divisions of Poland
A województwo [vɔjɛˈvut͡stfɔ]; plural: województwa) is the highest-level administrative subdivision of Poland, corresponding to a "province" in many other countries. The term "województwo" has been in use since the 14th century, and is commonly translated in English as "province". The word "województwo" is also rendered as "voivodeship" or a variant spelling.
The Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998, which went into effect on 1 January 1999, created sixteen new voivodeships. These replaced the 49 former voivodeships that had existed from 1 July 1975.
Today's voivodeships are mostly named after historical and geographical regions, while those prior to 1998 generally took their names from the cities on which they were centered. The new units range in area from under 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi) (Opole Voivodeship) to over 35,000 km2 (14,000 sq mi) (Masovian Voivodeship), and in population from one million (Lubusz Voivodeship) to over five million (Masovian Voivodeship).
Administrative authority at voivodeship level is shared between a government-appointed governor called a voivode (Polish wojewoda), an elected assembly called a sejmik, and an executive chosen by that assembly. The leader of that executive is called the marszałek województwa (voivodeship marshal). Voivodeships are further divided into powiats (counties) and gminas (communes or municipalities): see Administrative divisions of Poland.
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
- 1 Voivodeships since 1999
- 2 Former voivodeships
- 2.1 Poland's voivodeships 1975–1998
- 2.2 Poland's voivodeships 1945–1975
- 2.3 Poland's voivodeships 1921–1939
- 2.4 Congress Poland 1816–1837
- 2.5 Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569–1795
- 3 Etymology and use of "voivodeship"
- 4 Notes
- 5 References
- 6 External links
- 7 See also
Voivodeships since 1999
Competences and powers at voivodeship level are shared between the voivode (governor), the sejmik (regional assembly) and the executive. In most cases these institutions are all based in one city, but in Kuyavian-Pomeranian and Lubusz Voivodeship the voivode's offices are in a different city from those of the executive and the sejmik. Voivodeship capitals are listed in the table below.
The voivode is appointed by the Prime Minister and is the regional representative of the central government. The voivode acts as the head of central government institutions at regional level (such as the police and fire services, passport offices, and various inspectorates), manages central government property in the region, oversees the functioning of local government, coordinates actions in the field of public safety and environment protection, and exercises special powers in emergencies. The voivode's offices collectively are known as the urząd wojewódzki.
The sejmik is elected every four years, at the same time as the local authorities at powiat and gmina level. It passes bylaws, including the voivodeship's development strategies and budget. It also elects the marszałek and other members of the executive, and holds them to account.
The executive (zarząd województwa), headed by the marszałek, drafts the budget and development strategies, implements the resolutions of the sejmik, manages the voivodeship's property, and deals with many aspects of regional policy, including management of European Union funding. Its offices collectively are known as the urząd marszałkowski.
List of voivodeships
|Voivodeship||Polish name||Capital cities||Area
(December 31, 2012)
|LB||08||F||Lubusz||lubuskie||Gorzów Wielkopolski ¹,
Zielona Góra ²
|(¹) Seat of voivode. (²) Seat of sejmik and marszałek.|
Poland's voivodeships 1975–1998
Administrative division of Poland between 1979 and 1998 included 49 voivodeships upheld after the establishment of the Third Polish Republic in 1989 for another decade. This reorganization of administrative division of Poland was mainly a result of local government reform acts of 1973–1975. In place of the three-level administrative division (voivodeship, county, commune), a new two-level administrative division was introduced (49 small voivodeships, and communes). The three smallest voivodeships – Warsaw, Kraków and Łódź – had the special status of municipal voivodeship; the city president (mayor) was also provincial governor.
