History

100 years of service to the Polish maritime industry...

The Maritime School in Tczew

The 100-year history of the Gdynia Maritime University began with the founding of the Maritime School on the order of General Józef Leśniewski’s, signed 17th June 1920.

 
 
1920
 
 
1920

The grand opening of the first Maritime School in the reborn Republic of Poland took place on 8th December 1920. On that historic day in Tczew, the white and red flag of Poland was raised on the building on the once Women’s Middle School. At the time of its inauguration, the school began by launching the Faculty of Navigation and the Faculty of Marine Engineering.

The founders of the first Polish maritime school were convinced that the education of the future officers of the Merchant Navy should largely take place off-shore. Therefore, a search of European ports began to find a suitable ship to purchase for the school. This led to the discovery of a barque named Nest which was built in the port of Birkenhead, England in 1869. The ship was renamed the name Lwów and the Polish flag was ceremonially raised on her for the first time in Reda, Gdynia on 4th September 1921.

 
 
1921

The State Maritime School in Gdynia

 
 
1930

In 1928, the decision was made to relocate the School in Tczew to Gdynia. On December 8th 1930 the grand opening and consecration of the main building of the Gdynia State Maritime School took place.

The new building in Gdynia was equipped with a full-scale academic and scientific infrastructure, including physics, electrotechnics, chemistry, and commodity science offices, as well as workshops for deviation, navigation, radioelectronics, and radiotelegraphy with a short-wave broadcasting station. A weather station and a workshop for rope and sailing works were also opened. All scientific offices, workshops, and machine shops with a forge and a locksmith were located in a dedicated building.

 
 
 
1930

In the 1930/1931 academic year a new training ship, the frigate Dar Pomorza, replaced the worn-out Lwów.

The Gdynia Maritime School’s new sailing ship was the first vessel to sail around the world under the colours of the Polish flag. At the time, it was the longest and most famous voyage in the history of the white frigate. The ship set sail on 16th September 1934, returning to port 352 days later.

 
 
1934

In 1938, the School inaugurated the Faculty of Maritime Transport and Administration. With the outbreak of WWII began a new era of education in the history of the State Maritime School - in exile.

 
 
1938

The State Maritime School in Southampton

 
 
1939

After arriving in Britain on December 2nd 1939, the staff of the State Maritime School submitted a proposal to the newly opened Ministry of Industry and Trade for the “provisional organisation of the Maritime School in England”. The Maritime School in Southampton, located on the premises of the local University College, directly continued the work of the Gdynia School.

The first course in exile began on 18th September 1940 and was attended by 30 students, of which 28 passed. The program provided the knowledge necessary to perform the role of Lieutenant and in the prevailing war-time conditions lasted 8 months.

 
 
1940
 
 
1943

Navigation training took place in Southampton during the years 1940-1943, after which the Maritime School was relocated to London. It was here that in 1943-1945 training was carried out for Sub-lieutenant, Captain, Skipper I class, Machinist I class and Junior Mechanical Engineer.

In 1945 a Polish Maritime Middle school was also opened in the U.K. in Landywood, near Birmingham. During its first year, the school was directed by Karol Borchardt. In 1947 it was relocated to Lilford, near Peterborough in Northamptonshire. The school closed in 1949.

Following the withdrawal of support of the Western Allies, all training of Polish maritime personnel came to an end.

 
 
1945

The Gdynia State Maritime School

The first entrance exams for the State Maritime School were held on October 8th - 14th 1945. 67 applicants were admitted to study in the Faculty of Navigation and 68 in the Faculty of Marine Engineering. A further 22 students that were due to begin their studies around the time of the outbreak of war in September 1939 were also admitted.

 
 
1945
 
 
1945

At the command of the Polish Navy, the Dar Pomorza returned to Poland on 7th November 1945 and engaged the School in the onboard training of officers from its Naval Academy.

Following the decision of the Minister for Shipping and Foreign Trade, 1947 saw the opening of the Maritime School in Szczecin and the relocation of the Faculty of Navigation as well as its director, Master Mariner Konstantyn Maciejewicz, and the Dar Pomorza (although Gdynia would remain the ship’s home port) Only the Faculty of Marine Engineering under the leadership of Antoni Garnuszewski remained in Gdynia. In 1951 the two schools were renamed as the Maritime College of Marine Engineering in Gdynia and the Maritime College of Navigation in Szczecin.

 
 
1947
 
 
1949

The Faculty of Navigation and the Dar Pomorza returned to Gdynia in 1953. In 1954, intake began for the newly formed Faculty of Electrical Engineering, and the Minister of Shipping reinstated the school’s former name of Maritime School. Two years later it became the State Maritime School.

The school was granted the status of a technical college of post-secondary education in 1958.

