© KSNG 2002-2013

Standardization of Polish Geographical Names

Geographical names concerning territory of Poland are established officially. Names of administrative units (voivodships, counties and communes) and their seats are set by acts of Parliament and regulations of the Council of Ministers, while names of localities and physiographic objects, according to the Act of 29 August 2003 on official names of localities and physiographic objects (Ustawa z dnia 29 sierpnia 2003 r. o urzędowych nazwach miejscowości i obiektów fizjograficznych), are standardized by the Commission on Names of Localities and Physiographic Objects and next approved by a ragulation of the Minister of the Interior and Administration published in the Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland.


Poland has a long tradition in standardization of geographical names. First commission establishing official names was set up after the First World War, after regaining independence by Poland. Then works were concentrated on unification of Polish geographical names inside a country, which was under Partitions for almost 150 years. Standardization works were resumed after the Second World War, setting up in 1946 the Commission on Establishing of Names of Localities. In 1948 its competences became wider, and polonization of geographical names on Regained Lands (western and northern Poland) was then its priority. In a relatively short period (1946 – 1951) Polish names for these regions were determined. Since 1951 till 1975 the aim of the works of the Commission was to collect, prepare and publish geographical names at the rest part of Poland. Three-volume List of official names of localities in Poland, published in 1982, was the result of these works. At present the works are concentrated on giving opinions and approving changes of names proposed by local authorities.


According to international obligations Poland should make accessible national decisions and publications concerning geographical names to other countries. It is done, within Group of UN Experts on Geographical Names, by the Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names Outside the Republic of Poland. The Commission is responsible, according to Regulation of the Minister of the Interior and Administration of 24 March 2000 on the manner and scope of activity of the National Council of Geodesy and Cartography and Commission on Standardization of Geographical Names Outside the Republic of Poland and principles governing payment of their members, for international collaboration related to standardization of geographical names.