European Solidarity Centre
1 Solidarności Square. The impressive rusty block resembles a ship’s hull. This characteristic expressive building covered with corten steel dominates the landscape of the former shipyard terrain. The jacket worn by 20 year old shipyard worker Ludwik Piernicki when he was shot, a victim of December ‘70, the sign with the 21 postulates, hanging during the strike in August ‘80 at the gate of the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, the crane, on which Anna Walentynowicz worked, Jacek Kuron’s desk, a gift from his wife ... almost 1,800 unique memorabilia! The modern, multimedia exposition of the European Solidarity Centre dedicated to the history of Polish freedom and the “Solidarity” movement with an area of 3 thousand square metres presents emotional memorabilia, photos, video and audio footage, archival documents, manuscripts, maps, underground publications, newspapers, inde- pendent art objects ...The European Solidarity Centre (ESC) is important institution on the freedom trail in a new, experimental form: it is not only a museum dedicated to the history of Solidarity and anticommunist opposition in Poland and Europe, but also a centre of dialog in the modern world; a meeting place for people who are close to the values of liberty and democracy. In the spirit of solidarity revolu- tion, in accordance with the mission of ESC: Explore history, decide about the future, here should be conducted dialog between history and the future of Poland and the world. This is the first such institution in Europe. The heart of ESC is a grand exhibition arranged which narrative allows everyone to find their own meaning and emotions. Visitors from Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Germany also find their piece of history in the centre. But ESC is also a library, reading room and archives. It is a centre for research, education and training as well as creative workshops for young people. There is also a place for younger visitors - the Playroom Department is a multimedia educational room for children. Here non-governmental organizations have their headquarters along with the first president of free Poland, Lech Wałęsa. There is much attractive space accessible to everyone including: a terrace, winter garden, restaurant, bar and cafe making the Centre an open meeting place.
In 2010 thirty years have passed since the memorable events of Gdańsk’s August 1980, when due to strikes at the Gdańsk shipyard under the leadership of Lech Wałęsa and the creation of “Solidarity”, the dismantling of the communist system began. This ultimately led to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Autumn of Nations 1989, the liquidation of the post-Yalta order in Europe and finally the division of our conti- nent into two blocs, separated
by the “Iron Curtain” came to an end. A walk in the former areas of the Gdańsk Shipyard is an ex-
ceptional journey leading through the famous Gate No. 2, the historic Health and Safety Hall, the “Wyspa” Institute of Art and the European Solidarity Centre-a trip to the place where freedom was born, because it all started in Gdańsk ...