The European Jamboree 2020 will be hosted in the Jamboree Village at Wyspa Sobieszewska (Sobieszewo Island) in Gdansk.
Gdansk is located in Pomerania, the northern region of Poland, on the Bay of Gdansk (the Baltic Sea), in a transitional zone of warm temperate climate. It is the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and the sixth largest Polish city by population (582,205), as well as by area (262 sq km). Together with the neighbouring cities of Gdynia and Sopot, it makes up Trojmiasto (Tricity), which is the fourth largest metropolitan area in Poland (with a population of 1,098,379).
Gdansk boasts over a thousand years of history, and its identity has been influenced by various cultures through the ages. The city is regarded as the symbolic place of the breakout of World War II and the starting point of the fall of communism in Central Europe. It is the site of numerous monuments of architecture, as well as a broad array of cultural and educational institutions. It is also a maritime economic centre with a vast trading port. The city has experience in organising large events. Among others, it was one of the host cities of UEFA EURO® 2012 and the subsequent world and European volleyball and handball tournaments. Although Wyspa Sobieszewska is a part of Gdansk, it has preserved its charming natural environment and is located away from the urban development areas. East of the city centre, it is nestled between the Vistula river delta and the Baltic Sea. It is a lowland area of high natural wealth. The island’s northern strip along the sea is a wide beach bordered by a forest. On the western side of the island, there are some residential areas of single-family homes.
The location of the Jamboree Village is the island’s central and southern farmland containing 300 hectares of fields and meadows. What sets the area apart are the crisscrossing irrigation canals. This site hosted the National Jamboree 2018.
European Jamboree official entry points include Gdansk Lech Walesa International Airport (GDN), Gdansk Glowny railway station, Gdynia ferry terminal and the sport/convention complex of Stadion Energa & Amber Expo.
The venue for the Jamboree village was selected as a result of a comprehensive insight, based on multi-factor reconnaissance/scouting process. What was crucial was: the area, field form, location, transport accessibility and infrastructure. We also were considering such factors as the place identity, diversity of the natural environment, design potential and the possibility of creating a clear plan of the village – easy to navigate and user-friendly for thousands of Scouts from around the world.
The proposed venue has been prepared and positively tested during the National Jamboree 2018. A vast majority of heavy infrastructural works has been already done, which is also important from the perspective of hosting the European Jamboree 2020®.
The island is an obvious landmark, very unique with respect to its neighbourhood. The rich symbolism, with the surrounding nature and the unique local character, make Wyspa Sobieszewska the best possible venue to host the Jamboree. It demonstrates an excellent compromise of proximity to a major urban centre, hence ensuring convenient accessibility and transport means, with the closeness of nature being a significant advantage to the venue’s assessment process.
One of the unquestionably strong points of this location is a relatively dense accumulation of a variety of natural habitats at a relatively small area. The general notion of a diversified landscape is definitely affecting an overall impression of the venue and its visual attractiveness, yet again reinforces better spatial perception by the Jamboree participants.
The northern borderline of the site is partially forested, which is visible from the site itself, but also relatively close, actually, a short stroll away from the first subcamps area. This part of the forest merges with a far greater forested area, constituting the coastal strip, embracing most of northern part of the island. Similarly, the nearby coastal beaches and picturesque open fields and farmland are of great potential both in terms of programme potential and landscape itself. The open fields are often considered the landmark of the local landscape of the Vistula alluvial delta, in large part reclaimed artificially, referred to as Zulawy Wislane.
The key factor for the urban development of the Jamboree Village at Wyspa Sobieszewska, its modus operandi in fact, is water, being at the core of its landscape. On the one hand, physiography of the island is defined by its surroundings, including such symbols as the Vistula River, the primary river in Poland, or the Baltic Sea; but also, crossing the water strip reflects a symbolic welcome to the Jamboree site, making a clear distinction between the on-site and the off-site area. What is more, some of these water borderlines are visible for the participants too. They might experience it first hand while entering the site and seeing the landscape overview of the whole area taken over for the Jamboree Village. It would be possible thanks to the intended elevation of the access road above the fields level. What is more, the location of the site on the island, so strongly intertwined with water, will allow for organizing the aquatic (off-site) programme very close to the Jamboree Village.
Another crucial touchpoint for planning water presence in the urban and natural scenery design of the Jamboree Village is the network of irrigation canals crisscrossing its area. It defines its form and definitely affects and inspires design patterns. Every participant will gain an opportunity for daily, free contact with water to know and feel what it is like to be on an island. The existing canals set natural space borderlines and the starting point to adapt design solutions enabling to extol the nature, yet preserving its unique, local character. They also foster the high-quality public space arrangement which, apart from being functional, would also cater to the most sophisticated array of aesthetic and cultural needs.
Setting linear components of the irrigation system regularly makes for a structured criss-cross pattern, which may also facilitate spatial orientation and moving around the village. Usually, this makes for one of the potential key problem issues for the users (operating within a large and relatively monotonous space for a restricted period of time). Choosing a road along one of the canals/ditches (given proper names, signposted/marked and secured, and illuminated at night), we are always reaching one of the central areas of the site – the reference point we seek. Consequently, orientation around a new, unfamiliar area is no longer a problem, while Jamboree gains its unique, distinctive pattern.
Although the Jamboree Site is located on an island, it is perfectly safe for participants. Two independent permanent bridges lead to the island crossing branches of the Vistula River. The ring road on the island has been renovated for the purpose of securing the National Jamboree 2018 and further road works are being carried out for the European Jamboree 2020®. Two fire departments are located at the island and additional security measures have been already tested for the upcoming jamboree.
What is essential, in regards to safety provisions for the participants, is the availability of 12 public hospitals within the metropolitan area of Gdansk, capable of providing medical care and admitting a total of 3,988 patients. The medical network also includes the Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine (Medical University of Gdansk) and it is going to complement three-stage medical system provided at the Jamboree site: first aid points and mobile patrols, clinics and a field hospital. The safety and security are also affected by the physiography of the island. It allows for managing the traffic smoothly since it is funnelled to a few points only, hence facilitates general safety provisions on the site.
Recent years lead to the conclusion that the weather conditions demonstrate a repeatable pattern in the period scheduled. Average high temperature is 26°C, daily mean 17°C and average humidity of 55% for July and August. Moreover, the fact that the Jamboree site is located in the immediate proximity of the sea moderates the noticeable temperature changes. Location on the island, surrounded by large water reservoirs, works as a natural weather barrier and mitigates extremes such as heavy rains and storm fronts.
Gdansk, the official host city proper, is an attractive tourist destination. Hotel infrastructure is dense, with 44 facilities (including 4 five-stars and 7 four-star hotels) offering the accommodation to 5812 guests in 3126 rooms. The city proper and its proximity are of huge potential to make most of in terms of programme, culture, transport and facilities.