Opole Voivodeship
Województwo opolskie
Location within Poland
Location within Poland
Administrative divisions
Administrative divisions
Coordinates (Opole): 50°40′N 17°56′E / 50.667°N 17.933°E / 50.667; 17.933
Country Poland
 • BodyExecutive board
 • VoivodeAdrian Czubak (PiS)
 • MarshalAndrzej Buła (PO)
 • EPLower Silesian and Opole
 • Total9,412.5 km2 (3,634.2 sq mi)
 • Total984,345
 • Density100/km2 (270/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Rural
 • Languages
ISO 3166 codePL-16
Vehicle registrationO
HDI (2019)0.870[2]
very high · 10th

Opole Voivodeship, or Opole Province[3] (Polish: województwo opolskie [vɔjɛˈvut͡stfɔ ɔˈpɔlskʲɛ]), is the smallest and least populated voivodeship (province) of Poland. The province's name derives from that of the region's capital and largest city, Opole. It is part of Upper Silesia. A relatively large German minority, with representatives in the Sejm, lives in the voivodeship, and the German language is co-official in 28 communes.

Opole Voivodeship is bordered by Lower Silesian Voivodeship to the west, Greater Poland and Łódź Voivodeships to the north, Silesian Voivodeship to the east, and the Czech Republic (Olomouc Region and Moravian-Silesian Region) to the south.

Opole Province's geographic location, economic potential, and its population's level of education make it an attractive business partner for other Polish regions (especially Lower Silesian and Silesian Voivodeships) and for foreign investors. Formed in 1997, the Praděd/Pradziad Euroregion with its headquarter in Prudnik has facilitated economic, cultural and tourist exchanges between the border areas of Poland and the Czech Republic.


Voivodeships between 1975 and 1998 superimposed over the current borders of the Opole Voivodeship
Voivodeships between 1975 and 1998 superimposed over the current borders of the Opole Voivodeship

Opole Voivodeship was created on January 1, 1999, out of the former Opole Voivodeship and parts of Częstochowa Voivodeship, pursuant to the Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998. Originally, the government, advised by prominent historians, had wanted to disestablish Opolskie and partition its territory between the more historically Polish regions of Lower Silesia and Silesian Voivodeship (eastern Upper Silesia and western Malopolska. The plan was that Brzeg and Namysłów, as the Western part of the region, were to be transferred to Lower Silesia, while the rest was to become, along with a part of the Częstochowa Voivodeship, an integral part of the new 'Silesian' region. However, the plans resulted in an outcry from the German minority population of Opole Voivodeship, who feared that should their region be abolished, they would lose all hope of regional representation (in the proposed Silesian Region, they would have formed a very small minority among a great number of ethnic Poles). To the surprise of many of the ethnic Germans in Opole however, the local Polish Silesian population and groups of ethnic Poles also rose up to oppose the planned reforms; this came about as a result of an overwhelming feeling of attachment to the voivodeships that were scheduled to be 'redrawn', as well as a fear of 'alienation' should one find themselves residing in a new, unfamiliar region.

The solution came in late 1999, when Olesno was, after 24 years apart, finally reunited with the Opole Voivodeship to form the new legally defined region. A historic moment came in 2006 when the town of Radłów changed its local laws to make German, alongside Polish, the district's second official language; thus becoming the first town in the region to achieve such a feat.


The voivodeship lies in southwestern Poland, the major part on the Silesian Lowland (Nizina Śląska). To the east, the region touches upon the Silesian Upland (Silesian Uplands, Wyżyna Śląska) with the famous Saint Anne Mountain; the Sudetes range, the Opawskie Mountains, lies to the southwest. The Oder River cuts across the middle of the voivodeship. The northern part of the voivodeship, along the Mała Panew River, is densely forested, while the southern part consists of arable land.

The region has the warmest climate in the country.

Protected areas

Protected areas in Opole Voivodeship include the following three areas designated as Landscape Parks:


Climate data for Opole
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 2
Average low °C (°F) −3
Source: MeteoBlue

Administrative division

Opole Voivodeship is divided into 12 counties (powiats): 1 city county and 11 land counties. These are further divided into 71 gminas.

The counties are listed in the following table (ordering is by decreasing population).

