The Imperial Shipyard is a place of great historic importance. From its origins in the 19th century to the memorable events, which led to the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
1380 Teutonic Knights
The settlement compound called the Young City (Jungstadt) was originally established by the Teutonic KnightsRead more
The settlement compound called the Young City (Jungstadt) was originally established by the Teutonic Knights in 1380 to create a counterbalance for the Main and Old Cities of Gdansk.
Its favourable location soon turned the Young City into a peer participant in the cross-European trade.
1455 Liquidation of the Young City
The Young City’s strong economic and political connections with the Teutonic Order ultimately doomed to its liquidation in 1455Read more
The Young City’s strong economic and political connections with the Teutonic Order ultimately doomed to its liquidation in 1455 after the outbreak of the 13-year war in 1454 on the order of the Polish king Casimir the Jagiellonian.
1453 – 1789 Modern Age
In the Modern Age, the expanse of the liquidated Young City district was used primarily for the continually growing timber warehousing business.Read more
In the Modern Age, the expanse of the liquidated Young City district, then outside the Mediaeval city walls of Gdansk, was used primarily for the continually growing timber warehousing business.
The project of developing the city’s modern defence system made use of the land as the location of bastions and elements of the external fortifications. The thus developed system remained unaltered until the Napoleonic era.
1807 Napoleon’s army marches in
The fortifications on site were the object of battle staged by the Polish troops.Read more
The fortifications on site were the object of battle staged by the Polish troops.
Later on, the area was incorporated in the Free City of Danzig proclaimed by Napoleon in July of the same year. Over the time of the Free City’s existence the French modernized e.g. its defense system including the fortifications within the Young City and on the Holm (Ostrow) Island.
1813 New siege
The Free City saw its end in 1813, during another siege.Read more
The Free City saw its end in 1813, during another siege.
This time it was attacked by the Prussians and Russians. The last defenders left the city in January 1814. After the Congress of Vienna Danzig was re-incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia in 1815.
1844 Royal Corvette Depot (Koenigliches Korwetten-Depot)
Following the events of 1815, the Prussians launched intense militarisation of the city.Read more
Following the events of 1815, the Prussians launched intense militarisation of the city.
In 1844 the Prussian Government purchased the land on the “Dead Vistula” to set up an anchoring base and repair yard for corvettes.
1853 Royal Shipyard (Koenigliche Werft)
Soon renamed to the Royal Shipyard (Koenigliche Werft Danzig) the plant grew to become a major warship buildingRead more
Soon renamed to the Royal Shipyard (Koenigliche Werft Danzig) the plant grew to become a major warship building facility of the Prussian Kingdom and the main Baltic base of the Prussian navy.
1871 Imperial Shipyard (Kaiserliche Werft Danzig)
After the Prussian-French war of 1871 and the proclamation of the German Empire the plant was renamed to Imperial ShipyardRead more
After the Prussian-French war of 1871 and the proclamation of the German Empire the plant was renamed to Imperial Shipyard(“Kaiserliche Werft Danzig”).
Together with the companies based in Kiel and Wilhelmshaven, the Imperial Shipyard of Gdańsk was one of the largest shipyards serving the developing Imperial Navy (“Kaiserliche Marine”).
Both before and during the First World War the Imperial Shipyard was one of the main submarine building centres.Read more
Both before and during the First World War the Imperial Shipyard was one of the main submarine building centres.
With the end of World War I, the Shipyard shared the fate of the German military industry and was doomed to liquidation under the order of the Versailles treaty.
1918 The Shipyard in the interwar period
After the end of the First World War in Germany there was a ban on military production.Read more
After the end of the First World War in Germany there was a ban on military production.
The Imperial Shipyard lost the status of a military establishment and the name of the Imperial Shipyard. A civil board was appointed, which he tried under the name Gdansk State Shipyard to perform various economic works.
1922 The International Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd.
In 1922, by virtue of the decision of the victorious powers, and international company was set upRead more
In 1922, by virtue of the decision of the victorious powers, and international company was set up with the English, French, and Polish equity interests, and a financial interest of the Free City of Danzig.
