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Best of two worlds - Poland and... Germany


DariuszTelka 5 | 193
1 Sep 2010 #1
I'v been thinking about relocating to Poland for quite some time now, which I have mentioned in a couple of posts earlier. And in the beginning you kind of have a "rosy" look of Poland, you know, from your childhood, spending countless evenings playing with friends, coming home for dinner, before heading out again. No real problems, no worries as childhoods usually go. But of course, one day you grow up, and have to seperate the two, and realize that visiting Poland as a child, and actually living and working there would be two different things.

Moving from Norway, a country with a well established welfare system, a good and clean health system, low crime (compared to other countries) and being just a nice and clean place to be in and exchanging that safety and known world with Poland, who is an "Up-and-comer" on many areas of life, could pose many challenges. I know the economy is up, the roads are buing built, city centres refurbished (I saw Bialystok this year, and loved the way they fixed up their city centre), people are getting a higher life standard and things are generally improving om most areas.

There are many threads on this forum to read on about those topics and challenges about people who either moved from Poland and then back again, or people who came from other countries and started a whole new life in Poland. My love for Poland, and being able to "start over" in a country which is yet to be multi-cultural in the "negative sense", is something I really want. (There are of course many positive sides to cultures coming together, but the european way of importing millions of 3rd worlders have not worked that well, unfortunately). So after 30 years of living outside of my birth country and "armed" with my Polish wife, who was raised in the U.S, we plan to go back. Somehow, somewhere.

As one does one's research about the how's and why's, one just get's swamped with all the information, the stories, the facts. The rose-tinted window that your original thought seemed to be, has been smashed by reality and challenges you didn't think about at first. Some of these are what kind of jobs that are available, and what they pay. What is the safest city? Where are the best schools located? The list is long. Again, many a thread here on PF discusses these topics too! What about clean air and peace of mind? I scroll through hundreds of sites and blogs about Poland, look at dozens of real-estate sites, correspond WITH real-estate agents about prices and value of houses and properties. And then sit on PF too much and get sucked into whatever is todays topic...too many times a bit too anti-Polish for me, but at least I'm not going to be let down when the day comes to leave, after reading one hundred "Why Poland sucks"-posts, things SURELY WILL be better than what I've read by posters who troll these forums, you know who you are.

But recently I got hit with a thought, Poland borders to 7 countries, Germany, The Czech Republik, Slovakia, The Ukraine, Bielorussia, Lithuania and Russia. As one is looking for the highest quality of life, in whatever aspect one feels is important, the Polish border with Germany has caught my eye. I rememeber when I visited Zgorzelec, the birthplace of my wife, and we walked around there in the summertime. A typical, nice, but not too well kept city on the border with it's former half - Görlitz. We walked over the bridge, and lo and behold, the other side was extremely nice looking! The parks were kept, the streets were clean, the shops had nice signs, the trams were modern and the town squares were taken straight out from a postcard. Looking back over the bridge back to Zgorzelec and seeing the still grey buildings, the overgrown grass by the roadsides was a bit sad. That was my family's side and I loved it, but I'm not blind either. There would still be a long time before the Polish side caught up with the German side of the river. What would be the excuse for Zgorzelec not to paint and fix up their buildings, while Görlitz, which lost half their population in the last 20 years, and lies out of everyones way, even by east-German standards, looked like any other German city? Anyways, I'm ranting. Back to the point.

How would it be, if one bought a flat/house in Görlitz, which is realtively cheap by German standards, and in abundance because of the population-flight, but had one's life on the Polish side? Going to the dentist, shopping, visiting family, going to restaurants and speaking Polish. But at the same time living in Germany and having the safety of a controlled bureaucracy, better health care and maybe other things that "work" better in Germany than in present day Poland.

One could also put it the other way. Buying a property in Zgorzelec (or any of the other cities on the border with Germany like, Kostrzyn nad Odra, Slubice, Janiszowice etc.), and working in Germany, receiving German pay, but using it in Poland, as German Euros will go further than Zloty at the Biedronka. These are now real possibilites for thousands for people on either side of that border, but I have yet to read a thread about it here on PF.

