Flanders Week in Gdańsk celebrates links with Poland


The Polish city of Gdańsk on the Baltic coast is hosting Flanders Week to highlight the centuries-long links between the city and the Flemish region

Multi-disciplinary festival

The Polish seaport city of Gdańsk is hosting “Flanders Week in Gdańsk later this month to highlight the links between Flanders and Poland. The week of events from 14 to 21 March is being organised by various Flemish and Polish organisations to celebrate trading and cultural links that go back to the Middle Ages.

The festival marks the opening of the new Shakespeare Theatre in Gdańsk, which stands on the site of a wooden building constructed in the 17th century by the Van den Blocke family from Mechelen. Originally a fencing school, the building was later used by travelling English theatre companies, leading to it being called the Shakespeare Theatre.

Gdańsk (pictured) was part of the Hanseatic League merchant confederation, which dominated trade agreements along the coast of Northern Europe from the 14th to 17th centuries. This paved the way for much trade between the regions as well as urban and architectural influences.

The week will focus on themes such as maritime co-operation, urban planning and heritage conservation. Events include a photo exhibition of green space in Ghent and Mechelen, a screening of the film The Broken Circle Breakdown and a concert by the Frank Vaganée trio.

Several prominent Flemish leaders are travelling to Gdańsk to attend events, including minister-president Geert Bourgeois, Ghent mayor Daniël Termont and Mechelen mayor Bart Somers. The city of Ghent, which already has strong links with Gdansk, is playing a key role in the programme. Mechelen is also closely involved because of the Van den Blocke family link.

Photo: Similarities can be seen between Gdańsk and Flemish cities such as Mechelen and Ghent
©Flanders Week in Gdańsk