|bp||Biała Podlaska Voivodeship||bialskopodlaskie||Biała Podlaska||5 348||286 400||6||35|
|bk||Białystok Voivodeship||białostockie||Białystok||10 055||641 100||17||49|
|bb||Bielsko-Biała Voivodeship||bielskie||Bielsko-Biała||3 704||829 900||18||47|
|by||Bydgoszcz Voivodeship||bydgoskie||Bydgoszcz||10 349||1 036 000||27||55|
|ch||Chełm Voivodeship||chełmskie||Chełm||3 865||230 900||4||25|
|ci||Ciechanów Voivodeship||ciechanowskie||Ciechanów||6 362||405 400||9||45|
|cz||Częstochowa Voivodeship||częstochowskie||Częstochowa||6 182||747 900||17||49|
|el||Elbląg Voivodeship||elbląskie||Elbląg||6 103||441 500||15||37|
|gd||Gdańsk Voivodeship||gdańskie||Gdańsk||7 394||1 333 800||19||43|
|go||Gorzów Voivodeship||gorzowskie||Gorzów Wielkopolski||8 484||455 400||21||38|
|jg||Jelenia Góra Voivodeship||jeleniogórskie||Jelenia Góra||4 378||492 600||24||28|
|kl||Kalisz Voivodeship||kaliskie||Kalisz||6 512||668 000||20||53|
|ka||Katowice Voivodeship||katowickie||Katowice||6 650||3 733 900||43||46|
|ki||Kielce Voivodeship||kieleckie||Kielce||9 211||1 068 700||17||69|
|kn||Konin Voivodeship||konińskie||Konin||5 139||441 200||18||43|
|ko||Koszalin Voivodeship||koszalińskie||Koszalin||8 470||462 200||17||35|
|kr||Kraków Voivodeship||krakowskie||Kraków||3 254||1 167 500||10||38|
|ks||Krosno Voivodeship||krośnieńskie||Krosno||5 702||448 200||12||37|
|lg||Legnica Voivodeship||legnickie||Legnica||4 037||458 900||11||31|
|le||Leszno Voivodeship||leszczyńskie||Leszno||4 254||357 600||19||28|
|lu||Lublin Voivodeship||lubelskie||Lublin||6 793||935 200||16||62|
|lo||Łomża Voivodeship||łomżyńskie||Łomża||6 684||325 800||12||39|
|ld||Łódź Voivodeship||łódzkie||Łódź||1523||1 127 800||8||11|
|ns||Nowy Sącz Voivodeship||nowosądeckie||Nowy Sącz||5 576||628 800||14||41|
|ol||Olsztyn Voivodeship||olsztyńskie||Olsztyn||12 327||681 400||21||48|
|op||Opole Voivodeship||opolskie||Opole||8 535||975 000||29||61|
|os||Ostrołęka Voivodeship||ostrołęckie||Ostrołęka||6 498||371 400||9||38|
|pi||Piła Voivodeship||pilskie||Piła||8 205||437 100||24||35|
|pt||Piotrków Voivodeship||piotrkowskie||Piotrków Trybunalski||6 266||604 200||10||51|
|pl||Płock Voivodeship||płockie||Płock||5 117||496 100||9||44|
|po||Poznań Voivodeship||poznańskie||Poznań||8 151||1 237 800||33||57|
|pr||Przemyśl Voivodeship||przemyskie||Przemyśl||4 437||380 000||9||35|
|ra||Radom Voivodeship||radomskie||Radom||7 295||702 300||15||61|
|rz||Rzeszów Voivodeship||rzeszowskie||Rzeszów||4 397||648 900||13||41|
|se||Siedlce Voivodeship||siedleckie||Siedlce||8 499||616 300||12||66|
|si||Sieradz Voivodeship||sieradzkie||Sieradz||4 869||392 300||9||40|
|sk||Skierniewice Voivodeship||skierniewickie||Skierniewice||3 959||396 900||8||36|
|sl||Słupsk Voivodeship||słupskie||Słupsk||7 453||369 800||11||31|
|su||Suwałki Voivodeship||suwalskie||Suwałki||10 490||422 600||14||42|
|sz||Szczecin Voivodeship||szczecińskie||Szczecin||9 981||897 900||29||50|
|tg||Tarnobrzeg Voivodeship||tarnobrzeskie||Tarnobrzeg||6 283||556 300||14||46|
|ta||Tarnów Voivodeship||tarnowskie||Tarnów||4 151||607 000||9||41|
|to||Toruń Voivodeship||toruńskie||Toruń||5 348||610 800||13||41|
|wb||Wałbrzych Voivodeship||wałbrzyskie||Wałbrzych||4 168||716 100||31||30|
|3 788||2 319 100||27||32|
|wl||Włocławek Voivodeship||włocławskie||Włocławek||4 402||413 400||14||30|
|wr||Wrocław Voivodeship||wrocławskie||Wrocław||6 287||1 076 200||16||33|
|za||Zamość Voivodeship||zamojskie||Zamość||6 980||472 100||5||47|
|zg||Zielona Góra Voivodeship||zielonogórskie||Zielona Góra||8 868||609 200||26||50|
Poland's voivodeships 1945–1975
After World War II, the new administrative division of the country within the new national borders was based on the prewar one and included 14 (+2) voivodeships, then 17 (+5). The voivodeships in the east that had not been annexed by the Soviet Union had their borders left almost unchanged. The newly acquired territories in the west and north were organized into the new voivodeships of Szczecin, Wrocław and Olsztyn, and partly joined to Gdańsk, Katowice and Poznań voivodeships. Two cities were granted voivodeship status: Warsaw and Łódź.