Here in Oslo, Norway, we are only 1 hour + away from the Swedish border, and man can I tell you there are some serious traffic over the bridge to the shopping malls on the Swedish side on Saturdays and Sundays! It's called "Harry-handel"(!), you know, the people who live in a van down by the river-people, but in reality are every-day "Joe and Suzy", who go there to stock up on food and other items that are cheaper than in Norway. One can easily save hundreds of Euros on one such shopping trip, and it's a billion euro business which is expanding every year. To the grievance of Norwegian politicians, who don't understand why people don't want to pay 1.50 Euro for a litre of milk or 10 Euros for a small package of meatloaf, in a Norwegian shopping mall, when you can get everything for half price in Sweden. But again, I digress...

Now, my question is if anyone here have any experiences of this kind of living, or any thoughts about this kind of life, on the bordertowns of Poland and Germany, or the other countries that Poland borders to. If one was dropped in Zgorzelec with no information about towns or borders, there would be hard to tell that the bridge represents a border, and that Görlitz and Zgorzelec used to be seperated by barbed wires and guards with machine guns. The only thing that could give it away is maybe the lack of colour on the Polish buildings and the slightly longer grass in the park compared to the German side...The city of Görlitz even openly invites Polish youths to come and stay for free in nicely-furnished apartements, hoping that they will stay permanently and contribute to their city. Which according to some newspaper articles, some have chosen to do.

presseurop.eu/en/content/article/3591-glourious-goerlitz

There was the Zgorzelec-Gorlitz bid for the 2010 European city of culture competition, that was only beaten by Essen. And the new project now is called "Culture 2020" i believe, which is supposed to bring the cities closer together, even going as far as having a tram-line across the bridge taking germans and poles back and forth across the border for shopping, work or anything else.

As I see it, this is a very exciting proposition, living in either, but getting "the best of both worlds", depending on how one looks at it. I could have Polish language, Polish food, Poland itself, but I could also have German efficiency and a proper way of conduct in government, a "brighter" and more western place to live, as not to shock myself too much when leaving Norway. (It must be admitted that I am eligable for both Polish and German citizenship, and will by that have the entitlements that follows with them).

Moving to the Bielorussian border on the other hand will make Poland the "richer" side, and whatever city it shares with on the other side the "affordable" side...and since I do not qualify for Bielorussian citizenship, I will stick with the german side. But if anyone has some thoughts about or experience with this, it would be very interesting to read.

Dariusz
Seanus 15 | 19,706
1 Sep 2010 #2
I think you have adopted a 'one foot in, one foot out' approach, Dariusz. There isn't much wrong with that. It just depends what you are after. Oh, I know a German who works in Szczecin (Stettin) and he much prefers Polish bureaucracy so it depends what kind of administrative work you will be doing. You will be more likely to get cooperation in those parts of Poland where it is more normal to go to Germany, e.g Lower Silesia.

Gorlitz sounds like a good pick&mix deal but be wary of catches ;) You would be shuffling back and forth between different bureaucracies with different operating procedures. That could be onerous!

Getting yourself set up and adjusted would take longer than you imagine. Are you prepared to roll the dice?
OP DariuszTelka 5 | 193
1 Sep 2010 #3
Oh no, I don't want to roll any dice... :-@ I'm too scared to loose...hehe.

I know, having one foot in each camp, could be more strenuous than rewarding, but as the borders are now only on the maps, and cities and governments seem interested in inter-city activities between their inhabitants, as with Görlitz-Zgorzelec, I got this really good "European" feeling over me. If it's possible to somehow manage a life like that, well, that's what I was hoping to have some input on from people actually living there or knowing something about it. There are a couple of things that work against it, like language, the German and Polish languages are miles apart, and the fact that Germans are a bit richer than their neighbours, but I'm hoping the positives would outweigh the negatives. Like possibilities for more employment, student exchanges, financial possibilites with increased trade, co-working on big projects like the tram-line etc.

It's just the fact that it used to be ONE city, so working/shopping/living across the river should not be to much of a stressfull ordeal if one knew both languages (Which I do, to a lesser extent), seing both are in the EU, which opens many doors in the official offices that used to be burdened with tons of paperwork for the smallest thing, and the financial incentive that both cities want from exploiting (In a good way) their common populus' and the financial gain that can come from such a partnership.

Now if the Polish and the Germans that live there see it such a positive way, is another matter...