 
 
1958
 
 
1962

Two instrumental ships were introduced into service in 1962 – the Horyzont, which was handed over to the Gdynia State Maritime School following the decision of the Minister of Shipping Stanisław Darski, and the Zenit. These ships were involved in radar exercises during short outings in Gdansk Bay and on longer excursions on the Baltic sea and served for approximately 35 years.

The Higher Gdynia Maritime School

In 1968 the State Maritime School was merged with the State Marine Fishing School founded in 1946 and became the Higher Gdynia Maritime School. At the time, the school provided education within four faculties: Navigation, Marine Engineering, Electronics and Electrical Engineering and Administration and Economy.

 
 
1968
 
 
1982

The Dar Młodzieży was introduced into service in 1982.

She set sail on her maiden voyage on 10th July 1982 to Falmouth, England, where she joined the start of the “Operation Sail” sailing regatta. The commander and crew were presented with the Fair Play award by the International Olympic Committee for a rescue operation carried out during the race.

 
 
1982
 
 
2000

In the year 2000 a new research training ship, the Horyzont II, was added to the Maritime School’s float. The ship first left port on 9th May 2000, sailing around the Baltic, before settings sail on an expedition to the island of Spitsbergen at the end of June of the same year. In late December 2000, the ship embarked on its longest voyage to date with supplies for the Polish base on King George Island, off the coast of Antarctica.

Gdynia Maritime Academy

In 2001, the Higher Gdynia Maritime School was renamed the Gdynia Maritime Academy. The change in the institution's name was the coronation of the continued efforts of the School’s leaders and staff to increase its prestige and precedence.

 
 
2001
 

In addition to majors in maritime subjects, other courses of study not directly related to work at sea were also developed. After all, the maritime industry is much more than just floats, ships and their crew. It is a complex global economic system that requires professional management, innovation, and interdisciplinary research from areas of technical, natural, legal, and economic sciences.

The academy’s flagship Dar Pomorza spent most of its time during this period in European waters, taking part in the majority of the ever more popular sailing rallies and regattas as part of maritime festivals, and becoming a true sea-going ambassador for Poland.

 
 
 
2018

On 20th May 2018, the Dar Młodzieży set off from the harbour in Gdynia on the Independence Voyage – for the 2nd time in its history the frigate successfully circumnavigated the globe, leaving in its wake 38,000 nautical miles during 313 days at sea.

Gdynia Maritime University

 
 
2018

On 1st September 2018, under the Regulation of the Minister for Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, the Academy became the Gdynia Maritime University. The change followed the attainment of the right to award doctoral degrees and its compliance with the requirements for university status.

In the autumn of 2019, the decision was made by the Minister of Science and Higher Education to incorporate the Gdansk Maritime Institute, an important research and development unit with 50 years of experience in carrying out projects within the wider maritime economy, into the existing structure of the Gdynia Maritime University.

 
 
2019
 
 
2019

At the time of the University’s acquisition of the Maritime Institute, it also acquired a modern catamaran research vessel named Imor which was added to the existing float including the Dar Młodzieży and the Horyzont II.

The inauguration of the first academic year of the Gdynia Maritime University, the 100th inauguration of a new academic year in the history of Polish maritime education, took place on 5th October 2019.

 
 
2019
 
 
The University Today

Currently, the University is made up of four rapidly developing Faculties: Navigation, Marine Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Management and Quality Science, within which the University is expanding its scientific and academic activity across nine areas of study, in a total of 42 degree programmes. All faculties have the right to award doctoral degrees.

Building of the Tczew Maritime School, 1920.

Building of the Tczew Maritime School, 1920.

Admiral Kazimierz Porębski, Head of the Department for Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Military Affairs, alongside the staff and students of the Tczew Maritime School, 8th December 1920.

Admiral Kazimierz Porębski, Head of the Department for Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Military Affairs, alongside the staff and students of the Tczew Maritime School, 8th December 1920.

The Lwów on the day of the raising of the flag, September 1921.

The Lwów on the day of the raising of the flag, September 1921.

Grand opening and consecration of the main building of the Gdynia Maritime School, 8th December 1930. In the photo: Adam Mohuczy - Director of the GMS (1st on the left), Józef Kożuchowski - Minister of Industry and Trade (2nd from the left), Float Commander Józej Unruga (first row, 4th from the left), Stanisław Okoniewski - Bishop of Chełm (centre), Antoni Garnuszewski, Eng. (second from the right), General Mariusz Zaruski, (4th from the right). Photograph taken from the National Digital Archive.

Grand opening and consecration of the main building of the Gdynia Maritime School, 8th December 1930. In the photo: Adam Mohuczy - Director of the GMS (1st on the left), Józef Kożuchowski - Minister of Industry and Trade (2nd from the left), Float Commander Józej Unruga (first row, 4th from the left), Stanisław Okoniewski - Bishop of Chełm (centre), Antoni Garnuszewski, Eng. (second from the right), General Mariusz Zaruski, (4th from the right). Photograph taken from the National Digital Archive.

