NBP commemorates the building of The Vistula Spit Canal

Narodowy Bank Polski is putting into circulation a commemorative coin in circulation standard of the series “Discover Poland” – “The Vistula Spit Canal”, with a face value of 5 złoty.

A new commemorative coin of the series “Discover Poland” – “The Vistula Spit Canal” will be available on sale as of Monday, 22 May 2023. The 5 złoty commemorative coin in circulation standard will be minted in up to 1,000,000 pieces. It will be possible to exchange the coin at its face value at all NBP regional branches.

The first stage of construction of the new waterway connecting the Vistula Lagoon with the Gulf of Gdańsk took less than three years to complete, but the preparations for the project had begun much earlier. The very idea of building a canal dates back to the reign of King Stephen Bathory and after World War II it was revisited by Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski, the builder of the harbour and the city of Gdynia: Two tasks of great economic importance are staring us in the face. One is to dig a canal across the Spit locking the Elbląg Bay, near Kahlberg, thus producing a straight and direct exit to the Baltic and enlivening the small fishing ports on that Bay.

Initial design work started as early as 2007, when a feasibility study concerning the potential project commenced. Three other locations were considered apart from the one that was eventually  accepted. However, they were excluded due to the vicinity of nature reserves, forest parks or developed areas. The choice of the location also depended on the topography of the area and the  length of the future canal.

The building of the Vistula Spit Canal is the most complicated hydrotechnical engineering project in Poland. Absolutely unique solutions were used in the making of the canal, such as innovative concrete blocks for the construction of breakwaters. They had only been used once earlier in the Netherlands. Poland was the first place in the world where such blocks were also deployed under the water. Great emphasis was also laid on ensuring smooth traffic flow. The new road system comprises two swing bridges ensuring uninterrupted traffic even during the lockage. The building  permit design was an interdisciplinary one comprising elements of hydrotechnical engineering, highway engineering, bridge engineering, architecture and installations. The Nowy Świat Harbour Master’s Office is the centre of the facility but its most important element is the lock with two double lock gates. An artificial island was created in the Vistula Lagoon for depositing spoil. Ultimately, the island will be left deserted and serve as a refuge for birds.

The canal connecting the Vistula Lagoon with the Gulf of Gdańsk was officially opened on 17 September 2022, but the whole project also comprises the rebuilding of the existing fairway on the Elbląg River, the construction of a new swing bridge in Nowakowo and the deepening of the fairway on the Vistula Lagoon and the Elbląg River. The whole future waterway will be nearly 23 km long. The Maritime Office in Gdynia is the investor financing all the stages of the project.

The reverse of the 5 złoty coin of the series “Discover Poland” – “The Vistula Spit Canal” features the Nowy Świat Harbour Master’s Office building and an entry to the canal from the Vistula Lagoon.

More information can be found in the brochure.

The next issue is scheduled on 20 June 2023. On that date Narodowy Bank Polski will be putting into circulation a gold collector coin “The 10 zloty Note”, inaugurating a new series of coins “Banknotes in Circulation in Poland”.


Contact for collectors: e-mail kolekcjoner@nbp.pl, tel. +48 22 185 17 05

Contact for the media: e-mail press@nbp.pl, tel. +48 22 185 20 12


About NBP

Narodowy Bank Polski holds the exclusive right to issue banknotes and coins in Poland. All currency issued by NBP – including collector banknotes and coins – is legal tender in Poland. Issuing collector items is an occasion to commemorate important historic figures and anniversaries, as well as to develop the interest of the public in Polish culture, science and tradition.

High-resolution images of the coins: https://nbp.pl/en/collector-coins/