Dariusz
Seanus 15 | 19,706
1 Sep 2010 #4
Well, it's probably a good deal when you consider that there would likely be some semblance of harmony and cooperation. There can be bitter rivalries between cities around the world and Poland is no exception. Here in Upper Silesia, football fans almost kill one another. In the interests of international relations, I don't think it would happen in border regions.
plk123 8 | 4,150
1 Sep 2010 #5
Gorlitz sounds like a good pick&mix deal but be wary of catches ;)

that is my first thought too.. taxation could be a nighmare.. same with you wanting to use medical services on the side you aren't getting paid on.. the other thing, are there even any decent jobs in either town? i'm thinking, not many, based on the fact that Gorlitz population is still moving away.... of course it does depend what you do..

not sure if your wife lives with you in Norge but living in PL may be even bigger shock then for you.. there is more of a difference between USA and PL then Norway and PL..

but, good luck. :)

btw. great topic and first of its kind here, iirc.

---------------------

Germans are a bit richer

but the east germany isn't as rich as the old west is..
Seanus 15 | 19,706
1 Sep 2010 #6
Right! I said it because I know the German guy I met has immense problems between the two. The palliative is that his wife speaks fluently in both languages. His Polish is pretty good too but I know myself that pretty good is not enough when it comes to the precision art of bureaucracy.

I echo that sentiment, plk123. It's a good thread and a breath of fresh air. Relocation involves more than just physically moving and I'll likely have more to say in the near future on this matter.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,879
1 Sep 2010 #7
How would it be, if one bought a flat/house in Görlitz, which is realtively cheap by German standards, and in abundance because of the population-flight, but had one's life on the Polish side?

That's because Poles still require work permits for working in Germany.

Anyway, your great plan has one problem - economically, the German borderland is much worse off than the Polish side. Don't let appearances deceive you - the nice German borderland is solely due to the massive transfers from West to East - but they have spectacularly failed at attracting new investment, unlike places such as Kostryn and Słubice. The job market is somewhat dire in places like Gorlitz and Frankfurt (Oder) - in fact, the situation is now approaching the point where Germans are looking for work in Poland.

Even Berlin is massively struggling these days.
OP DariuszTelka 5 | 193
1 Sep 2010 #8
Oh no, my masterplan already has holes in it....:-( Who asked for you opinon anyway?? J/k..

I did read that Görlitz have a massive 22% unemployment rate, and that child poverty is among the hightest in the country there. These are ofcourse red flags! But at the same time I see this as an opportunity to invest in property, as Görlitz will not remain like this forever, and if one finds oneself a niche or something one can do that is still attractive, one can survive. I have yet to look into the other cities mentioned above, and only know that they share the same fate in being border cities. But since my wife has family in Zgorzelec/Wroclaw and would like to be near them for obvious reasons, that's what I'm looking at right now. But if the Germans, as you say, are even looking for work in Poland in that area, that is some serious s*it... :-o

btw. great topic and first of its kind here, iirc.

Yes, all these things have to be adressed. I would think living in Görlitz, and paying for German health services, while having Zgorzelec across the river for "pleasure", as family lives there and I can get my Polish foods and keep on practicing my language skills, would be the "sanest" thing to do. But right now, I'm not to educated on the state of things there, so I will keep on reading and take a trip there next year to see and hear for myself.

My wife was born in Zgorzelec, but moved to the U.S when she was ten. (34 now). But she has kept her language, and visits her family there every year, so she knows a little about how things are. Of course living in Norway for 5 years has given her a new outlook on life, as she get's things even the U.S. couldn't give her, like 1 whole year at home fully paid after childbirth, free healthcare etc. But since she is fluent in Polish, English, French, Norwegian and knows basic German, we were hoping she could either find a job in a private language school or do some private teaching. On either side of the river.

But I would think the German health care and social security system is step up the ladder from the Polish one, even on the eastern-most part of the old DDR. So from a personal safety view, having a family and living on the German side, partaking in the Polish side more as a permanent tourist would maybe be the solution. But right now I'm talkin out of my a**, since all my information has come from the internet...

Here in Upper Silesia, football fans almost kill one another. In the interests of international relations, I don't think it would happen in border regions.

About the football hooligans, I'm too old for that, hehe, besides if confronted, "AI KÅM FRÅM NÅRWEI", I just need a bench and a cold beer..

Dariusz
plk123 8 | 4,150
1 Sep 2010 #9
we were hoping she could either find a job in a private language school or do some private teaching. On either side of the river.

that's a toughy.. there a few threads about that here too and if not, ask seanus... he does it but it's not great dough and it's rather hard to even get what he gets.. there are problems with this in PL.. no idea about D.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,310
1 Sep 2010 #10
Na ja...how long do you think will Görlitz stay nice if people only take out of it what they can and give nothing back (taking their money to Poland instead).

