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Joseph Stalin’s “gift” to Poles

It has 44 floors, 3,288 rooms and the mysterious underground

The Palace of Culture and Science is located in the center city centre of Warsaw and it is the main landmark.

The building was erected as a ‘gift of the Soviet people for the Polish nation’. It is said that originator of the project was Joseph Stalin. Various concepts were considered, but it was known that for propaganda reasons it must be the central point of the city.

Setting the height of the building, of course took place with the participation of architects from the Soviet Union. They stood on the other side of the Vistula river, and a plane with a balloon was flying over the planned site, rising higher and higher. Eventually, his flight was stopped at 230 m, recognizing it as a sufficient height that was supposed to tower over Warsaw.

It is impressive how many materials were needed. It is said that 40 million bricks and 26 thousand tons of steel was used to build the Palace. About 3,500 Russian and 4,000 Polish workers took part in the construction works, which lasted only three years. Unfortunately, 16 of them died because of different accidents.

The opening lasted two days, during the 21st and 22nd of July 1955 and it was a big event in the Communist world. There was a military parade with tanks and obviously the Soviet ambassador participated in opening.

Nowadays, it has 44 floors, 3,288 rooms and the mysterious underground. The Palace now hosts various companies, public institutions and cultural activities such as a concert hall, club, restaurants, museums, cinema, theatres, libraries, sports clubs, private university, scientific institutions and authorities of the Polish Academy of Sciences. On the 30th floor there is also an observation deck where tourists can enjoy the view of the city.

Of course, many did not or still don’t like the Palace because it was perceived as a symbol of Soviet power in Warsaw.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Kasia from Poland, graduate in tourism and management. During free time love to travel and hike.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.