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Bogdan Zdrojewski #2Bogdan Zdrojewski #4Bogdan Zdrojewski #1
Minister of Culture and National Heritage (2007-2014)

On 17 June 2014, the President of the Republic of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski, dismissed Bogdan Zdrojewski from his post as Minister of Culture and National Heritage. Bogdan Zdrojewski, who stood for and won election to the European Parliament, served in that post from November 2007. During his seven years in the government he never faced a vote of no confidence.

1.  Doubled the budget of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (from PLN 2 billion to nearly PLN 4 billion)
2. Record spending on expansion of culture infrastructure: over PLN 5 billion from the European Union (NOSPR, Opera Podlaska, Capitol, artistic schools, etc.)
  3. Multi-year government programmes (ECS, Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Chopin, Biblioteka +)
  4.  Introducing music and art as obligatory subjects in public primary schools
  5.  Initiating the process of recovery of lost works
  6.  Legislative initiatives (Public Procurement Act, joining libraries, secondary legislation)
  7.  National Reading Programme, increased spending on educational programmes
  8.  Transparency in grant processes (changes to application submission deadlines, three-year programmes, appeals process)
  9.  Over PLN 1 billion on historical objects (including 534 renovations of roofs on historical structures)
 10. One of the most important cultural congresses: the Congress of Polish Culture in Kraków (full inventory, and also the first cohesive programme proposals – an important meeting of representatives of the creative sector)
 11.  Revolution in the programme of museum institutions (7-fold growth in the number of children visiting museums, new museum lessons, entrance to museums for children up to 16 years of age for PLN 1, digitalization of collections, renovations)
 12.  Completed the National Programme for Monument Protection together with transfer of oversight of conservators from Ministry of Administration to Ministry of Culture
 13.  Musical grants for Polish music (also prime time for Polish music on radio stations)
 14.  Reform of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
 15.  New institutions: National Institute of Music and Dance
 16. Reform of institutions, amending their scope of activities: National Audiovisual Institute, National Heritage Board of Poland, Book Institute in Kraków
 17. Acquisition of real estate (NAI, Book Institute, Miodowa School of Music), won litigation for Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts
 18.  Excellent cooperation with local government at all levels, leading to a complete map of Poland’s infrastructure investments (Katowice, Opole, Gdańsk, Radom, Białystok, Łódż, Poznań, Lublin, Kraków, Warsaw, Kielce, Sanok, Częstochowa, Olsztyn, etc.)
 19.  Liberating culture from all overdue debts
 20.  Completion of many overdue investments
 21.  Europe’s best culture promotion campaigns: 2010, 2012
 22.  Reform of artist schooling (4 hours of group rehearsal)
 23.  56 new 1st-level music schools and 4 new 2nd-level schools
 24.  New artistic academy – Szczecin
 25.  Personnel policy (National Opera, IAM)
 26.  Digitization of collections at the BN and NAC – European record
 27.  Debate on culture in the Polish Parliament
 28.  Revolution in perceptions of culture and the Ministry itself
 29. Success in protecting heritage outside Poland’s borders (Paris Culture, Norblin, Moldavia, Monte Cassino, Bykownia, B. Piłsudski – Japan, Turkey)
 30.  Ultra-modern biographical museum (Chopin)
 31.  EOGsuccesses (two tranches of PLN 300 million each).

Below is a detailed description of the most important achievements of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in the period 2007-2014 by priority groups.

I. Financing of culture
The Ministry’s budget doubled from its 2007 level (from PLN 2 billion to nearly PLN 4 billion). An increase in spending on culture to 1% of the total state budget was the main postulate in the "Pact for culture" – a social compact between the government of Poland and the "Citizens of Culture" movement signed on 14 May 2011. In accordance with the assumptions of that document, this will be achieved in 2015 based on the prevailing trends in spending.

Poland has become a leader among European countries in spending on culture, with the continent’s largest pool of funding – 1 in 6 euros from structural funds for culture was spent in Poland, for a total of PLN 4.8 billion.

