Paweł Adamowicz, the Mayor of Gdańsk, The World Capital of Amber, has passed away


Paweł Adamowicz was a mayor of courage, openness and immense communication skills. He made it easy to meet him at various culture or sports events, at trade exhibitions, opening ceremonies or exhibition previews, or simply when he went for an evening walk round town to meet its people. He received three wounds during the pinnacle of Poland’s biggest charity event, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, which has been running for 27 years now. He died due to the sustained injuries on the next day, 14 January 2019.

Paweł Adamowicz

Paweł Adamowicz was the Mayor of Gdańsk from 1998 and had actively and consistently promoted Baltic amber, including the knowledge about it, from the time he took office. On many occasions, he visited our Association’s headquarters and the events which we organised, sometimes on the spur of the moment, unannounced.

He supported the growth of Amberif and Ambermart, the world’s largest amber trade fairs, which take place every year in Gdańsk. Without the stunning success of these events, there could be no talk of the World Capital of Amber here on the Polish Baltic Coast.  In 1997, the International Amberif Design Award was held for the first time as part of Amberif, with its aim to promote creative thinking and new ideas in artistic jewellery design, and to expand the awareness of Baltic amber’s properties and nature. Each year, it was the Mayor of Gdańsk Paweł Adamowicz who sponsored the ADA Main Prize of PLN 10,000. He continued to do so even when the pieces selected by the judges were controversial and widely criticised. A significant role in promoting amber is played by the Amber and Fashion Gala, which has accompanied Amberif for many years now. Mayor Adamowicz supported this event for many years in terms of both funding and promotion.

It should be especially emphasised that, from 2005, Mayor Paweł Adamowicz consistently implemented the city’s promotion under the Gdańsk Development Strategy, which includes consolidating the role of Gdańsk as the World Capital of Amber among its main objectives. It was by the decision of the city authorities, with the involvement of Mayor Paweł Adamowicz, that the Amber Museum was established as part of the Gdańsk History Museum (MHMG). At its launch, on 28 June 2006, Mayor Paweł Adamowicz appointed the World Amber Council under his leadership: an organisation addressing matters of global trade in raw amber and amber jewellery in its broad sense, and the promotion of amber’s natural beauty and properties. The Council’s work involves over a dozen experts from all over the world who research and promote amber, its history, properties and deposits. In August 2006, on the initiative of Mayor Paweł Adamowicz, a breakthrough document, The Gdańsk Declaration on Good Amber Practices, was ceremoniously adopted and signed.

To date, the Gdańsk—World Capital of Amber project has brought about multiple activities and events, mainly to promote Baltic amber and the knowledge about it.

The City of Gdańsk’s most important projects to popularise the Gold of the Baltic include a state-of-the-art multimedia exhibition on Gdańsk—The World Capital of Amber, produced in partnership with the Union of Maritime Cities and Communes and the Gdańsk Amber Museum, along with a much larger exhibition: Amber: Tradition and Innovation in its first incarnation at the European Solidarity Centre, Gdańsk, and in subsequent ones across Poland and Europe, as well as the appointment of the Amber Ambassador (to date, the role has been performed by Polish celebrities including Lidia Popiel, Monika Richardson and Kayah) and the Amber Passport promotional project, continuously developed since 2009. Moreover, an order by the Mayor of Gdańsk to regulate the principles of municipal land lease for amber exploration and production, in force since 2007, was the first regulation of its kind in 35 years and opened up the path to legal amber extraction on city-owned land, mainly wasteland.

In 2011, Mayor Paweł Adamowicz received the Polish Tourfilm Academy’s Award in Warsaw for promoting Gdańsk—The World Capital of Amber, in recognition for the merits of this remarkable promotion campaign in making Poland famous.

The City of Gdańsk’s important successes under the leadership of Mayor Paweł Adamowicz, represented by the MTG SA Gdańsk International Fair Co., include the activities of the Amber: Treasure of Poland Consortium, which in 2012-2015 implemented a wide ranging international promotion project to increase the export value of the Polish jewellery and amber sector.

It also needs to be said that Mayor Paweł Adamowicz’s support for our industry has allowed the International Amber Association to obtain premises at Warzywnicza 1, Gdańsk, to be adapted for the IAA head office, gallery and the Gdańsk Amber Laboratory. In 2015, owing to the Mayor of Gdańsk’s personal recommendation, the Gdańsk Foundation provided financial support for the IAA’s purchase of a spectrometer, now used to test amber products.

For ten years, he was the patron and guest of the Mariacka Street Festival, organised by the IAA in this most famous of amber streets. He met with amber artists and artisans, and trade show participants, he wore amber and promoted Gdańsk as amber’s historical and contemporary capital. Gdańsk as a community of people was his motto, and it was a community of not only those who live here and now but also all the Gdańskers from bygone eras who spoke various languages and followed various religions.

All these many activities, and most of all their concrete results for the Polish jewellery industry, fully merited that the distinguished Mayor of Gdańsk Paweł Adamowicz be honoured with the highly regarded Amber Circle Medal. It is an award for people from outside the industry who have made a special contribution to promoting, popularising and appreciating Baltic amber. The 2016 IAA General Meeting decided that Paweł Adamowicz, the Mayor of Gdańsk, would be the first honouree of the Amber Circle Medal.

This feature is based on an article presenting the profile of Paweł Adamowicz after he was awarded the Amber Circle Medal.

Adam Pstrągowski
Michał Kosior