Why is Poland not more popular with tourists?

German-Polish relations The stereotype of a criminal, messy Poland has become obsolete

Once a year the "German-Polish Barometer" tries to find out what is happening in neighborhood relations - and has done so for 20 years. Noticeable in the 2020 Barometer: Every third Pole thinks of "war" as soon as they think of Germany. "On the Polish side, there is a significant increase in emotional associations that are connected with the most difficult chapter in our shared history," says Agnieszka Łada, who led the study for the German Poland Institute. Since 2016, the proportion of these associations has increased from 21 percent to 30 percent.

Most Germans associate the neighboring country with language, culture or tourism, according to a central result of the barometer. According to the study, the cliché of a messy Poland, also known as the "Polish economy", hardly plays a role in German minds anymore. Only four percent of the Germans surveyed still associate Poland with disorder and crime.

For the first time: Germans show more sympathy than Poles

Some of the results of the survey indicate an increasing interest among Germans in Poland: For the first time since the barometer appeared in 2000, more Germans show sympathy for Poles, namely 55 percent of those questioned. Conversely, it is only 42 percent of the Poles surveyed. However, that does not mean that the Poles reject the Germans, emphasize the makers of the barometer. Rather, the Polish respondents tend to rate all surveyed countries more neutrally.

Many Germans also without an opinion

Despite the overwhelming sympathy of the Germans towards their neighbors, many of them still have an ambivalent or no opinion about Poland. For example, they answer questions about the democratic system of government, free media, corruption or bureaucracy with "neither yes nor no". On the other hand, the Germans' assessments of their own country are mostly positive.

Poland is politically divided

- the question of the payment of reparations by Germany to Poland
- the Nord Stream II gas pipeline
- the demands for compensation or the return of assets
by some German expellees
- refugee issue

"We often don't understand each other, but there is also a lot that connects us. These results also show that they are not as fatal as they appear at first glance," says Łada. According to the survey, 55 percent of Germans and 72 percent of Poles consider German-Polish relations to be good, while 25 percent and 14 percent, respectively, consider them bad.

Positive influence through personal contact

"The barometer study continues to show the importance of the fact that one has already been to the neighboring country," says Łada. "People who have once visited the other country usually have a better opinion of it than those who have not. That is much more true of the German respondents." In order to improve mutual perception, it would be worthwhile to visit each other, according to the authors of the study.

is a project that examines the mutual perception of Poles and Germans. The investigations have been carried out since 2000. This year the study was carried out jointly by the Institute for Public Affairs, the German Poland Institute, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Poland and the Foundation for German-Polish Cooperation. In Poland, a representative group of 1000 adult residents older than 15 years was interviewed between February 21 and 26, 2020; In Germany, the representative sample comprised 1,000 adult residents older than 14 years who were surveyed between February 17 and 23, 2020.