An aerial view of Kaliningrad/Krolewiec/Königsberg, Source: Depositphotos

As far as Poland is concerned, Russia’s Kaliningrad is now Krolewiec

As far as Poland is concerned, Russia’s Kaliningrad is now Krolewiec

The proposed renaming is symbolic, but it has already sparked a diplomatic row

The Polish Development and Technology Ministry announced, that it supported a proposal initiated by local governments, to have the name of Kaliningrad, capital of the neighbouring Russian exclave, changed to Krolewiec. That means that Polish officials will now always refer to the Russian-held city with its Polish name. As can be expected, the news was not received well in Moscow.

The formalization of the name change for Poland was done by the Committee on Standardization of Geographical Names Outside the Republic of Poland. Polish officials have pointed out that the renaming is symbolic in nature and does not carry connotations of territorial ambitions.

King’s Hill by name in many languages

Kaliningrad was known as Konigsberg (or King’s Hill in German) for the majority of its existence since it was founded in 1255 by Teutonic Knights. Located in a corner of the eastern Baltic Sea, it’s had a complex history having been dominated by different powers, among which the Polish-Lithuanian Kingdom in the 16-17 century.

That last fact has led to it historically being considered also part of Polish history and to having been referred to as Krolewiec, which is roughly an equivalent of the German name. The Lithuanians also have a similar version of it in their language.

Ultimately, the city was occupied by the Red Army at the end of World War II making it part of the Soviet Union. In 1946, it was renamed in honour of the recently deceased Mikhail Kalinin, a friend of Stalin, and the head of state of the USSR, a largely ceremonial role that one.

We do not want Russification in Poland and that is why we have decided to change the name in our native language of Kaliningrad and Kaliningrad Oblast. Naming is imposed on us and artificial, which is not related to our history. The fact of naming a large city close to our border after M Kalinin, a criminal co-responsible for issuing the decision on the mass murder of Polish officers in Katyn in 1940, evokes negative emotions in Poles”. This is how Waldemar Buda, Minister of Development and Technology, defended the decision to revert to the historical name of the city in his country.

The change does not introduce new obligations for entrepreneurs or the need to update documents. The name Krolewiec will be included on the maps. A positive opinion on the name change was issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Replacing the city’s name sparked angry reactions from Russian officials, among whom former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev. “Should Poland not like the name Kaliningrad, the names of Polish cities previously occupied by Germany should be replaced by German ones”, he said, as quoted by TASS.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU