Due to centuries of common history, Olsztyn and Kaliningrad are natural cooperation partners. This cooperation was established already in the 1970s. After a break, it was resumed in the 1990s, which resulted in the signing of the partnership agreement in 1993.
The launching of the local border traffic in the middle of 2012 with the Kaliningrad Oblast gave new meaning to the relations between Olsztyn and Kaliningrad inhabitants, since they can now visit the partner city frequently and without the need of having a visa. The relationship is also enhanced by the development of bus connections.
Unified by a common history...
Kaliningrad, which currently has 430,000 inhabitants, is the capital city of the oblast – within the Russian exclave – bordering on Poland and Lithuania. Until 1945, the city had been known as Königsberg (in Polish: Królewiec) and had been the capital of East Prussia (and earlier the Duchy of Prussia and the State of the Teutonic Order). Both Królewiec (1255) and Olsztyn (1353) were founded in the territory of the conquered Old Prussian tribes and initially were included as part of the State of the Teutonic Order.
A world-famous person who came from Królewiec was the philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). Over the centuries, the city has been a strong centre of Polish culture (i. a. here was published the first translation into Polish of the New Testament in 1551 and were codified the rules of this language's orthography).
... and modern ties of cooperation
Currently, the agglomeration over the estuary of the Pregolya to the Vistula Lagoon (Kaliningrad Lagoon) is the most important economic and cultural centre in the oblast, which is also known for the extensive extraction of amber and its functioning sea harbour.
On the basis of the repeatedly resumed partnership agreement (another was signed without time limit in 2008) Olsztyn and Kaliningrad support the cooperation between entrepreneurs from both cities, universities, schools of all levels of education (including youth exchanges), culture centres, artistic groups and authors, as well as sport's clubs.
Mutual actions concerning the execution of cross-border projects, co-financed by the European Union, are a significant element of the partnership that is to i.a. Promote the tourist offer. The creators of the development strategies of Olsztyn have considered strengthening the cooperation with Kaliningrad as a matter of priority.