|Gmina||Kościerzyna (urban gmina)|
|• Mayor||Michał Majewski|
|• Total||15.83 km2 (6.11 sq mi)|
|Elevation||150 m (490 ft)|
|• Density||1,500/km2 (3,800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
83-400 to 83-401
|Area code(s)||+48 58|
Kościerzyna [kɔɕt͡ɕeˈʐɨna] (Kashubian/Pomeranian: Kòscérzna; German: Berent (listen)) is a town in Kashubia in Gdańsk Pomerania region, northern Poland, with some 24,000 inhabitants. It has been the capital of Kościerzyna County in Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999; previously it was in Gdańsk Voivodeship from 1975 to 1998.
Kościerzyna is in Gdańsk Pomerania, approximately 50 kilometres (31 miles) south-west of Gdańsk and Tricity and 190 km (118 mi) south-west of Kaliningrad, at an altitude of 163 m (535 ft) above sea level.
The history of the town dates back to the end of the 13th century. In 1346 it was granted municipal rights, and around 1350 the settlement obtained the status of a town. Kościerzyna was part of medieval Poland, before in 1310 it was annexed by the Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights. After the Second Peace of Thorn (1466) the town became part of the Kingdom of Poland again. Administratively it was part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and the province of Royal Prussia.
The town suffered many times from fire. In 1463 it was first plundered and thereafter burned down completely by Poles. In 1626, during the Polish–Swedish War (1626–29), it was completely burned down once more. During the years 1646, 1663 and 1669 it partly burned down, and in 1709 again entirely.
In the First Partition of Poland in 1772 the town was annexed by Kingdom of Prussia. It was administratively in the newly formed province of West Prussia, where it remained until 1919. During the Kashubian diaspora, many families from Kościerzyna such as the Mrozeks, the Pellowskis and the Eichmans emigrated to the area of Winona, Minnesota in the United States, beginning in 1859. Around 1900 Berent had one Protestant church, one Catholic church, a synagogue, a high school, an academy for school teachers, a factory for the production of snuff, several breweries, a refinery, various mills, agriculture and forestry.
After World War I, in January 1920 Kościerzyna was integrated into the Second Polish Republic. After the Nazi invasion of Poland, between, 1939-45 it was part of the Third Reich. After World War II the town was transferred to the People's Republic of Poland.
Number of inhabitants by year
- Skansen Parowozownia Kościerzyna (railway museum) located at Towarowa 7 Street.
- Lake Galezne 
- Sanctuary 
- Kaszubia Kościerzyna - football club
- Stanisław Ernest Denhoff (c.1673–1728) a Polish aristocrat, politician and a military commander
- Hilary Jastak (1914-2000), leading priest
- Abraham Lissauer (1832–1908) a German physician and archaeologist
- Oswald Kohts (1844–1912) a German physician and pediatrician
- Gustav Flatow (1875–1945) a German gymnast, competed at the 1896 and at the 1900 Summer Olympics
- Aleksander Majkowski (1876-1938) a Kashubian writer, poet, journalist, editor, activist and physician
- Hugo Neumann (1882–1962) a German jurist, politician of the Free City of Danzig and writer
- Marek Kulas (born 1963) a Polish former racing cyclist, won the 1986 Tour de Pologne
- Marcin Rekowski (born 1978) a Polish professional heavyweight boxer
- Rafał Kosznik (born 1983) a Polish footballer, over 200 pro games
- Seweryn Kiełpin (born 1987) a Polish footballer, over 200 pro games
- Daniel Pek (born 1991) a Paralympic athlete from Poland, represented Poland at the 2012 Summer Paralympics
- Sławomir Stolc (born 1993) a Polish volleyball player, a member of Poland men's national volleyball team
Kościerzyna is twinned with:
- (in Polish) Municipal website
- (in Polish) Twin cities of Kościerzyna
- (in Polish) Photogalleries of Kościerzyna's twin cities
- Some German-language documents regarding population
- Johann Friedrich Goldbeck: Volständige Topographie des Königreichs Preußen. Part II, Marienwerder 1789, pp. 66–67, no. 5.
- "First Settlement in Winona: 1859 – Bambenek.org". bambenek.org. Retrieved 2017-07-21.
- Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, 6th edition, Vol. 2, Leipzig and Vienna 1906, p. 656.
- Michael Rademacher: Deutsche Verwaltungsgeschichte Provinz Westpreußen, Kreis Berent (2006).
- Interesting article with photos on this museum (in Polish) Archived 2008-06-25 at the Wayback Machine
- See an article with photos describing the lake (in Polish) Archived 2008-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
- Article on the Sanctuary Archived 2008-09-11 at the Wayback Machine. See also Sanctuary's website