Opole, the voivodeship's capital
Opole, the voivodeship's capital
Nysa, the third-largest town by population in the south-west
Nysa, the third-largest town by population in the south-west
Brzeg, a popular tourist attraction for its Renaissance Town Hall and Castle
Brzeg, a popular tourist attraction for its Renaissance Town Hall and Castle
Prudnik, with its preserved medieval town centre
Prudnik, with its preserved medieval town centre
Kluczbork serves as a key rail line junction in the north-east of the region
Kluczbork serves as a key rail line junction in the north-east of the region
English and
Polish names
Seat Other towns Total
City counties
Opole 96 128,208 1
Land counties
Nysa County
powiat nyski
1,224 136,393 Nysa Głuchołazy, Paczków, Otmuchów, Korfantów 9
Opole County
powiat opolski
1,587 123,487 Opole* Ozimek, Niemodlin, Prószków 13
Kędzierzyn-Koźle County
powiat kędzierzyńsko-kozielski
625 94,135 Kędzierzyn-Koźle 6
Brzeg County
powiat brzeski
877 90,054 Brzeg Grodków, Lewin Brzeski 6
Strzelce County
powiat strzelecki
744 74,460 Strzelce Opolskie Zawadzkie, Kolonowskie, Leśnica, Ujazd 7
Kluczbork County
powiat kluczborski
852 65,644 Kluczbork Wołczyn, Byczyna 4
Olesno County
powiat oleski
974 64,411 Olesno Praszka, Dobrodzień, Gorzów Śląski 7
Krapkowice County
powiat krapkowicki
442 63,857 Krapkowice Zdzieszowice, Gogolin 5
Prudnik County
powiat prudnicki
571 55,325 Prudnik Głogówek, Biała Prudnicka 4
Głubczyce County
powiat głubczycki
673 45,679 Głubczyce Kietrz, Baborów 4
Namysłów County
powiat namysłowski
748 42,692 Namysłów 5
* seat not part of the county

Cities and towns

The voivodeship contains 2 cities and 34 towns. These are listed below in descending order of population (as of 2019):[1]

Cities (governed by a city mayor or prezydent miasta):
  1. Opole (128,208)
  2. Kędzierzyn-Koźle (60,852)


  1. Nysa (43,489)
  2. Brzeg (35,890)
  3. Kluczbork (23,554)
  4. Prudnik (21,041)
  5. Strzelce Opolskie (17,900)
  6. Namysłów (16,551)
  7. Krapkowice (16,301)
  8. Głuchołazy (13,534)
  9. Głubczyce (12,552)
  10. Zdzieszowice (11,445)
  11. Olesno (9,374)
  12. Ozimek (8,657)
  13. Grodków (8,595)
  14. Praszka (7,655)
  15. Paczków (7,460)
  16. Zawadzkie (7,135)
  17. Gogolin (6,682)
  18. Otmuchów (6,581)
  19. Niemodlin (6,315)
  20. Kietrz (6,005)
  21. Wołczyn (5,907)
  22. Lewin Brzeski (5,736)
  23. Głogówek (5,592)
  24. Tułowice (4,011)
  25. Dobrodzień (3,720)
  26. Byczyna (3,582)
  27. Kolonowskie (3,309)
  28. Baborów (2,905)
  29. Prószków (2,570)
  30. Leśnica (2,556)
  31. Gorzów Śląski (2,452)
  32. Biała Prudnicka (2,426)
  33. Korfantów (1,808)
  34. Ujazd (1,763)


The Opole Voivodeship is the smallest region in the administrative makeup of the country in terms of both area and population.

About 15% of the one million inhabitants of this voivodeship are ethnic Germans, which constitutes 90% of all ethnic Germans in Poland. Towns with particularly high concentrations of German speakers include: Strzelce Opolskie; Dobrodzien; Prudnik; Głogówek; and Gogolin.[4] As a result, many areas are officially bilingual and the German language and culture play a significant role in education in the region. Ethnic Germans first came to this region during the Late Middle Ages.[5] The area was once part of the Prussian province of Silesia.

Further information: German minority in Poland


Opole Główne railway station is a major transportation hub through which much of the region's trade is channelled
Opole Główne railway station is a major transportation hub through which much of the region's trade is channelled

The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the province was 10.1 billion euros in 2018, accounting for 2.0% of Polish economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 17,000 euros or 56% of the EU27 average in the same year. The GDP per employee was 66% of the EU average.[6]

The Opole Voivodeship is an industrial as well as an agricultural region. With respect to mineral resources, of major importance are deposits of raw materials for building: limestone (Strzelce Opolskie), marl (near Opole), marble, and basalt. The favourable climate, fertile soils, and high farming culture contribute to the development of agriculture, which is among the most productive in the country.