Where do you think the money to keep things nice and clean should come from???
You should at least pay your taxes in Görlitz....

When you really like what you see on the german side than you should strive to support it, not to leech from it.
Because if everybody would do this then...

Isn't it this kind of thinking what hinders polish towns to "catch up" in the first place?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6rlitz

There is not everything dire though....Görlitz belongs to the Dresden region and that region is positively booming. Already a german center for high-tech and research...our Silikon valley.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saxony#Economy

If one is smart and knows more than only one language he can surely find a niche to profit from the changing face of the once border region!

German-English-Polish would be perfect regarding the future of this region. :)
OP DariuszTelka 5 | 193
1 Sep 2010 #11
I know my post could easily be looked upon this way, but BB, be sure my intentions are honest!

If you buy a flat/house in Görlitz, you first pay tax on the property, then electricity, water and everything else that comes with it. Then you also pay tax to the local government from your income, you need insurances on everything and this will all be paid to the German side. And probably 8 out 10 times you will buy your bread locally. But then once a week or so, you go to the Auchon in Zgorzelec and fill up on polish kielbasa, pierogis and beer to stock up the fridge. Maybe even see the dentist and save a hundred Euros. If the work the dentist did sucks, he will not see you again! Again, competition is great, and the consumer is the winner! I don't see this as a big problem to either side. In the Norwegian/Swedish border saga, the car-repair shops have begun to pop up on the Swedish border too...getting your car serviced for half the price, while you are inside shopping for half the price, is somewhat an incentive for the ordinary man with an ordinary salary. (Gee, I wonder why).

Right now Görlitz only has about half the population it once had, which is very sad, when you think about all the beautiful architecture, the history and the possibilites a town like this can have. For people like me, who dream of a new future, a city like this can be the answer. I can buy a property that I would not have a chance to buy elsewehere, and hopefully experience a beautiful and exciting part of Europe, having safety from the German social system (While of course paying for it through taxes), but also being close to and able to experience Poland every day if I choose to. Hopefully, Zgorzelec will pick itself up and start to upgrade it's buildings and parks and become a duplicate side to Görlitz, visually.

My comments about living in one place and doing everything at the other place, was more a way of saying you "can do it", you have the freedom to do it. A trip over the river to get a special product or visit family is not the same as investing ones whole wallet on the other side of the river, leaving the other side behind to fund it. That goes for whatever side one chooses to settle.

Competetion is great and capitalism is even greater. If your competitor does something good, you have to outsmart him. Both the Polish and the German sides have to accept this, and the fact that Görlitz now offers free vacations and stays for Polish youths to attract them over the river is a testament to exactly that! Now ball is in Zgorzelec' half...

I fully agree that if someone solely took financial advantage of the situation and milked both systems for personal gain, that would be unethical, and I have no such aspiration. Although I was born in Poland, feel quite Polish, and even have a Polish name, I (secretly) admire Germany and what she represents on all aspects of life. As most people here know, I am a bit of a European patriot, and when you look at what Germany (minus the wars of course) have achieved, built, invented and what they stand for in regards to work ethic and quality, I have no other choice but to bow down in humbleness. Poland, not to be forgotten in this respect has her own achievements and glorious history. The pride one can find in Poland is a rarity in Europe, and the fact the country still exists if one reads her history, is a testament to how great she is.

Now if there is a possiblity for me and my family to experience both, or as I said, to get the best of two worlds, I'm going to grab it! (Cue Queen song "I want it all").

Dariusz

Hopes BB accepts my offering of coming down in my Viking ship filled with loot...eh I mean quality tapestry.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,310
1 Sep 2010 #12
If you buy a flat/house in Görlitz, you first pay tax on the property, then electricity, water and everything else that comes with it.

*nods*

That would be okay! :)

There is also a bit of border trade from the german side too...many Germans cross the border to enjoy polish goods or services which are much cheaper than in Germany.

That's why many business entrepreneurs on both sides offer their services already in german and polish! :)

I too believe in a great future of the once-dead-barbwire-machine guns-now-free-again-but- quite-empty-border regions!

But it needs brave adventurers willing to take the risks...like the wild, wild East it is!!!
*saddle your horse cowboy* :)

Hopes BB accepts my offering of coming down in my Viking ship filled with loot...eh I mean quality tapestry.

You shall pass!

:):):)
southern 75 | 7,096
1 Sep 2010 #13
I heard that Gorlitz looks phantastic while Zgorzelec is a sh1thole.Is this possible?
poland_
1 Sep 2010 #14
DariuszTelka, what passport do you have?
OP DariuszTelka 5 | 193
2 Sep 2010 #15
I have the Norwegian passport. It's nice and red and let's me through most security checks more easily than my wife's american green one. I always make fun of her, rolling my eyes when she has to stand the extra minute at the passport security checkpoint, while they flip through her pages. She could use her Polish one, but it's out of date, and I wish she had updated the Polish one, when we went to Egypt once...somehow showing the american passport down there made me feel a little bit like a potential target...

My family background is a bit split, I was born in Poland (Mikolow), but my grandmother on my mothers side is Norwegian, and she took me to Norway when I was a small kid, and I've been here ever since. (36 now). Some of my family on my fathers side is mixed Polish/German from before the war, and I have seen the way they used write their names both in a Polish and German spelling, like my Telka, used to be Toelke, and I know my grandmother was born in Gdansk, under the name Raschke. I guess people adapted and changed their names according to who ruled what area at that time. My grandfathers were forced(?) to be in the German army, but afterwards settled in Poland without any problems and were accepted by the new government and were as far as I know just ordinary soldiers. (I also have family that were shot by both the Russians and the Germans during the war). So it's a big mixup of people and names across the borders, but I guess that's how it was back in those days.

Anyways, I feel more Polish than German, but I know because of this "mixed" background, I could probably apply for German citizenship, which would make it a bit easier for me if I choose to settle in Görlitz.

Is it possible to hold two passports now a days?

Dariusz
delphiandomine 83 | 17,879
2 Sep 2010 #16
Right now, places like Gorlitz are actually getting worse and worse due to the "brain drain" and the fact that there is just nothing happening there economically. They've suffered quite badly with Poland offering very favourable terms (and the all important cheaper labour) - look at Frankfurt (Oder) and why you can't find a fuel station there in the centre, for instance. And that's just one example of many.

You've also got the problem of being perceived as a foreigner in both countries - which makes life even more difficult. Gorlitz may look nice, but living somewhere with crushingly high unemployment and little career prospects will soon get you down.

That's why many business entrepreneurs on both sides offer their services already in german and polish! :)

I'll never forget the time I spoke Polish in the station in Frankfurt (Oder)...to say that I was given a filthy look by the staff is an understatement :(
OP DariuszTelka 5 | 193
2 Sep 2010 #17
Yes, unfortunately this is the truth. When the economy goes down, peoples' circle of trust get smaller and smaller, until the end when even the neighbour is your enemy.

In the article i linked to in the OP it mentiones that when the mayor of Görlitz Michael Wieler, addressing the fact that they didn't have a public pool, and proposed that the Germans could go to Zgorzelec to use their public pool, since it wasn't that much in use. Well that didn't go down well with some of the older people in Görlitz: "When Görlitz was debating the construction of a new swimming pool and Wieler procured figures showing how underused the pool in Zgorzelec was and recommended sharing it, one reader wrote a letter to the editor blasting the "delusions of an uprooted West German".

Now this is another discussion, maybe for a German forum, but the Germans are still getting over the whole "East/West" thing, and feeling close to Poles across the river may lie a bit into the future...first they have to work on their own history. And if things are as bad on the German side of the border as you have pointed out, then of course anyone that stick out just a little bit will get the stares.

Maybe BB has some input on the German/Polish relations in Germany or he has a story he wanst to share?

I'm just hoping that the resentment or differences that may lie underneath are just skin deep, and that actual life is possible on the whole. Here in Norway lot's of people have opinons about other Norwegians, depending on where they come from, and it may even be used in a negative way, but it's not the decisive factor by a long shot. Up here in the north, the Finns, Swedes and Danes are not exactly the best troika you could have in bar if you don't have insurance on your interior! So it depends on how deep the distrust or "hate" actually is between the Germans and the Poles, is it just an evil eye, or could a beer at the pub later if you get to know eachother solve it all? Or is it some DNA thing that you just don't mix? Like the English and Germans.

Here's a quite interesting link about Europeans and who they hate.....(humorous, but with some truth to it?).

