Dąbrowa, Opole, Poland

The municipality Dąbrowa is located in the South of Poland, halfway between Katowice and Wroclaw, on the international axis from Berlin to Kiew. The municipal area consists of 13 villages with its some 8.000 inhabitants and spans fairly impressive 11.000 hectares. In 2017, two prospering districts were incorporated into the city Opole, which costed the municipality some 1.500 inhabitants and several important businesses. Apart from this, the demographic development has remained stable. Also worth noting is that a quarter of the population is part of a German minority that actively cultivates its culture and language. The settlement structure is dominated by traditionally detached single-family houses. The castle and former estates stand out and are gradually renovated as part of the cultural heritage. Land-use plans regulate construction in great detail, a testament to the responsible use of the resource land.

At the beginning of the development process, which took place over a span of some 15 years, the municipality was suffering from poor infrastructure concerning traffic, leisure and other aspects. Emigration of the younger population was imminent. By focusing on village renewal, these problems were actively tackled. There was a successful focus on the synergy between local politics, associations and strong inclusion of the population, subsequently motivating them to become more open, engaged and confident. In all 13 villages, community houses were established to serve as a space of togetherness and became centers for associations of all population groups. A loan system and a village fund were created to allow for advance financing of projects by associations or inhabitants, leading to an even better and more constructive morale within the population.Step by step, quality of life improved palpably and measurably: three schools, six kindergartens, a day care center, attractive after school care projects – they all are proof of the appeal the municipality has on young families and businesses. Currently, Dąbrowa hosts some 1.200 enterprises, including full- and part-time businesses, small one-person-operations up to large, internationally successful firms. Notable investments in the tourism sector, specifically in local recreation, were also made.

Dentists, pharmacies, libraries and the Caritas home-care institution add to the rich variety of social services. Publically available sports facilities, such as a skatepark and an inline-skating facility, were created in close collaboration with local sports clubs. This, along with swimming lessons and first aid courses, which are available to even the youngest members of the population, has led to successful integration of the youth into the rural community.

In the field of environmental and climate protection, several special projects were undertaken. Around 200 households were supported in implementing energy-saving measures. Large parks were redeveloped and partially transformed into educational nature trails. Photovoltaic systems on rooftops lead to an increase in renewable resources within the municipality. The protection and maintenance of landscape parks and recreational areas are a testament to great ecological awareness. In addition to the massively improved road system, the bicycle path network is continuously expanded.

Modern, high-quality communication is another important aspect for the municipality. Dąbrowa makes use of social media, like Facebook and Instagram, has a local website and is active on various streaming platforms. National and international partnerships are highly regarded and maintained.

Dąbrowa is a flourishing municipality, its population is actively motivated to create modern visions for their living environment and implement them with support from the municipality. Additionally, great efforts are made to maintain the rich cultural heritage and local traditions, creating an image of a vital rural municipality with high quality of life and a distinct pioneering profile.

Evaluated: 2020