Warsaw is one of the largest academic cities in our region of Europe. With 250,000 people per year getting their academic education there, the capital of Poland has more students than Berlin in Germany or Prague in the Czech Republic.
Warsaw has 15 public Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Apart from the University of Warsaw, students may choose academies with a more narrow scope of expertise: the medical academy, the polytechnic, the schools of economics or social sciences, the academy of fine arts, theatre or music, the military academy, the sports college or the theological academy. The private education sector has also developed significantly in the recent decades.
The academies provide a focus for creativity, bring together talented specialists and attract foreigners. They create a climate favourable to innovativeness. Initiatives originating in the academic milieu enhance the city’s social and cultural life.
Warsaw and the region of Mazovia are most readily chosen by foreign students coming to Poland: here study 30% of all foreigners coming to Polish academies.
The University of Warsaw is the city’s oldest academy.
Other educational institutions have their origin in its structures. The Academy of Fine Arts, the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music and the Medical University of Warsaw readily admit that their beginnings are rooted in the history of the Royal University of Warsaw (which was how the University of Warsaw was called in the 19th century).
But the links between Warsaw’s universities were strong not only in the past. The academies work in close cooperation, developing joint research programmes and courses of study, instituting science consortia and completing cooperative projects. Mutual agreements guarantee students the opportunity to participate in classes not only at their own institution, but at the other ones as well. Students and scholars create a lively academic milieu that radiates its influence to other parts of the country. The presence of the academic community in city space favourably influences the character of Warsaw.
The Latin Quarter
Krakowskie Przedmieście is the most scholarly street of Warsaw, with one of the University’s three campuses and the Academy of Fine Arts facing each other across it. Close by is the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences; right between its building and the University Gate stands the monument to the great Polish scholar Nicolaus Copernicus, the author of the heliocentric model of the universe. The University Library, the Copernicus Science Centre and the Chopin Museum are all close to Krakowskie Przedmieście street.
The Warsaw Science Festival: the largest science event in Poland and one of the largest in Europe
Every year, in the second half of September, Warsaw hosts a week-long Science Festival. The event, which provides a focus to the scientific community of Europe, has been organised for over fifteen years. The University of Warsaw has been one of its main organisers since its inception. Over a thousand scholars from 120 institutions, associations, archives, museums and foundations have been involved in the most recent Festival. The programme of the Festival, which includes a thousand of various meetings, shows, debates and other events, is addressed to children, young people and the older enthusiasts of science. The Science Festival is a co-instigator and member of the European Science Events Association. Warsaw also hosts the annual Science Picnic and, following the example of other European capitals, the Museum Night. The University of Warsaw takes part in both events.