"The Poles - Not much seems to register about Poland and the Poles except that they're quiet. They are a relatively big country (40 million people) so the supposed scare of being overrun by Eastern Europeans when a bunch of Eastern European countries joined the EU in 2005 focused in on the Poles. The Germans really don't like Poles, and among Germany's 9 neighbors, are disliked the most. Poland is considered a country of car thieves by the Germans. Really, the relationship between Germany and Poland is similar to that of the United States and Mexico [...]".

All the other countries are listed there too...

dailycandor.com/what-europeans-think-of-each-other/

(And read the commentaries too, some really good stuff there!).

Dariusz
southern 75 | 7,096
2 Sep 2010 #18
If you work in Zgorzelec and have fun in Gorlitz you get the worst of the two worlds.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,310
2 Sep 2010 #19
Maybe BB has some input on the German/Polish relations in Germany or he has a story he wanst to share?

Hmm...actually it's here on PF that I came to know abit about Poles and Poland only.
Sadly Poland does just not happen to blimp on the german radar besides if something negative happens (car thefts, anti-german rethorik by polish politicians or as humourless, tantrum throwing whiners whenever a German dares to make a joke about them etc.)

Of course Poles blame the Germans for it but I'm not so sure...nobody will get attention automatically...on the other hand I learned that there are many polish-german cultural projects, I have no idea why they are not more featured in (our both) the media.

I think that the gist of the problem is that Poland in the main (media) still not got over the whole war thingy and looks at Germany with unfriendly eyes...(But then they are unfriendly against Russia and others too so maybe it's normal)

As for most Germans the war is long history and we have quite good relationships with also most other ex-enemies and even further East (Russia) and even Israel, so I think it's more a polish than a german problem.

Just my opinion...

I also think that the upcoming football European championship can be a huge chance for Poland to become better known in the West. Germans will look at Poland/Ukraine very closely for a month...and german TV brings alot about the hosts country during the breaks, I know that from experience :)

But as I said...it needs two to tango!
It isn't only a german problem and the recurring "Those arrogant bloody Nazis!" if Poles again feel gravely slighted just because they imagine a German is looking at them the wrong way isn't going to help our relationship at all.

Actually both countries businesses have already no problem to work well with each other...
OP DariuszTelka 5 | 193
2 Sep 2010 #20
Sadly Poland does just not happen to blimp on the german radar besides if something negative happens

That is sad. But this is pretty normal in Europe between countries like Norway/Sweden, Holland/Belgium, England/Ireland etc. Right now, Denmark is attacking Sweden over some political party and it just looks like a circus. But that's how it is. It doesn't matter if it's two small countries with the combined populace of 14 million, or like in Germany and Polands case almost tenfolds, a whopping 130 000 000 people. It's the same bickering, the same low journalistic integrity. Why they do this, and why the media goes along, only they themselves can answer. How about France, Denmark or Austria, would you say they get more time or are talked about in more positive light in your media than Poland? And if you have the time and energy, would you rank the countries Germany borders with and tell us who you rate highest-lowest in your opinion (good-bad neighbour).

Is the problem with "Polish crime" really that big in Germany BB? The thefts of cars and so on? And why would Polish politicians use anti-German rhetoric? I would think they would like to expand on the trade, open for companies to establish themselves on both sides for increased markets and profits, having police and authorities work together cross-borders and going after the thieves! I know they do to a certain extent on the borders, where the border police actually learn the other countries' language to better the co-operation. I've even seen documentaries on this. (Fritz talks in broken Polish to Jacek on the Walkie-Talkie, that he has seen a rather modern looking Audi with 4 suspecting looking men coming over the border with broken tail-lights, and Jacek, replies in broken German that they are going to stop and question them.) ;-)))

Of course Poles blame the Germans for it but I'm not so sure...

Which is an interesting fact.

I was actually a little surprised when I visited Poland many years ago, that many Poles don't "hate" the Russians, but listen to their music and follows what happens there with some enthusiasm. When you think that the Russians were at least "as bad" as the Germans in war time, and even after, why would there be any "more" hate against the Germans? Germany has more to offer Poland today than Russia has. Maybe because there is no "real" border with Russia? (The one by the Baltic sea is more provincial and is from what I know completely broke). Besides all the bordertowns with Germany should inspire trade, culture and inter-marrying...hm. Now I'm talking from a Nordic perspective, and here mixed couples like Norwegian/Swedish or Norwegian/Danish are very common and the trade, the culture and the tourist industry are investing heavy money into making us come over the borders. One of the most known tourist slogans we hear in Norway is "It's good to be a Norwegian in Denmark!". I guess from your comments, you don't find to many "Visit Poland" brochures and posters hanging in the local travel-agency then?