Its official name was The International Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Limited, though its German and Polish counterparts were also used (Danziger Werft und Eisenwerkstätten Aktiengesellschaft, or shortly Danziger Werft, and Stocznia Gdanska, respectively). The company built vessels for many foreign ship owners, e.g. from Argentina, Australia, and Brazil. Alongside shipbuilding, the shipyard pursued other manufacturing lines, e.g. various devices and machines, and even furniture and church bells.
When Gdansk was incorporated into the Third Reich, the ownership of the shipyard passed on to the CityRead more
When Gdansk was incorporated into the Third Reich, the ownership of the shipyard passed on to the City, and in 1940 it was assumed by the German state becoming the Danziger Werft A.G. During the Second World War U-boat production for the German navy (Kriegsmarine) was restored to the site, and this made it a target of the bombing raids. The Soviet army added to the destruction upon the capture of Gdansk and the shipyard in March 1945.
1945 End of WWII
When the Polish government took over the German shipyards in Gdansk in June 1945, the name of the former Danziger Werft was changed to Shipyard No. 1.Read more
When the Polish government took over the German shipyards in Gdansk in June 1945, the name of the former Danziger Werft was changed to Shipyard No. 1.
Merged with the neighbouring Shipyard No. 2 (previous German Schichau Werft), the two formed the Gdansk Shipyard in October of 1947. Upon reconstruction and modernisation, the plant took up shipbuilding anew. It was here that the first Polish seafaring collier ‘Sołdek’ was built and launched on November 6th 1948. Over the subsequent decades the yard produced vessels of various types compiling a record of over 1000 fully fitted boats. In 1967 the plant was named after Vladimir Lenin.
1970 Seeds of Solidarity
The Gdansk Shipyard soon became the region’s largest employerRead more
The Gdansk Shipyard soon became the region’s largest employer and at one point was the direct place of work for nearly 20,000 people It also became the stage of numerous labour strikes.
The most bloody event was the crew protest of December 1970. The drastic increase in retail prices of meat, meat products and other food products introduced by the Politburo of the Polish United Workers (Communist) Party on December 12th caused protests of workers in Poland -mainly in Gdynia, Gdansk, Szczecin and Elblag – which were suppressed by the militia and the army. Between December 14th and 22nd 41 people were killed and 1164 people were injured.
1980 August 14th
In the morning hours of August 14th 1980 the shipyard workers went on strike again in the defence of the disciplinary dismissal of Anna Walentynowicz.Read more
In the morning hours of August 14th 1980 the shipyard workers went on strike again in the defence of the disciplinary dismissal of Anna Walentynowicz.
A Strike Committee was formed, which formulated the following demands:
- Restoration of Anna Walentynowicz and Lech Wałęsa to work
- An increase of PLN 2.000
- Consent to build a monument to the victims of December 1970
- Safety guarantee for strikers
- Family allowances equal to the additions for MO (Citizens’ Militia) and SB (Security Service)
The Director of the Shipyard gives in and Lech Walesa announces the end of the strike.Read more
The Director of the Shipyard gives in and Lech Walesa announces the end of the strike.
However, a large group demands the continuation of the strike. They are afraid that without the Gdansk Shipyard the strikes in other, smaller plants will be suppressed without guaranteeing the implementation of the postulates. Lech Walesa changes his mind and announces at Gate No. 2 “Well, then we are striking. I will leave the shipyard last.” During the night, the Municipal Strike Committee is being formed, which later turns into an Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee. On the basis of the postulates of striking coast crews, the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee formulates on August 17th the 21 postulates.
August 31st 1980
Days of tension and negotiations followed, with tanks and armed units stationed menacingly outside the gates of the Shipyard.Read more
Days of tension and negotiations followed, with tanks and armed units stationed menacingly outside the gates of the Shipyard.
On August 31 the government backed down, agreeing to meet the 21 demands by signing the so called “Gdansk Agreements”. These historic event marked the first peaceful victory over communism and enabled the creation of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union “Solidarność” starting the process of striving for independence, freedom and social justice.
December 1981 Martial Law
Already during the wave of strikes in August 1980, the communist authorities considered the possibility of introducing martial law in order to stop social unrestRead more
Already during the wave of strikes in August 1980, the communist authorities considered the possibility of introducing martial law in order to stop social unrest and extinguish the nascent democratic movement.