in km² (1965)
|A||białostockie||Białystok||23 136||1 160 400|
|B||bydgoskie||Bydgoszcz||20 794||1 837 100|
|G||gdańskie||Gdańsk||10 984||1 352 800|
|S||katowickie||Katowice||9 518||3 524 300|
|C||kieleckie||Kielce||19 498||1 899 100|
|E||koszalińskie ¹||Koszalin||17 974||755 100|
|K||krakowskie||Kraków||15 350||2 127 600|
|?||Kraków (city) ²||Kraków||230||520 100|
|F||łódzkie||Łódź||17 064||1 665 200|
|I||Łódź (city)||Łódź||214||744 100|
|L||lubelskie||Lublin||24 829||1 900 500|
|O||olsztyńskie||Olsztyn||20 994||956 600|
|H||opolskie ¹||Opole||9 506||1 009 200|
|P||poznańskie||Poznań||26 723||2 126 300|
|?||Poznań (city) ²||Poznań||220||438 200|
|R||rzeszowskie||Rzeszów||18 658||1 692 800|
|M||szczecińskie||Szczecin||12 677||847 600|
|T||warszawskie||Warsaw||29 369||2 453 000|
|W||Warszawa (city)||Warsaw||446||1 252 600|
|X||wrocławskie||Wrocław||18 827||1 967 000|
|?||Wrocław (city) ²||Wrocław||225||474 200|
|Z||zielonogórskie ¹||Zielona Góra||14 514||847 200|
|(¹) New voivodeships created in 1950. (²) Cities separated in 1957.|
Poland's voivodeships 1921–1939
The administrative division of Poland in the interwar period included 16 voivodeships and Warsaw (with voivodeship rights).
They were very similar to the current voivodeships.
|Voivodeship||Polish name||Capital city||Area
in km² (1930)
|20–24||Białystok||białostockie||Białystok||26 000||1 263 300|
|25–29||Kielce||kieleckie||Kielce||22 200||2 671 000|
|30–34||Kraków||krakowskie||Kraków||17 600||2 300 100|
|35–39||Lublin||lubelskie||Lublin||26 600||2 116 200|
|40–44||Lwów||lwowskie||Lwów||28 400||3 126 300|
|45–49||Łódź||łódzkie||Łódź||20 400||2 650 100|
|50–54||Nowogródek||nowogródzkie||Nowogródek||23 000||1 057 200|
|55–59||Polesie||poleskie||Brześć nad Bugiem||36 700||1 132 200|
|60–64||Pomeranian||pomorskie||Toruń||25 700||1 884 400|
|65–69||Poznań||poznańskie||Poznań||28 100||2 339 600|
|70–74||Stanisławów||stanisławowskie||Stanisławów||16 900||1 480 300|
|75–79?||Silesian||śląskie||Katowice||5 100||1 533 500|
|80–84||Tarnopol||tarnopolskie||Tarnopol||16 500||1 600 400|
|85–89||Warsawian||warszawskie||Warsaw||31 700||2 460 900|
|00–19||Warsaw (city)||Warszawa||Warsaw||140||1 179 500|
|90–94||Wilno||wileńskie||Wilno||29 000||1 276 000|
|95–99||Wołyń||wołyńskie||Łuck||35 700||2 085 600|
Congress Poland 1816–1837
From 1816 to 1837 there were 8 voivodeships in Congress Poland.
