Regardless of whether it is children, pre-secondary school students or university students who pay a visit to the Port of Gdansk, getting to know the company, which has existed for a millennium already, must make them fall into a reverie… (Source:www.portgdansk.pl) Such are countries, as is the education of their youth… – wrote a visionary Renaissance humanist Jan Zamoyski in the act founding Poland’s first private university. This motto has been reiterated for nearly five hundred years in a variety of contexts. Also in the Port of Gdansk, whenever we play host to youngsters, this quotation becomes a motto of the sometimes challenging visits. This is because, regardless of whether it is children, pre-secondary school students or university students who pay a visit to the Port of Gdansk, getting to know the company, which has existed for a millennium already, must make them ponder.
Getting to the Gdansk Port on 10th November this year involved a night’s coach trip for students of “transport logistics” at the 2nd United Europe Secondary School Complex in Olawa. The fatigue did not abate their interest in the characteristics of the port location, the economy of operations at Duty Free Zone quays, the Gorniczy Basin, container terminals GTK and DCT, Passenger and Ferry Terminal or the Liquid Fuel Terminal neighbouring the Coal Terminal.
On the 26th May, the students of the American Elementary School in Gdynia paid a visit to the Port. The School, with English as a language of instruction, offers education to children from all over the world. The Port guide got a lot of satisfaction form telling the young people about the significance of the Gdansk maritime shipping hub, expanding the knowledge they had found in the Internet, at school and their parents’ accounts. Each piece of information was instantly verified or broadened with penetrating questions. Facilitating matching quite substantial… virtual knowledge with the images of port reality, I dreamt of professional journalists adopting the same strategy…
In March, children from the School-Kindergarten Complex in Borkowo near Gdansk beamed with similar cognitive enthusiasm. Three days in a row, coaches brought these “younger youngsters” to the Port for them to see close up what could potentially be their working environment one day. Out of respect for the guests’ age, statistics and figures were not heavily quoted… Still, qualities behind the Port’s thousand-year record, which lasted and grew against political odds and maelstroms of wars, had to be mentioned in the context of Gdansk timeless advantages for Polish economy and culture. All this delivered in a way clear to… members of parliament and ministers of the second half of the 21st century.
There is yet another event among numerous Gdansk Port tours that is worth mentioning. This is the guest… invasion of on-duty Port of Gdansk Security Guard on the 28th May. Within the Baltic Science Festival and a joint project of the Baltic Sea Culture Centre in Gdansk and the Gdansk branch office of PTTK (the Polish Tourist Country-Lovers Society), The Duty Free Zone, a special protection area in the Port, saw nearly 250 participants of the march celebrating the Brösen/Brzezno Bathing Resort 200th anniversary. This time it were not port facilities but the ruins of 19th century fortifications – the so-called Port Battery – that were of interest to the guests, who breathed life into the otherwise restricted area protected with separate Regional Monument Conservator’s regulations.
Although this instance of the “port education and tourism” activity attracted both adults and children accompanying their parents, it is hard to count it as fulfilling Zamoyski’s words referred to earlier in the article. On the other hand, there are many examples of initiatives and institutions – the Port Interests Council, Maritime Council and the Council of the Gdansk Port and Waterways, to mention just a few – which ceased to exist for no obvious reason, despite their usefulness to the port, the municipality and the country… There was not enough enthusiasm, knowledge or, simply, sheer appreciation of a very special significance that ports have for their owners – the kind of good administrator’s maritime awareness. No energy is too great to shape and strengthen this awareness.