The building of the Gdynia State Maritime School, 1930-1939.

The building of the Gdynia State Maritime School, 1930-1939.

Dar Pomorza from a photo session in Gdansk bay. Photo by Tadeusz Link.

Dar Pomorza from a photo session in Gdansk bay. Photo by Tadeusz Link.

Dar Pomorza sets sail on its circumnavigation of the globe, 1934-1935.

Dar Pomorza sets sail on its circumnavigation of the globe, 1934-1935.

The building of the Maritime School in Southampton, England, 1939-1945.

The building of the Maritime School in Southampton, England, 1939-1945.

During military training at the Southampton Maritime School, England.

During military training at the Southampton Maritime School, England.

Camp barracks at the Maritime Middle and Grammar School in Landywood, the so-called “fun houses”, made from sheets of corrugated iron and used as classrooms, dormitories, kitchens, canteens, boiler rooms, clinics, chapels and workshops, as well as housing for service staff.

Camp barracks at the Maritime Middle and Grammar School in Landywood, the so-called “fun houses”, made from sheets of corrugated iron and used as classrooms, dormitories, kitchens, canteens, boiler rooms, clinics, chapels and workshops, as well as housing for service staff.

The first post-war entrance exams for the Gdynia State Maritime School, 8-14 October 1945.

The first post-war entrance exams for the Gdynia State Maritime School, 8-14 October 1945.

Seamanship training on the Dar Pomorza Watch at the helm.

Seamanship training on the Dar Pomorza Watch at the helm.

Students of the Faculty of Marine Engineering, 1948

Students of the Faculty of Marine Engineering, 1948

In front of the main entrance to the State Maritime School following the return of the Faculty of Navigation to Gdynia. Tutor Budrewicz and Boarding House Manager Franciszek Hinz.

In front of the main entrance to the State Maritime School following the return of the Faculty of Navigation to Gdynia. Tutor Budrewicz and Boarding House Manager Franciszek Hinz.

First-year students of the State Maritime School in summer dress uniform, 1958.

First-year students of the State Maritime School in summer dress uniform, 1958.

Raising of the flag on the Horyzont in the presence of the Minister of Shipping, Stanisław Darski (in the light-coloured coat), 29th September 1963.

Raising of the flag on the Horyzont in the presence of the Minister of Shipping, Stanisław Darski (in the light-coloured coat), 29th September 1963.

Changing the name to the Higher Maritime School, 1st September 1969.

Changing the name to the Higher Maritime School, 1st September 1969.

Launching of the Dar Młodzieży from the side ramp of the C-1 Hull Assembly section of Gdansk Shipyard, 12th November 1981. Photo by K. Kamiński.

Launching of the Dar Młodzieży from the side ramp of the C-1 Hull Assembly section of Gdansk Shipyard, 12th November 1981. Photo by K. Kamiński.

First crew commanded by Master Mariner Tadeusz Olechnowicz on the first voyage of the Dar Młodzieży.

First crew commanded by Master Mariner Tadeusz Olechnowicz on the first voyage of the Dar Młodzieży.

The Horyzont II. Photo by Piotr Lewandowski.

The Horyzont II. Photo by Piotr Lewandowski.

The building of the Maritime Academy in Gdynia. Photo by K. Okońska.

The building of the Maritime Academy in Gdynia. Photo by K. Okońska.

The laboratory of the Faculty of Management and Quality Science at GMU. Photo by Marcin Rakowski

The laboratory of the Faculty of Management and Quality Science at GMU. Photo by Marcin Rakowski

The Dar Młodzieży Photo by Piotr Lewandowski.

The Dar Młodzieży Photo by Piotr Lewandowski.

The Dar Młodzieży setting off on the Independence Voyage. Photo by Wojciech Stróżyk.

The Dar Młodzieży setting off on the Independence Voyage. Photo by Wojciech Stróżyk.

Gdynia Maritime University. Photo by Piotr Lewandowski.

Gdynia Maritime University. Photo by Piotr Lewandowski.

The Imor – the GMU Maritime Institute’s modern catamaran research vessel.

The Imor – the GMU Maritime Institute’s modern catamaran research vessel.

Ordinance of the Minister for Higher Education regarding the incorporation of the Gdansk Maritime Institute into the Gdynia Maritime University.

Ordinance of the Minister for Higher Education regarding the incorporation of the Gdansk Maritime Institute into the Gdynia Maritime University.

Inauguration of the 2019/2020 academic year Photo by Marcin Rakowski.

Inauguration of the 2019/2020 academic year Photo by Marcin Rakowski.

Polish cadets following the handing out of new training uniforms in the Maritime School in Southampton, England.

Polish cadets following the handing out of new training uniforms in the Maritime School in Southampton, England.

GMU Logo.

GMU Logo.

Created:
I.Wierzbowska 06.08.2013
Last edit:
D.Edmunds 16.09.2021