- Augustów Voivodeship
- Kalisz Voivodeship
- Kraków Voivodeship
- Lublin Voivodeship
- Mazowsze Voivodeship
- Płock Voivodeship
- Podlasie Voivodeship
- Sandomierz Voivodeship
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569–1795
Greater Poland (Wielkopolska)
- Poznań Voivodeship (województwo poznańskie, Poznań)
- Kalisz Voivodeship (województwo kaliskie, Kalisz)
- Gniezno Voivodeship (województwo gnieźnieńskie, Gniezno) from 1768
- Sieradz Voivodeship (województwo sieradzkie, Sieradz)
- Łęczyca Voivodeship (województwo łęczyckie, Łęczyca)
- Brześć Kujawski Voivodeship (województwo brzesko-kujawskie, Brześć Kujawski)
- Inowrocław Voivodeship (województwo inowrocławskie, Inowrocław)
- Chełmno Voivodeship (województwo chełmińskie, Chełmno)
- Malbork Voivodeship (województwo malborskie, Malbork)
- Pomeranian Voivodeship (województwo pomorskie, Gdańsk)
- Duchy of Warmia (Księstwo Warmińskie, Lidzbark Warmiński)
- Duchy of Prussia (Księstwo Pruskie, Królewiec) (Then Königsberg)
- Płock Voivodeship (województwo płockie, Płock)
- Rawa Voivodeship (województwo rawskie, Rawa Mazowiecka)
- Masovian Voivodeship (województwo mazowieckie, Warszawa)
Lesser Poland (Małopolska)
- Kraków Voivodeship (województwo krakowskie, Kraków)
- Sandomierz Voivodeship (województwo sandomierskie, Sandomierz)
- Lublin Voivodeship (województwo lubelskie, Lublin)
- Podlaskie Voivodeship (województwo podlaskie, Drohiczyn)
- Ruthenian Voivodeship (województwo ruskie, Lwów)
- Bełz Voivodeship (województwo belzkie, Bełz)
- Volhynian Voivodeship (województwo wołyńskie, Łuck)
- Podole Voivodeship (województwo podolskie, Kamieniec Podolski)
- Bracław Voivodeship (województwo bracławskie, Bracław)
- Kijów Voivodeship (województwo kijowskie, Kijów)
- Czernihów Voivodeship (województwo czernichowskie, Czernihów)
- Wilno Voivodship (województwo wileńskie, Wilno)
- Troki Voivodship (województwo trockie, Troki)
- Nowogrodek Voivodship (województwo nowogrodzkie, Nowogródek)
- Brest-Litovsk Voivodship (województwo brzesko-litewskie, Brześć Litewski)
- Minsk Voivodship (województwo mińskie, Mińsk)
- Mscislaw Voivodship (województwo mścisławskie, Mscislaw)
- Smolensk Voivodship (województwo smoleńskie, Smoleńsk)
- Vitebsk Voivodship (województwo witebskie, Witebsk)
- Polock Voivodship (województwo połockie, Połock)
- Duchy of Samogita (księstwo żmudzkie, Miedniki-Wornie)
- Wenden Voivodship (województwo wendeńskie, Wenden) since 1598 till the 1620s
- Dorpat Voivodship (województwo dorpackie, Dorpat) since 1598 till the 1620s
- Parnawa Voivodship (województwo parnawskie, Parnava) since 1598 till the 1620s
- Inflanty Voivodeship (województwo inflanckie Dyneburg) since the 1620s
- Duchy of Courland and Semigalia (księstwo Kurlanii i Semigalii), Mitawa)
Etymology and use of "voivodeship"
Some English-language sources, in historic contexts, speak of "palatinates" rather than "voivodeships"; the former term traces back to the Latin palatinus ("palatine"). More commonly used now is "voivodeship", a loanword-calque hybrid formed on the Polish "województwo". Other sources refer instead to "provinces" (Polish singular: "prowincja"), though in pre-1795 contexts this may be confusing because the cognate Polish "prowincyja" (as it was then spelled) was idiosyncratically applied, until the last of the three Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, in 1795, to each of the three main Regions (Greater Poland, Lesser Poland, and Lithuania) of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, each of those Regions in turn comprising a number of województwa (plural of "województwo").