A total of 79 contracts have been concluded within the framework of Priority XI of the Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment. To date, 45 structures have been commissioned, including the seat of the Silesian Philharmonic in 2014, and in previous years the Stefan Jaracz Theatre in Olsztyn, concert halls at the Academies of Music in Wrocław and Łódź, the Musical Theatre Capitol in Wrocław. Renovation and revitalization works have been conducted at the Wilanów Palace and Gardens, the “Gardzienice” European Centre for Theatre Practices, the Culture Centre atthe Visitation Order monastery complex in Lublin, the Raczyński Library in Poznań, the Culture Centre at the monastery in Lublin, the Raczyński Library in Poznań, the European Centre for Polish Numismatics in Kraków, the School of Music in Sosnowiec; the façade of the Royal Castle in Warsaw has been renovated, as well as the European Centre for Music in Lusławice and the courtyard at Wawel castle. The allocation for the Operational Programme during the period 2014-2020 amounts to EUR 497 million (approx. PLN 2 billion).

Another source of financing is the EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism. Through 2009, Poland obtained nearly PLN 400 million for culture-related initiatives. This facilitated the completion of 34 projects, including extensive expenditures on monuments on the UNESCO World Heritage list (fortifications in Zamość, the Cloth Hall in Kraków, historical cellars in Warsaw) as well as projects related to Monuments of the History of Polish Presidents (e.g. the Wilanów Palace Museum). Funds from the Financial Mechanisms also went to support construction of modern infrastructure (such as the European Fairytale Centre) along with renovation and digitization of historical book collections (Cieszyń literary heritage).

The Polish allocation for the new financial perspective (through 2016) is PLN 320 million.
II. Ministerial Programmes

Independently of the reintroduction of obligatory school instruction in the arts, Ministerial Programmes provide a mechanism for funding of festivals, reviews, publishing activities and other initiatives. Funds for the Programme come from the state budget and the Fund for the Promotion of Culture.Applicants have been provided with a streamlined process following submission of an application in EBOI. New functions introduced into electronic formulas assist in completing application documents (checking correctness of data and indicating mistakes). These improvements have helped cut the number of formal errors in applications. The decision procedure is based on assessments by experts, and an appeals process has been implemented.

III. Multi-Annual programmes

The objective of the KULTURA+ Multi-Annual Programme, carried out in the years 2011-2015, is to improve access to culture and participation in rural areas and small towns through the modernization and construction of library infrastructure, coupled with the digitization of collections in Poland’s museums, libraries and archives.
The Programme is composed of two Priorities: “Biblioteka+. Library infrastructure” (PLN  150 million), involving the renovation, expansion and construction of library facilities in rural areas, and "Digitization", with the objective of expanding access to digital resources related to Poland’s cultural heritage through digitization of collections and expansion of digitization workshops.

Construction of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk
The Museum will be a modern facility in terms of both form and of its exhibitions, educational work and research initiatives. It is intended to disseminate knowledge about World War II, as well as to cultivate the memory of its victims and heroes. The Programme was conducted in the period 2011-2014, and received PLN 358.4 million from the state budget.

Construction of the Józef Piłsudski Museum in Sulejówek
As much as PLN 169 million is available to be spent on the museum’s preparation. The complex will be composed of a new museum and educational building (5,000 m2), “Milusin” (the family manor of Aleksandra and Józef Piłsudski), “Drewniak” and“Willa Bzów”, as well as a park and garden.

IV. Protection of monuments
In the years 2007–2013, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage spent over PLN 1.4 billion on conservation of monuments. Restoration and adaptation of monuments for new cultural functions was performed on nearly 2,600 objects.

The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage prepared a draft resolution for the establishment of a National Programme for the Protection and Care of Monuments for 2014 – 2017. On 5 June 2014, the head of the ministry Bogdan Zdrojewski presented the document to the Council of Ministers for consideration. The proposed changes to the present system for organizing protection of monuments aim primarily at ensuring coherent organizational, financial and substantive oversight of the work of conservators, to be exercised by the State Conservator of Monuments, working as an officer of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

