So-called "new" city hall, Olsztyn
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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So-called "new" city hall



An example of municipal historicist architecture.


Construction of the new city hall resulted from fast demographic, economic, spatial and administrative development of Olsztyn in the late 19th century. The existing old building housing the headquarters of city authorities was insufficient for the needs of the growing city. As of 1906, the intention to build a new city hall started to gather shape, as first funds in the municipal budget were allocated for that purpose. The selected location was outside the old municipal complex, at the growing historical suburb (so-called upper suburb). In 1909, the city both the area of the old Roman-Catholic cemetery at Gutsztacka Street (today 1 Maja Stret) for the purposes of construction. In 1910, the city hall organised a competition for a city hall design, as part of which a number of designs from all over Germany were submitted. In 1911, the city council approved the construction of a new city hall. It was built according to the design of a contemporary municipal architect, Max Boldt (with adjustments made by his successor, Paul Zeroch). Rafał Bętkowski points to the fact that pre-war tourist guides mention also Meinhold Drolshagen as the author of the design which was implemented. The cornerstone was formally embedded on 31 October 1912, and the construction proceeded quickly. The outbreak of war stopped the finishing works and the building was commissioned in July 1916. War episodes in Olsztyn — the city was taken by the Russian army in 1914, and reclaimed by the reserve corps of General von Bülow — but also gave an impulse to update the decoration programme and include, inter alia, reliefs by Max Krause from Berlin on the corner projecting section. In 1927, the building was extended by an annex housing a municipal savings bank (currently, it houses a Civil Registry). After 1945, the building was taken over by Polish administration. In 1969, the reliefs commemorating German victory over the Russian army were removed because of "unorthodox contents". In 2011, conservation works were carried out at the city hall tower (the colour of the façade was changed and window frames were replaced).


The city hall is located outside the old municipal complex, to the north-east from it, at the junction of present Piłsudskiego and 1 Maja Streets. In front of the entrance to the building, there is a small square (converted in 2011). The city hall was built in neo-Renaissance style, one of the national styles of the turn of the 19th and 20th century in the German Empire, including the province of Eastern Prussia. Such an architectural outfit was willingly provided to administrative or education-related building. The building in Olsztyn is erected on a plan of the letter "U", with a representative entrance in the shorter wing and the main frontage parallel to 1 Maja Street. It features four storeys and a high clock tower in the corner. Ending sections of individual wings feature high, four-storey gables with undulating profiles, divided by cornices and pilasters, with volutes. Façades are accentuated by a regular pattern of openings, doors and windows on the ground floor feature round-arch ending sections, and windows above them are rectangular. The main entrance is situated on the axis of the tower. In the corner of the front façade and on the axis of the frontage along the street, there are two-storey protruding sections. The building is made of brick, plastered, with rusticated stone cladding at the ground floor. The high gable roofs are covered with ceramic roof tiles, and the dome of the tower is laid with sheet metal. The usable interior features a two-and-a-half-bay arrangement, the representative staircase features a wide ellipsoidal stair flight. The preserved sculptured decoration of external façades includes, among other things, the coat of arms of the city in the keystone of the main entrance, personifications of the elements of successful rule (justice, wisdom, truth, bravery, and welfare) and personifications of four elements and scenes picturing their usage in the economy. The picture of the air element image includes and updated element in the form of a zeppelin.

Accessible structure. A public building — the City Hall in Olsztyn.

Compiled by Joanna Piotrowska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Olsztyn, 13.08.2014.


  • A. Rzempołuch, Architektura i urbanistyka Olsztyna 1353-1953. Od założenia miasta po odbudowę ze zniszczeń wojennych, Olsztyn 2005, s. 120-121.
  • R. Bętkowski, Olsztyn jakiego nie znacie, Olsztyn 2010, s.108-109.
  • R. Bętkowski, Miejsce dobre na ratusz, cz. 1-3, „Debata” 3-5 (30-32), 2010, s. 40-44.
  • R. Bętkowski, Sto lat temu. Kamień węgielny pod gmach Nowego Ratusza, „Debata” 11 (62), 2012, s. 40-44.
  • Aurelia Bladowska, Architektura Królewskiego Seminarium Nauczycielskiego w Gdańsku, „Porta Aurea. Rocznik Instytutu historii Sztuki Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego” 2011, nr 10, s. 141-154.

General information

  • Type: town hall
  • Chronology: 1912-1916
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: pl. Jana Pawła II 1, Olsztyn
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district Olsztyn, commune Olsztyn
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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