The Polish "województwo", designating a second-tier Polish or Polish–Lithuanian administrative unit, derives from "wojewoda" (etymologically, a "war leader" or "leader of warriors", like the Latin dūx "duke", but now simply the governor of a województwo like "duchy") and the suffix "-stwo" (a "state or condition"). Today it could be called a "governorate", but decentralization gives more power to the regional council of the voivodeship and the local state-level head is just named a "voivode" (like a governor, a high commissary, or a prefet in other countries).
The English "voivodeship", which is a hybrid of the loanword "voivode" and "-ship" (the latter a suffix, likewise meaning a "state or condition", that calques the Polish "-stwo"), has never been much used and is absent from many dictionaries. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it first appeared in 1792, spelled "woiwodship", in the sense of "the district or province governed by a voivode." The word subsequently also appeared in 1886 in the sense of "the office or dignity of a voivode."
An official Polish body, the Commission on Standardization of Geographic Names outside the Republic of Poland, recommends the spelling "voivodship", without the e. This is consistently reflected in publications  and in the international arena, e.g., at the United Nations.
- The word "voivodeship", as an equivalent for "województwo", appears in some large English dictionaries such as the OED and Webster's Third New International Dictionary but is not in common English usage. Hence the word "province" is a recommended translation: "Jednostki podziału administracyjnego Polski tłumaczymy tak: województwo—province..." ("Polish administrative units are translated as follows: województwo—province..."). Arkadiusz Belczyk, "Tłumaczenie polskich nazw geograficznych na język angielski" ("Translation of Polish Geographical Names into English"), 2002-2006. Examples: New Provinces of Poland (1998), Map of Poland, English names of Polish provinces. More examples:
- "Following the reform of the administrative structure in 1973-1975, the number of provinces (województwa) was increased from 22 to 49... [I]ncreasing the number of provinces meant the reduction of each in size. In this way Warsaw was able to dilute the political importance of the provincial party chiefs." "Poland", The Encyclopedia Americana, 1986, volume 22, p. 312.
- "Poland is divided into 49 provinces." "Poland", The Columbia Encyclopedia, sixth edition, edited by Paul Lagassé, Columbia University Press, 2000, p. 2256.
- "Local government in Poland is organized on three levels. The largest units, at the regional level, are the województwa (provinces)..." "Poland", Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, 2010, Macropaedia, volume 25, p. 937.
- "GOVERNMENT... Administrative divisions: 16 provinces (wojewodztwa, singular–wojewodztwo)..." "Poland," in Central Intelligence Agency, The CIA World Factbook 2010, New York, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2009, ISBN 9781602397279, p. 546. The same information appears in the current online CIA World Factbook --> "Poland --> Administrative divisions". Note that in this source, where "English translations" of province names are given, they are in the noun ("Silesia"), not the adjective ("Silesian"), form.
- Professor Paul Best, of Southern Connecticut State University, writes: "[I]n standard dictionaries the Polish word [województwo] is translated as 'province.'" Paul Best, review of Bogdan Horbal, Lemko Studies: A Handbook (2010), in The Polish Review, vol. 58, no. 4 (2013), pp. 125–26.
- Alternate English renderings include "voivodship," "voievodship," "voievodeship" and "woiwodship".
- "Voivodeship," The Oxford English Dictionary, second edition, volume XIX, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1989, p. 739.
- "Poland", Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, 2010, Macropaedia, volume 25, p. 937.
- "Poland", The Columbia Encyclopedia, sixth edition, edited by Paul Lagassé, Columbia University Press, 2000, p. 2256.
- "Poland", The Encyclopedia Americana, 1986, volume 22, p. 312.
- "Poland," in Central Intelligence Agency, The CIA World Factbook 2010, New York, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2009, ISBN 9781602397279, p. 546.
- "Voivodeship," The Oxford English Dictionary, second edition, volume XIX, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1989, p. 739.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Voivodeships of Poland.|
- Map of Polish Regions
- Administrative division of Poland (from Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names Outside Poland website, in English)
- Official map by Head Office of Geodesy and Cartography
- Regions of Poland
- Toponymic Guidelines Of Poland for Map Editors and Other Users Head Office Of Geodesy And Cartography, 2002
- CIA World Factbook --> "Poland --> Administrative divisions"
- List of Polish voivodeships by GDP per capita
- Voivodeships of Poland (1975–1998)
- Administrative division of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
- Coats of arms of Polish voivodeships
- Flags of Polish voivodeships
- ISO 3166-2:PL
- Regions of Poland