A single, nationwide register of cultural property lost or looted in the aftermath of World War II has been commissioned - Its purpose is to publicize images of lost artwork. In operation since the beginning of the 1990s, the register is the primary source of information and an invaluable instrument in the struggle for restitution of Polish collections devastated as a result of confiscation, theft and destruction. To date, information about nearly 63,000 pieces of artwork has been collected. In recent years, the Ministry’s work has led to the return of 30 valuable works, such as Wojciech Gerson’s "Respite in a Tatra cabin", Aleksander Gierymski’s “Jewish girl with oranges” and “Bust of a man in Renaissance dress”, Julian Fałat’s “Before a hunt in Rytwiany” and “A hunt in Nieświeże”, “African girl” by Anna Bilińska-Bohdanowiczowa, and “Palace stairs” by Francesco Guardi.
V.  Artistic and cultural education

1 September 2014 will mark the completion of the curriculum reform for artistic subjects in public schools.  The changes – pursuant to an understanding between the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Ministry of Education - have been introduced gradually since 1 September 2009. From the beginning of the 2014/2015 school year all primary, lower secondary and upper secondary school pupils have received instruction music and plastic arts – an estimated 4 million children and youngsters. A modern packet of instructional tools has been developed specially for pupils and teachers: NINATEKA EDU (the first multimedia educational library of its kind in Poland), Muzykoteka Szkolna (a platform for music education), and Filmoteka Szkolna (all secondary schools in Poland will receive a packet of 55 selected feature, documentary and animated films, as well as supplemental materials for discussion).

On 1 September 2014, changes will take effect in the curriculum for 1st and 2nd-level artistic schooling. They are designed to improve opportunities for the professional development of graduates of artistic schools and post-secondary academies. The changes are focused on three areas: expanding ensemble play and work within a team (while ensuring special attention to the most highly-talented pupils), better correlation of subject-area content, and greater autonomy for directors in managing schools. These changes have been made necessary by the dynamically changing challenges of the job market, unsettling demographic trends, lowering of the schooling age and the development of new technologies.
Artistic schools are the subject of extensive interest, which has led to the decision to open new facilities. Since 2008, 56 new 1st-level and four 2nd-level music schools have been opened, as well as 9 artistic schools. The majority have been established in smaller towns, such as Siemiatycze, Solec Kujawski, Kozienice, Dobczyce, Żegocin, Nowe Miasto Lubawskie, Głogów Małopolski, Witowice, Brzesk and Domosławice.

2014 will also see the inception of a multiyear investment in the thermomodernization of artistic school. The project encompasses 156 facilities (over 60% of the schools operated by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage), and the planned value of the investment exceeds PLN 220 million. Higher artistic education has also become the object of immense interest–some faculties are seeing over 20 candidates applying for a single spot. These include foreign students, who presently constitute 3% of the artistic student population (in contrast, they constitute just under 1% of the total university student population). Since 2007, the budgets of artistic centres of higher education have grown by PLN 122 million.

Since 2008, a total of over PLN 6 billion has been spent to support and expand artistic and cultural education. The funds have been used to expand infrastructure, operate and equip artistic schools, and to develop educational resources and programmes.

VI. Supporting reading

1 January 2014 saw the inception of the National Reading Programme 2014-2020. The document encompasses the most important areas associated with reading and the presence of books on the market: promotion and popularization of reading and books among non-readers, support for the publishing of quality literature and cultural journals, training of bookstore staff, and legal regulations concerning the book market. An important Programme element consists of activities designed to change and enhance the role of libraries as the primary space for contact with books. This is associated with plans for modernizing library facilities, bringing library services up to contemporary standards, purchasing new materials, and training for librarians. Another of the Programme’s most important elements, designed to meet the challenges posed by civilizational changes, consists in work to provide legal access to books over the Internet. A billion PLN will be spent over six years in service of this aim.

 VII. Easier access to culture

Since 2013, the "Museum for one zloty" programme has been in operation – entrance tickets to all state museums for children and youth up to 16 years of age cost just PLN 1.00. There are 40 facilities presently participating in the programme, with more joining up on a regular basis. 2014 will also see the 3rd edition of the “Free November” programme. Four of the royal residences – Wawel Royal Castle, the Royal Castle in Warsaw, the Royal Łazienki Museum and the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów – will again open their doors to visitors for free. The first two editions of the programme generated nearly half a million visits to the four sites. 

