Tczew Old Town seen from Vistula riverbank


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 54°5′15″N 18°47′50″E / 54.08750°N 18.79722°E / 54.08750; 18.79722Coordinates: 54°5′15″N 18°47′50″E / 54.08750°N 18.79722°E / 54.08750; 18.79722
Country  Poland
Voivodeship Pomeranian
County Tczew County
Gmina Tczew (urban municipality)
Established 12th century
Town rights 1260
  Mayor Mirosław Pobłocki
  Total 22.26 km2 (8.59 sq mi)
Elevation 25 m (82 ft)
Population (2009)
  Total 60,279
  Density 2,700/km2 (7,000/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 83-110
Area code(s) +48 58
Car plates GTC

Tczew [tt͡ʂɛf] (Kashubian: Dërszewò; German:  Dirschau ) is a town on the Vistula River in Eastern Pomerania, Kociewie, northern Poland with 60,279 inhabitants (June 2009). It is an important railway junction with a classification yard dating to the Prussian Eastern Railway (German: Preußische Ostbahn). The city is known for its attractive old town and the Vistula Bridge, or Bridge of Tczew, damaged during World War II.

It is the capital of Tczew County in Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, and was previously a town in Gdańsk Voivodeship (1975–1998).

The town is the location for the annual English Language Camp arranged by the American-Polish Partnership for Tczew.

Geographical location

Tczew is located on the west bank of river Vistula, approximately 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of Gdańsk Bay at the Baltic Sea and 35 kilometres (22 miles) south-east of Gdańsk.


Tczew (Trsow, Dersowe, ‘weaver's town’[1]) was first mentioned as Trsow in a document by Pomeranian Duke Grzymisław bestowing the land to the Knights Hospitaller in 1198. Around 1200 Sambor I, Duke of Pomerania, built a fortress here.[1] In some documents, the name Derszewo appears, which stems from the name of a feudal lord, Dersław. It is unknown whether Trsow and Derszewo referred to the same or two neighboring settlements. In order to obtain better control of traffic on the Vistula, Pomeranian Duke Sambor II moved his residence form Lubiszewo Tczewskie to here. By 1252 the settlement was known by the names Tczew and Dirschau. In 1260 it became a town and received Lübeck rights, Tczew was purchased by Heinrich von Plötzke of the Teutonic Knights following the Treaty of Soldin in 1309. It was rebuilt from 1364–1384, and was granted Kulm law by Winrich von Kniprode. In 1434 the town was burnt down by the Hussites. After the Second Peace of Thorn (1466), it was transferred from the Teutonic Order to the newly created Polish province of Royal Prussia.

During the Protestant Reformation most of town's inhabitants converted to Lutheranism. In 1626 it was occupied by king Gustav II Adolf of Sweden, who built a pontoon bridge across river Vistula and who had his camp at the southern side of the town.[1] Although it was rebuilt, it then suffered during the Polish-Swedish Wars. In a nearby battle on 2 September 1657, the Poles were defeated by the combined troops of Brandenburg and Sweden under general Josias II, Count of Waldeck-Wildungen.[1]

The region was annexed from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by the Kingdom of Prussia during the First Partition of Poland in 1772. Dirschau became part of the newly founded Province of West Prussia. During the Napoleonic invasion in Prussia the town was occupied by Polish troops of General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski in 1807, but became Prussian again in 1815. It became part of the German Empire in 1871.

The town grew rapidly during the 19th century after the opening of the Prussian Eastern Railway line connecting Berlin and Königsberg, with the Vistula bridge near Dirschau being an important part.

Under Prussian and German rule, the Polish minority suffered from forced Germanization; for example Poles were denied Polish schools, and refused to teach their children German. The German official Heinrich Mettenmeyer wrote that German-appointed teachers were treated with highest disdain by Polish children and their parents[2]

After World War I as a consequence of the Treaty of Versailles Tczew became part of the Polish Corridor and was incorporated into the Second Polish Republic. On January 30, 1920, Polish General Józef Haller arrived in the town with his troops. The town became a center of cultural activities of the German minority in Poland, a German-language school and a theater was founded. The regional member of the Polish Parliament represented the German minority.

During the Interwar period, Tczew was famous for its maritime academy which later moved to Gdynia.

According to the city's website, Tczew was the location of the start of World War II when German bombers attacked Polish sapper installations to prevent the bridge from being blown up at 04:34 on 1 September 1939 (the shelling of Westerplatte commenced at 04:45). During the time span 1939–45 Dirschau was integrated into Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia of the administrative district of Regierungsbezirk Danzig of Germany's Third Reich. After World War II the town, was one of the most damaged cities of Gdańsk Pomerania. Virtually none of its remaining factories were capable of production. There had been considerable loss of population down to around 18-20 thousand people. Short before the end of World War II it was occupied by the Soviet Army. After the end of war the town became part of People's Republic of Poland and renamed Tczew again. Residents took the first effort of reconstruction, and revitalization. Currently, there are several companies in the electrical industry and machine building.

Number of inhabitants by year

Year Number
1772 1,442
1782 1,587
1831 2,310
1875 9,713
1880 10,939
1890 11,897
1900 12, 808
1905 14,164
1921 16,250
1943 25,869
1960 33,700
1970 41,100
1980 53,600
1990 59,500
2000 61,200
2009 60,279

Note that the above table is based on primary sources which may be biased:[1][3][4][5]

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of Tczew depicts a red griffin in honor of Duke Sambor II, who granted the town municipal rights in 1260.


Parish Church of Exaltation of the Cross
Museum of the Vistula River
Municipal Park
The Vistula bridge demolished by sappers of the Polish Army in September 1939 after the Wehrmacht invasion

English Language Camp

For the last 19 years, the town has been the host location for the annual English Language Camp. The camp, often nicknamed "Camp Tczew" is hosted by the American-Polish Partnership for Tczew and offers students a three-week program where they have the opportunity to interact with Americans and improve their English.

Famous residents

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Tczew is twinned with:

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tczew.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, 6th edition, Vol. 5, Leipzig and Vienna 1903, p. 43.
  2. Historia Pomorza, Tom 3,Część 2, Gerard Labuda Wydawnictwo Poznańskiego Towarzystwa Przyjaciół Nauk, 1996, page 144.
  3. Johann Friedrich Goldbeck: Vollständige Topographie des Königreichs Preußen. Teil II, Marienwerder 1789, p. 52, no 2.
  4. Michael Rademacher: Deutsche Verwaltungsgeschichte Westpreußen, Kreis Dirschau (2006) (German).
  5. August Eduard Preuß: Preußische Landes- und Volkskunde. Königsberg 1835, pp. 390–391, no. 24.
  6. "List of Twin Towns in the Ruhr District". © 2009 Archived from the original (PDF) on November 28, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-28. External link in |publisher= (help)

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