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Expats in Poland

Poland: An Overview

Poland is named after the Polanie tribe, which established the Piast dynasty in the 10th century, under the leaderhip of Mieszko I, marking the start of Poland as a nation proper, and increasing its importance within Central Europe.

After what was widely acknowledged as a 'golden age' in the 16th century, the country was undermined by a Swedish invasion and various internal disputes, and was subsequently parcelled out between Russia, Prussia and Austria, reconstituted as the Duchy of Warsaw by France's Napoleon I, and then divided again, following French defeats, at the Congress of Vienna.

Poland eventually regained its independence in 1918 only to lose it again just decades later to Germany and the Soviet Union in the Second World War, becoming a Soviet satellite state in the post-war period.

The formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity" ("Solidarnosc"), which was the country's first non-communist controlled trade union, was one of the factors which led to a period of martial law in early 1980s as the government attempted to crack down on opposition to the communist leadership, followed by several years of repression.

However, by 1990 Solidarity leader,Lech Walesa, had become President, hastening the weakening of the hold of Communism on Eastern Europe.

During the 1990s, the Polish economy was transformed, although a relative lack of investment in infrastructure (especially in the areas of electricity generation and power dstribution, and with regard to road and rail links) over the years has undermined this somewhat, as have high unemployment levels.

The workforce is generally viewed as well-educated and skilled labor force, although foreign language skills and training in contemporary management, finance, and marketing are in relatively short supply.

Significant events for the Polish nation in more recent years have included joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999, and becoming a member of the European Union in 2004. The government hopes to adopt the euro (EUR) currency in 2012, although this will require various changes, including to the Polish constitution, so is thought to be an ambitious target.

Poland has a land area of 312, 685 sq km (according to government estimates), making it the 69th largest country in the world, and the 9th largest in Europe. It is located in Central Europe, to the east of Germany, with a northern coastline on the Baltic Sea.

There are shared borders with Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Germany. Approximately 40% of the land in Poland is arable, with forests occupying an estimated 28%, and the country has various natural resources, including coal, sulphur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead and salt.The climate is temperate but changeable.

The population is approximately 38.5 million (2011 est), with the vast majority of Polish origin, and a strong (90%) Roman Catholic influence.

Country Name: Poland
Coordinates: 51.4273 N, 20.1726 E
Capital: Warsaw
Capital Coordinates: 5213'N2102'E
Other Main Cities: Krakw, Wroclaw, Ldz, Poznan, Gdansk
Population: 38544513
Area: 312679
Official Language(s): Polish, Kashubian
Ethnic Group(s): 93.72%Polish, 094% Silesian, 0.08% Belarusian, 0.07% German, 0.07% Ukrainian, 0.04% Kashubian, 7.24% other
Demonym: Pole, Polish
Currency: Zioty, zl
GDP: $800.934 billion
Time Zone: CET(UTC+1), Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
International Dialling Code: 48
Internet TLD: .pl
Electricity Voltage: 230 Volts AC (50Hz)



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» Overview of Tax Issues for Expats in Poland
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» Where to Live, for Expats in Poland
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» Languages for Expats in Poland
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