigration from the communist run country. This resulted in number of Polish – Dutch associations like Polish – Dutch Cultural Association which edits bilingual magazine on common cultural projects, Society of Polish-Dutch Friendship or Scena Polska – Pools Podium, which is active in the field of popularizing Polish cinematography, theater and cabaret.





    Tags: culture

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