Łódź (Poland) Sister City of Odessa
We thank the Business Development and International Relations Bureau City of Łódź Office for offering this article.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO ŁÓDŹ
A unique advantage of Łódź is its central location. Thanks to its location both in the heart of Poland and in the centre of Europe, at the intersection of the trans-European transport corridors running north-south (Scandinavia – Adriatic) and East-West (Moscow – Berlin), Łódź is one of the best connected cities in the region and a high potential hub.
The well-developed road system is supported by effective rail connections with all major cities in Poland. Łódź also has one of the biggest rail trans-shipment terminals in Poland and offers a direct regular railway cargo connection with Chengdu in China, in this way taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative.
There are two airports nearby Łódź: the Reymont International Airport, reachable within 10 minutes by car from the city centre, and the Warsaw Chopin Airport, reachable within 90 minutes, offering flights to more than 100 destinations all around the world. Apart from that, about 100 km from Łódź, a new Central Polish Airport (main transportation centre combining air, rail and road traffic) is to be built in the very near future.
A LONG INDUSTRIAL TRADITION
Until recently perceived as the city of factories (known as the “textile industry kingdom” or the “Polish Manchester”), Łódź is currently the third largest city in Poland and a modern city, open to changes and undergoing constant transformations. Its industrial and cosmopolitan past defined the unique character of the city.
Łódź is a city with an unusual history. Even though it was granted town privileges in 1423, it was not only until the 1820s that it started growing considerably, attaining the economic significance. Within just 60 years, Łódź underwent a massive change. The tiny commune of artisans was in the 1850s turned into a powerful industrial centre with a population of around half a million in 1910.
Nothing illustrates the dynamic growth of Łódź during the industrial revolution better than a 20-fold increase in population which Łódź observed between 1850 and 1900. The pace and the scope of the Łódź’s progress in these years can only be compared with the fastest growing cities in the world in that time, such as Manchester, Chicago, Los Angeles or Yokohama.
After the period of the economic and political transformation in the 1980s and the 1990s, the difficult situation on the labour market together with the crisis in the local textile industry contributed to the weakening of the city’s prestige.
However, despite those challenges, Łódź has not lost its most valuable attributes: strong industrial traditions, excellent location and renowned universities. Today, the city attracts international investors from such sectors as: BPO/SSC, ITC, logistics, home appliances, biotechnology and innovative textile industry.
In recent years, Łódź has also experienced a large-scale process of urban regeneration and of adapting the city’s old industrial tissue to the present times. Thanks to the implementation of the project, entire industrial buildings complexes or even whole districts, such as the New Centre of Łódź (Nowe Centrum Łodzi) were given a new life. Thus, today, historical post-industrial red-brick interiors, transformed in modern co-working areas, host innovative and creative industries.
A CITY TO LIVE IN
Although Łódź is already second greenest city in Poland (with green spaces constituting almost 19 percent of its area), the city continues to develop and renovate its green spaces. Łódź is also the coordinator of the nation-wide EKOstrategia project aimed at developing environmental solutions for the cities, and in 2024 will be the organizer of the Expo Horticultural with the “Nature of the City” as the main theme of the exhibition.
Łódź is the heart of creative industry, clubbing, art events and festivals. It is in Łódź that the Polish film industry has developed and the world-famous Łódź Film School (with Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polański and Krzysztof Kieślowski among its graduates) was established.
The attractiveness of the city is also increasingly appreciated by the tourism sector: in 2019, Łódź was recognised in the Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel” ranking as one of the best travel destinations, overtaking, among others, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Maldives or Houston.
TWINNING WITH ODESSA
The cooperation agreement between Łódź and Odessa was signed on 7 May 1993. Over the years, many joint projects have been implemented, like:
- the participation of representatives of Łódź in the International Conference of Mayors of the partner cities, entitled “In the Third Millennium Without Wars and Brutality”;
- the participation of Łódź’s athletes in the International Coastal Race organized in Odessa;
- the participation of disabled children from Odessa in the International Swimming Meetings.
In Odessa there were also events promoting Polish culture, such as: the “10th Polish Film Festival”, in 2009, organized by the City of Łódź and the Museum of Cinematography, or an exhibition of graphics from the collection of the City Art Gallery in Łódź entitled “Between Heaven and Earth”, in 2018.
BUSINESS AND TOURISM
The Łódź economic guide: https://uml.lodz.pl/files/public/dla_biznesu/investlodz/folder_21x21_EN_V_2019__1_.pdf
Łódź for weekend: https://uml.lodz.pl/files/lot/public/user_upload/Lodz_na_Weekend_PL-EN.pdf
Russian/Ukrainian version: https://uml.lodz.pl/files/lot/public/user_upload/LodzNW__ua_ru_net.pdf