The communists could not accept the threat of losing power. Under pressure from the eastern comrades, the authorities of the Polish People’s Republic on December 13, 1981 introduced martial law. Protests began throughout Poland at the news of arrests related to the introduction of martial law.
1988 May Strike
In the conditions of the deepening economic crisisRead more
In the conditions of the deepening economic crisis, strengthened by the introduction of martial law, increased repression of the underground structures of “Solidarity” and the ban on the activity of “Solidarity” Trade Union a wave of strikes broke out all over Poland.
On May 9th 1988, the Minister of Industry, Jerzy Bilip, presented to the Council of Ministers the information about “the initiation of proceedings regarding the liquidation of the Gdansk Shipyard”. Mainly for political reasons and without sufficient economic justification on October 29, 1988, the prime minister of the Polish People’s Republic government Mieczysław Rakowski decided to liquidate, the Gdansk Shipyard with effect on December 1st 1988. A wave of protests across Poland and the changing international situation finally prompted the authorities to start talks.
1989 Round Table Agreement
The so-called the Round Table sessions, which took place from February 6th to April 5th 1989 are one of the most important events in the recent history of Poland.Read more
The so-called the Round Table sessions, which took place from February 6th to April 5th 1989 are one of the most important events in the recent history of Poland.
This agreement led to the collapse of the communist system and first democratic elections in Poland on June 4th 1989. The opposition affiliated with NSZZ Solidarność won the elections and created the first post-war non-communist government with Tadeusz Mazowiecki, who on September 12th was approved by the Sejm as Prime Minister. This accelerated further systemic and economic changes in Poland, which became a sovereign democratic country with a market economy.
Early 90’s Difficult economic situation
The decision of the previous authorities resulted in many negative financial and organizational consequencesRead more
The decision of the previous authorities resulted in many negative financial and organizational consequences in the following years both for the Shipyard as an enterprise and for its employees.
The market situation, the anachronistic structure of production and the belief that any losses would be covered by the state treasury anyway, caused the Shipyard, then a joint stock company, inevitably heading towards bankruptcy in 1996.
Mid 90’s First revitalization attempts
At the request of the Gdansk Shipyard, Elmor, Gasworks and City authorities, in the years 1994 to 1996Read more
At the request of the Gdansk Shipyard, Elmor, Gasworks and City authorities, in the years 1994 to 1996, a “Study of the revitalization of the northern part of the city center of Gdansk” was established.
The team of prof. M. Kochanowski from the Gdansk University of Technology said: “As a result of the restructuring, instead of a mainly industrial and administrative center (this is the nature of Gdansk for over one hundred years), a modern port, dispositional, commercial, service and cultural center should develop. Such transformation will be an extremely difficult and complex process, but if it does not happen, Gdansk will enter the phase of stagnation and will take the position of a marginal center on the map of Europe. ” Professor Mieczysław Kochanowski presented preliminary conclusions from the “Study of revitalization” during the meeting of the Spatial Development Committee of the City Council of Gdansk on October 30th 1995.
After the bankruptcy of the Gdansk Shipyard and its subsequent acquisition by the Gdynia Shipyard, the company Synergia 99 was establishedRead more
After the bankruptcy of the Gdansk Shipyard and its subsequent acquisition by the Gdynia Shipyard, the company Synergia 99 was established, whose task is to act as a land developer – that is, develop the Young City project.
Within the first months of the company’s operation, initial studies were developed, showing the scale of possible investments. However, in order to check the correctness of these studies, the Gdansk University of Technology and the well-known urban design firm from the USA, Sasaki Associates, were invited to cooperate. In August 2000, a team of town planners headed by Dennis Pieprz from Sasaki – in cooperation with specialists from PG and many others local and international specialists – developed the “Vision Master Plan” – ie the spatial concept of shaping the entire area of the Young City, also covering the northern part of the area – currently occupied by still functioning slipways.
In March 2017 two Belgian developers, Revive and Alides, purchase the Imperial Shipyard areaRead more
In March 2017 two Belgian developers, Revive and Alides, purchase the Imperial Shipyard area with the aim to redevelop the site in a contemporary way that ensures respect for the rich history of the site, while transforming it into a new dynamic waterfront destination.