  VIII. Digitization
By a decision of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, digitization tasks are carried out by Centres of Competence: the National Library (library materials), the National Heritage Board (monuments), the National Audiovisual Institute (audiovisual materials) and the National Digital Archives (archival materials), as well as the National Institute for Museums and Public Collections (digitization of museum collections). These institutions are responsible for implementing technological changes for digitization as well as collection and storage of digital data, educating staff at cultural institutions engaged in digitization, promoting and providing access to digital resources.

Digital resources presenting Poland’s cultural heritage are becoming increasingly available over the Internet, and modern technology is allowing for source material to be secured: films, books, photographs, etc. Polona –a modern portal providing access to the collection of the National Library, presently hosts over 293,000 works, and the National Digital Archives page at hosts scans of roughly 5,000,000 documents.
 IX. Promotion of Polish culture
3,600 events abroad and 2,600 in Poland, millions of spectators and outstanding reviews – these are the demonstrable, measurable results of the 2010 Year of Chopin, celebrated in unprecedented style. The Birthday Decade, Gala at the Grand Theatre, the Chopin and His Europe festival, the XVI International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition and the International Chopinology Congress with the participation of the world’s leading musicologists – these key events in the celebrations were the object of overwhelming interest. Owing to the work of over 300 foreign correspondents, information about the Year of Chopin and Poland was published and broadcast in the majority of the world’s major media outlets.

During the Polish Presidency of the Council of the EU (1 July - 31 December 2011), the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage prepared a cultural programme composed of 1000 artistic projects from around the country under the slogan “Art for Social Change”, and 400 events abroad under the slogan “I, CULTURE”.  The foreign programme encompassed 10 capital cities: Brussels, Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Minsk, Kiev, Warsaw, Beijing and Tokyo. Among the flagship projects were the exhibits "The Golden Ages of the Republic” at the Royal Palace in Madrid (95,000 visitors) and “Neighbours. Poland-Germany. 1000 years of history in art” at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin (50,000 visitors), the outdoor spectacle “Planet Lem” (over 12,000 attendees) and concerts by the I,CULTURE orchestra (7,000 listeners). One of the most important parts of the programme was the European Culture Congress in Wrocław (8-11 September 2011). The event, which served as an occasion for deep reflections on culture, hosted 300 artists, academics, philosophers and activists. A total of nearly 200,000 visitors took part in events related to the Congress.

Further occasions promoting Polish culture abroad were the cycles Poland! Year 2010 in the United Kingdom (250 projects, 2,000,000 attendees); 2011 Year of Miłosz (150 events, including in Lithuania and the Unites States, 50 publications in 23 countries); Klopsztanga. Poland without borders / Polen grenzenlos - 2012 (70 events in 20 cities), Project Asia (over 60 projects and 22 study visits since the end of 2008), 2012 Culture Olympics in Edinburgh (4 festivals, 180 events, 10 stages and nearly 30,000 spectators), 2013 Year of Lutosławski 2013 (700 concerts, 1200 reviews, 2,000,000 listeners of a radio transmission during the BBC Proms, 22,500 attendees at the "Woven Words" event cycle).
  X. Legislative changes
Amendments to the Cultural Activities Act adapted the activity of Polish artistic institutions to legal regulations concerning finances. The most important changes include the creation of artistic institutions, introduction of the concept of an artistic season, new rules for appointing directors, and mechanisms for combining various forms of activity within the framework of one cultural institution.

The Public Procurement Act was also amended to benefit of artists and creators. The most important change affecting all categories of ordering parties and tenders they organize is the increase in the value of the tender requiring application of procurement proceedings, which has been raised from EUR 14,000 to 30,000. The law also includes solutions designed to simplify tender proceedings as a response to the expectations of research and development institutions as well as culture and art.

My service as Mayor

       The first free local elections following the fall of Communism were held on May 27th 1990. I was elected member of City Council. A week later, on June 4th the Council elected me the Mayor of Wrocław. Zygfryd Zaporoski, Krzysztof Turkowski and Andrzej Olszewski were elected as Deputy Mayors while Sławomir Najniger and Jarosław Obremski were named members of the City Board. We were joined later by Bohdan Aniszczyk and served until the end of the term.