And would one not think that considering the millions of Germans with Polish sounding names, and millions of Poles with German sounding names, all the inter-married familys, the fact that many of the regions are populated by people who don't really see themselves as "Germans" or "Polish", but as Sileans for example, that all this would make it EASIER for our countries to blend together rather than bicker and moan about all the bad stuff?

I also think that the upcoming football European championship can be a huge chance for Poland to become better known in the West. Germans will look at Poland/Ukraine very closely for a month..

I really hope they step up the plate and do a good job at this event. They will never ever in a million years have anything like this again, so attracting the west to Poland through this one-month window of opportunity is immensly important. Hopefully they will fix the roads, paint a bit on some grey buildings and improve customer friendliness, which I've read many here on PF complain about.

My hope is that time will heal most wounds, and that the next generations will see above past grievances and look to the future and not to the past. I understand the older people who still remember what happened or have strong stories that can not be forgotten. But the last people who were there are soon gone, and it's our task to build for the future. So, hopefully I'm not the only one who is ready to take the step in building another bridge across our borders. And one of the things I see as most important is to learn the language and master it. This shows that one really cares and opens more doors than if one just learnt the basic and stopped there. I know some Poles in Norway, who still after 30 years do not master the Norwegian language, and it just infuriates me.

Dariusz
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,310
2 Sep 2010 #21
How about France, Denmark or Austria, would you say they get more time in your media than Poland?

France definitely...we even share a TV station using german/french language and with german/french program.
There is alot of interconnection on all possible topics going...
The decades of trying to join us on the hip show definitely success! ;)

Denmark is close to Schleswig Holstein and na ja Austria...it's a german province anyhow (pssst, don't tell them, they like to believe they are different...well they suck at football so maybe it's true!)

Not to mention that millions of Germans travel every year south to invade again! :):):)

;)

And if you have the time and energy, would you rank the countries Germany borders with and tell us who you rate highest-lowest in your opinion (good-bad neighbour)

I personally became very interested in Poland recently...
But then, regarding my family history, I'm very excited about the development of our border region, knowing abit of our shared past. We are witnessing history here...slow going history, but history nonetheless. I have great hopes for our region.

(I like Hungary, find Prague just beautiful, call myself a nostalgic ex-Silesian and are not so much interested in the western neighbours)

It matters where you live...western Germans have of course more connections with the western neighbours like Holland or France. Eastern Germans should be more interested in Germany's eastern neighbours...but I think that many Poles harbor more grudges against Eastern Germans and are more ready to "forgive" western Germans, even as they care even less for them than Eastern Germans...I dunno why that is!

Some Poles don't even regard Eastern Germans as "real" Germans :):):)

Is the problem with "Polish crime" really that big in Germany BB? The thefts of cars and so on?

Sadly yes, it IS a problem...not only some hyped prejudice!

I guess from your comments, you don't find to many "Visit Poland" brochures and posters hanging in the local travel-agency then?

A (in Poland fairly unknown) phenomenon is that the majority of those Germans really interested in Poland are those whose family ties point to the ex-territories. I know of nobody who plans to invade and demands them back but they know more of Polands history and what natural gems Poland has to offer than your usual travel agency (or the usual German).

So that most travels are organized between them and they build a big part of the german-polish travel industry.
Sadly again some Poles see them not as sympathetic tourist cows to milk but as some "Neo-Nazi threat" only out to get the poor, unsuspecting Pole again.

But I also read that that is changing and Poles start to see these tourists more positively as the asset to their economy they are.

I really have hopes for the future! :)
OP DariuszTelka 5 | 193
2 Sep 2010 #22
France definitely.....

Haha, you love France the most, the country that "everyone" else in Europe hates..hm...or is that only on TV shows and something the Americans invented because France opened their country to you in 39 and didnt' resist? I've read that France had a real "upswing" during the war in cabarets, prostitution and alcohol sales...oh well, somebody has to love the French besides gays and young female students of the world.....j/k...eh... (I feel like a bigot now). My wife is a French teacher, so I'm writing this in absolute secrecy..