A total of nineteen industries are represented in the voivodeship. The most important are cement and lime, furniture, food, car manufacturing, and chemical industries. In 1997, the biggest production growth in the area was in companies producing wood and wood products, electrical equipment, machinery and appliances, as well as cellulose and paper products. In 1997, the top company in the region was Zakłady Azotowe S.A. in Kędzierzyn-Koźle, whose income was over PLN 860 million. The voivodship's economy consists of more than 53,000 businesses, mostly small and medium-sized, employing over 332,000 people. Manufacturing companies employ over 89,000 people; 95.7% of all the region's business operate in the private sector.


Moszna Castle, near Prudnik
Moszna Castle, near Prudnik

The Opole Voivodeship is a green region with three large lakes: Turawskie, Nyskie, and Otmuchów (the latter two are connected). The Opawskie Mountains between Prudnik and Głuchołazy are extremely popular. The region also includes the castle in Brzeg, built during the reign of the Piast dynasty—pearl of the Silesian Renaissance, the Franciscan monastery on top of Saint Anne Mountain, as well as the medieval defence fortifications in Paczków (referred to as the Upper Silesian Carcassonne).

International tourism

According to the Central Statistical Office of Poland, Opole Voivodeship is most frequently visited by international tourists from countries located in Europe (94.6%). The rank was followed by tourists from Asia, compromising 2.4% of the total international tourist figure, followed by that of North America at 1.8%. The general composition of international tourists visiting the Opole Voivodeship remains unchanged, with 46.2% of tourists heading from Germany.

International tourists visiting Opole Voivodeship with an overnight stay according to country of permanent residence:[7]

Overnight international tourists in Opole Voivodeship (2015)
Country International tourists (change from 2010)
Czech Republic
United Kingdom
United States of America
Overnight international tourists in Opole Voivodeship (2015)
Country International tourists (change from 2010)

In 2015, a total of c. 90,800 overnight stays were hosted for international tourists, a figure making up 12.4% of the total amount of overnight stays for Opole Voivodeship. The majority (44.7%) of international overnight stays were hosted in the city of Opole, followed by Kędzierzyn-Koźle County (9.9%) and Nysa County at (9.4%).[7]


The transport route from Germany to Ukraine, the A4, runs through Opole. The region has four border crossings, and direct rail connections to all important Polish cities, as well as to Frankfurt, Munich, Budapest, Kyiv, and the Baltic ports.


There are three state-run universities in the region: the Opole University, the Opole University of Technology, and the Public Higher Medical Professional School in Opole. All of them are based in the voivodeship's capital. Among the region's private schools, the Opole School of Management and Administration has been certified as a degree-granting institution by the Ministry of National Education.


Most popular surnames in Opole Voivodeship:

  1. Nowak: 5,538
  2. Wieczorek: 2,654
  3. Mazur: 2,512

Former Opole voivodeships

Opole Voivodeship (1975-1999)

Opole Voivodeship 1975–1999.
Opole Voivodeship 1975–1999.

Opole Voivodeship was also a unit of administrative division and local government in Poland between 1975 and 1998.

Major cities and towns (population in 1995):

Opole Voivodeship (1950–1975)

This administrative region of the People's Republic of Poland (1950–1975) was created as a result of the partition of Katowice Voivodeship in 1950.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Population. Size and structure and vital statistics in Poland by territorial division in 2019. As of 30th June". stat.gov.pl. Statistics Poland. 2019-10-15. Retrieved 2020-02-14.
  2. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Subnational HDI - Global Data Lab". globaldatalab.org. Radboud University Nijmegen. Retrieved 2021-12-13.
  3. ^ Arkadiusz Belczyk, Tłumaczenie polskich nazw geograficznych na język angielski Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine [Translation of Polish Geographical Names into English], 2002–2006.
  4. ^ "Klimczak.PolishAndGermanSilesia". Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  5. ^ Weinhold, Karl (1887). Die Verbreitung und die Herkunft der Deutschen in Schlesien [The Spread and the Origin of Germans in Silesia] (in German). Stuttgart: J. Engelhorn.
  6. ^ "Regional GDP per capita ranged from 30% to 263% of the EU average in 2018". Eurostat.

Coordinates: 50°38′54″N 17°54′02″E / 50.64833°N 17.90056°E / 50.64833; 17.90056