During my first term as Mayor the following tasks were undertaken and completed:


  1. The city commissioned and completed a full accounting of city-owned property.
  2. First comprehensive program of road, bridge and tram track repairment. (Trzebnicki Bridge, Grunwaldzki Bridge, Oławski Bridge,  10 kilometers of tram track annually – for the first time in Wrocław’s history,
  3. We introduced competitive and open process of selecting high-level city managers as the first city in Poland.
  4. Wrocław social programs quickly became the yardstick for all of Poland. We executed positive changes in charitable foundations, found a new location for the shelter for homeless people etc.
  5. The City Hall was built from scratch. It had functioned as a part of  Urząd Wojewódzki i.e. the central government representative Office.
  6. Competitive tenders became the sole form of awarding communal property use to entrepreneurs such as restaurants, shops, service establishments..
  7. Constructed about 100 buildings  to fill  various empty lots scattered around town.
  8. Allocated city funds to build New terminal at Wrocław Airport and attracted first international route to Frankfurt.
  9. My administration succeeded in balancing the city budget.
  10. We privatized most of construction-related services.
  11. Wrocław was the first city to initiate a professional promotional campaign outside of Poland. We participated in EXPO 1992 in Sevilla, signed cooperation agreements with Breda, Poitiers, Charlotte and renewed partner-city status with several cities such as Dresden or Wiesbaden.
  12. Oder River embankment repairment  program was started.
  13. We established the City Police (Straż Miejska)
  14. The City government came to the rescue of several important cultural events such as Wratislavia Cantans festival as well as the Actors’  Song Festival. We provided significant levels of financing to the Polski Theater, Pantomime Theater, BWA as well as numerous cultural centers and libraries.
  15. We created proper conditions to attract entrepreneurs to invest in restaurants, microbreweries (such as Spiż), cafes. A series of tenders led to creation of many attractive establishments which are still in existence.
  16. I was honored to host a significant number of VIPs from all over the World. (Vaclav Havel, Prince Edward, Prime Ministers, Ministers from several countries).
  17. Communal services at city cemeteries were regulated and improved.
  18. Some new landmarks appeared such as  "kamienica pod złotym psem" and „Solpol I”,
  19. New Year Eve outdoor parties organized at the Rynek attracted in excess of 40 thousand people.  
  20. As the first major city in Poland we introduced some order and civility into activities of street vendors.


II term (1994-1998) resulted in following principal accomplishments:


