Wielkopolska is one of the largest regions in Poland. Its area is comparable to that of Belgium, and its population (3.4 million people) is greater that the population of some EU Member States, including Lithuania, Latvia and Slovenia. It is also one of the most dynamically developing regions of Poland.
Its attractiveness derives from i.a. favourable geographical location and well-developed transport infrastructure. The A2 motorway runs through the region, which connects Warsaw with Berlin. Poznań – the capital of Wielkopolska is located in the middle of the way between these two cities. A rail track runs parallel to the motorway, and the entire transport axis is a part of the Berlin–Warsaw–Moscow Transport Corridor, which belongs to the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).
Poznań is an important economic, scientific and cultural centre. In the recent decades, it has also become a significant financial hub. The city is surrounded by an expanding agglomeration, which currently has ca. 1 million inhabitants (incl. the residents of Poznań). Other important cities of Wielkopolska are Gniezno – the first historic capital of Poland, Konin, Piła, Leszno, Kalisz – the oldest city in Poland, and Ostrów Wielkopolski, which together with Kalisz forms the second largest agglomeration in the region.
The region is characterised by a high level of industrial development, with the following main sectors: agri-food, automotive, pharmaceutical and furniture industry. It also hosts numerous enterprises assisted by active business support institutions. A particularly important one is the Poznań International Fair, which has been in operation for nearly 100 years. The region's attractiveness for investors is widely recognised (Investment offer of the Region).
Wielkopolska focuses on enhancing the research potential and technological development that supports innovativeness, developing ICT, increasing entrepreneurship, improving the condition of the natural environment and education. This is reflected in the priorities of the Wielkopolska Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020, as well as the Regional Development Strategy "Wielkopolska 2020".
It is also a powerful agricultural region with considerable land resources – agricultural land covers 60% of the region's territory. The agricultural land is mostly used for cereal farming , swine and cattle breeding and organic farming. Many regional and traditional products from Wielkopolska received EU quality labels "Protected Geographical Indication" and "Traditional Specialities Guaranteed".
Wielkopolska is also a region of a exceptional touristic attractiveness. Apart from its cities, tourists can also enjoy historic and cultural trails. One example is the Piast Route, which combines the most important facilities and historic sites related to the beginnings of the Polish state. Another well-known route is the Great Waterway Loop of Wielkopolska – a tourist trail running along the major rivers of the region. The region may also pride itself with numerous areas of nature protection, including two national parks, 12 landscape parks, many nature reserves and NATURA 2000 sites.
Capital: Poznań - 560,000 inhabitants
Area: 29,826.5 km²
PKB per capita: PLN 41,285 (2011) – 68% of EU's average
Number of enterprises: 402,817
Main industry branches: agri-food, automotive, metallurgic, furniture, tobacco
Main export destinations: Germany, the Netherlands, France, Sweden and the United Kingdom
Major enterprises: Jeronimo Martins Polska SA, Grupa Eurocash SA, GK Enea SA, Volkswagen Poznań Sp. z o.o., Lidl Polska, Solaris Bus and Coach, Phillips Lighting Poland, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals, Imperial Tobacco Polska SA, Kompania Piwowarska SA.
Institutions of higher education: 40
Source: Central Statistical Office 2014