I'm all dizzy now....who doesn't like what and why can't whomever like whatever wherever? :-@

Sadly yes, it IS a problem...not only some hyped prejudice!

This is very sad, and I am for stronger sentences for these people who exploit and give Poland a bad name outside her borders! They should have a special law that adds to the sentence if you "with malice or without recognition that you are a diplomat of the Polish state have put the glorious state of Poland in a bad light". Extra lashes will be given at any time during your stay at the specially built prison called "Breakback motel". I'm almost serious....

I really have hopes for the future! :)

I understand this, and it would probably look the same if busloads of Poles went into Lviv or Minsk and walked around with old brown handwritten papers from the beginning of the last century, notepads and cameras talking about "their" houses...the locals there would probably tell them to go somewhere pretty warm. But as you said, after the EU, the Schengen deal and now that Poles feel more at ease things should come into a new era. As Poles are now allowed to travel freely over Europe themselves, hopefully they will open more up to the Germans and vice versa! The governments must make deals and figure out what to do with the people who lost property on either sides of the borders. The next generations have to move on.

Thanks for the input BB!

Dariusz
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,310
2 Sep 2010 #23
Haha, you love France the most, the country that "everyone" else in Europe hates

That both are joined at the hip now doesn't mean "love".
Countries don't love each other...but when you want to use this imagery we are more like the grown old couple knowing each other to well to go hot over the same old topics again and again and again. They might not even like each other but they respect and accept each other because they have gone through so much. There is not much passion left...(which is a good thing IMHO)!

;)

I'm all dizzy now

"Europe" in a nutshell! :):):)
jwojcie 2 | 763
3 Sep 2010 #24
Now, my question is if anyone here have any experiences of this kind of living, or any thoughts about this kind of life, on the bordertowns of Poland and Germany

Part of family of my friend done that, but basically because their father were 1/2 German, so they've got various help from Germany gov. (though they still struggle with German :-)).

Anyway, in their case things are like that:
- they were born in Zgorzelec as Polish citizens, but a few years ago they've got German citizenship also
- now they are living in a nice though relatively small flat in Görlitz in a tenement house (they have some ease from local gov. with rents),

- the guy is working in Zgorzelec (the funny thing is that he is quite often controlled by German police because he is walking through the not existent border very early in the morning)

- they have a child, his wife is probably working in Görlitz now.

As a not so frequent visitor to Zgorzelec and a listener to some stories I can tell this:
Though Görlitz+Zgorzelec is not a very small town, there is a feel of it there, because there is not many young people. Görlitz got a lot of money from West Germany in order to renovate and the city centre is really nice and worth a trip, but it is at the same time quite dead. So there is a big chance that moving there from Oslo will make you bored soon.

As for Zgorzelec and its duskiness, it is because this town basically arised after WWII. Before it was just small suburb of Görlitz, so there is not much of historical buildings there but a lot of commieblocks.

As for general idea moving from Norway to Poland or even to East Germany town, well that is risky. Norway as a Kuwait of the north is bathing in oil and gas money and it will stays that way for a long time. Poland has a long way to go to even have half of that...
southern 75 | 7,096
3 Sep 2010 #25
Poland has a long way to go to get oil in the ground.
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
3 Sep 2010 #26
If you work in Zgorzelec and have fun in Gorlitz you get the worst of the two worlds.

This is an interesting thread. There's plenty of other threads for your tales of imaginary Balkan hypersexuality.
southern 75 | 7,096
3 Sep 2010 #27
This is an interesting thread

What is your objection to what I wrote?Better to work in Germany and entertain in Poland or the opposite?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,879
3 Sep 2010 #28
If you work in Zgorzelec and have fun in Gorlitz you get the worst of the two worlds.

These days, not so much - I can use the example of Frankfurt-Słubice. A beer in Słubice is about 5-6zl, a beer in Frankfurt is 2 euro. Not so much of a difference, really.

The strange thing is that Germans are now opening their own businesses on the Polish side - there's a very nice German cafe there :)
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,310
3 Sep 2010 #29
Görlitz had always been a pensioner town....even to prussian times...nice, quiet...gemütlich! :)
Also tourists are coming more since the gems Görlitz has to offer had been renovated so well after decades of commie neglect.

Maybe a business catering to the elder ones and tourists would have a bigger chance of success!


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