  1. Rebuilt the City Center – Rynek, Solny Square, sections of Świdnicka, Oławska, all of Ostrów Tumski.
  2. New Bridges: Dmowski, Mieszczańskie, Średzkie.
  3. Construction and opening of the most technologically advanced  sewage treatment plant in Poland.
  4. Wrocław as the first Town in Poland achieved a fully competitive structure of garbage removal contracts.
  5. We hosted the Eucharistic Congress  graced by the participation of Pope John Paul II.
  6. Just a week before the flood of 1997 the anti-flood levee at the Piaskowa Island was completed.
  7. I led the defence of Wrocław during the flood of 1997. We succeeded in preserving the most important landmarks, works of art as well as city archives.
  8. We broke the impasse regarding the most critical road investment Project such as Karkonoska (with rail overpass crossing), Legnicka, Grabiszyńska, Piłsudskiego.  
  9. Attracted quality new corporate investors placing Wrocław in the top percentile of Polish cities. Among the investors: Volvo, Alfa Laval, Danfos, several pharmaceutical firms.  
  10. Wrocław initiated the first professional promotional campaign comprising of albums, other publications, advertisements in major Press titles such as The Times. We hosted visits by distinguished foreign gusts such as Queen Beatrix, Queen Paola, Presidents of the Czech Republic, Germany, Prime Ministers of Sweden, Chancellor of Germany, World-famous artists.  
  11. Wrocław was nominated as a „city worth investing in” as the first major Metropolis in Poland..
  12. The daily newspaper “Rzeczpospolita” ranked Wrocław as having  one of the Best 100 local government administrations in Poland (regardless of size) Wrocław was the only city of more than 100 thousand inhabitants listed in the ranking.  
  13. Most of local newspapers throughout Poland  named Wrocław as having  the best mayor and city government among large cities.
  14. Completes the total overhaul of the city bus fleet as the first town in Poland (followed by Gdańsk and Gdynia).
  15. Construction of a professional city light system at Ostrów Tumski.
  16. Creation of 100 model inter-building spaces at high-rise housing districts. The program stems from a series of urban architecture symposia devoted to the subject.
  17. Wrocław receives virtually every prestigious award for city greenery: Szczytnicki Park, Japanese Garden, Brochow Park with „the maze”, Southern Park, Klecinski Park, Western Park and others.  
  18. City-sponsored artistic institutions receive highest marks in Poland and abroad. (Polski Theater, Puppet Theater, Wratislavia Cantans led by Tadeusz Strugała, PPA – under the direction of Roman Kołakowski etc.  
  19. Changes  in promotional strategy. New logo was adopted.
  20. Completion of Piaskowa Island Boulevard.
  21. The City embarked on another „first in Poland” program. This time to support sports. A series of either new or revamped sport installation is completed: swimming pool at Kłokoczyce, Wejherowska, Lubińska. Spiska, Gwarna, Morskie Oko, Glinianki etc. .
  22. Solving of acute burial space problem. New land at the Grabiszyńska cemetery is secured coupled with some re construction. New cemetery at Kiełczow, changes at Osobowice and Pawłowice. The City supports parochial cemeteries. According to demographical estimate the problem is fully solved for at least 15 years.
  23. Absorption of European funds (ISPA, PHARE, first in Poland EBRD loan without the guarantee of the central government)
  24. Solution to the "garbage problem”. Closing-down of dumps at Maślice,Żerniki, Swojczyce.  
  25. Investment in a massive recycling program
  26. Wrocław receives the „Flag of Europe”
  27. Construction of several modern shopping and entertainment malls (e.g. Korona)
  28. Funding of an experimental program to aid visual artists – allocation of city properties for artist studios.  


III term 1998-2001:

  1. Program to expand Wrocław’s hotel infrastructure by securing private investment. Construction and opening of : Plaza Hotel, Holiday,
    Dorint-Sofitel , Accord, Redisson, Campanilla, Art.-Hotel, Exbud-Hotel, Best Western, Marii Magdaleny, etc).
  2. First Multi-level car parks (next to Wrocław Hotel, Kazimierza Wielkiego/Szewska, Sukiennice, Rzeźnicza).
  3. Construction of Helios.
  4. New road infrastructure investment projects: Traugutta, Piłsudskiego, Zielińskiego, Podwala, Drobnera, Poniatowskiego, Sądowa, Krupnicza, Hallera, Wiśniowa, Sobieskiego, Estakada Gądowska , start of the Millenium Bridge construction, Chrobrego, Trzebnicka, Szczytnicka, Pokoju Bridge, more than 40 new streets
  5. Wrocław’s Millennium: series of promotional events receiving high marks for professional quality and effectiveness. New billboards, coins, series of concerts including Placido Domingo’s etc.
  6. Construction of Gołębi Square fountain – controversial at first but later accepted by virtually everybody.
  7. Next phase of the Wrocław promotion program: designing of EXPO Project positively assessed by the Parliament and the Cabinet, Norman Davies book on Wrocław.
  8. The City underwrote the re-purchase of Adam Mickiewicz’s „Pan Tadeusz” manuscript  from the Tarnowski family.
  9. Adoption by Wrocław as one of the first cities in Poland of the „Urban development strategy”.  
  10. „Tax forgiveness” program for destitute Wrocław citizens.
  11. Liquidation of outmoded state-run orphanages. Creation of a network of foster family care providers.
  12. 1997-2000. Wrocław run a pilot program of family care providers which later became the model for other communities.
  13. Connecting of Bielarska, Słodowa, Piaskowa, Malwowa islands by bridges and overpasses  to enable pedestrian traffic.
  14. Millennium Park Project at Graniczna Street designet.


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