Poland Is Removing Flashy Banners And Ads, And The “Cleanse” Looks So Good (52 Before & After Pics)

Poland Is Removing Flashy Banners And Ads, And The “Cleanse” Looks So Good (52 Before & After Pics)

Even though there’s nothing wrong with a few classy advertisements here and there, let’s be frank—there are far too many of them in the modern world. And as these colorful collages compete for your attention, they also hide the beauty of the architecture. Sometimes, it can feel like you’re living in Night City, not a gorgeous historic city with stunning buildings.


There’s some good news on that front, however. The Polish port city of Gdańsk (along with other cities, including Warsaw) is winning the fight against chaotic adverts that clutter up the public sphere. And it’s all thanks to the city’s Landscape Protection Act. It’s been having a direct impact on how the city looks and we’ve got to say—it’s a marked improvement that helps highlight how the city would look ‘in the wild.’ Already, hundreds of buildings have had ads removed from them and are showing their facades proud and unconstrainted.


The ‘Pogromcy Reklamozy’ (‘Advertising Busters’) Facebook page is dedicated to documenting these changes and they’re showing the vast improvements when the ads are booted out of Gdańsk and other Polish cities. The group also calls out any illegal ads that are put up in the city. Check out some of the photos they featured below, upvote the pics you liked the most, let us know what you think of the changes, and share your thoughts on the limits we should place on ads in historic cities.


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Now, those business owners and service providers who wish to put up large-format ads and shop signs in Gdańsk have to meet certain aesthetic standards. What these standards are depends on each specific district and area of the city. There are 8 such areas.


So, for instance, there will be far more regulatory hoops to jump through for anyone who wants to advertise in the city center which has a lot of historic buildings and distinct architecture. According to the Polish media, one of the rules for ads there is that they can’t use plastic while the designs have to integrate themselves into the overall architecture, instead of clashing with it.


What’s more, large billboards can now no longer cover windows. We’re stunned that this was allowed before. Anyone not abiding by the rules gets fined.


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Most of the changes happened after April 2020 once a two-year transition period came to an end. During the two-year transition period after the Protection Act was adopted, the private and public sectors had time to adapt to the new regulations.


Bored Panda reached out to 3 people who have visited various Polish cities, including Gdańsk, to hear their takes on adverts there. My contacts wished to remain anonymous, but have confirmed to me that adverts in Poland can be “insane” and over the top, especially during the elections.


One of my Sweden-based contacts with a background in architecture and urban planning, in particular, explained that while the adverts in Gdańsk were very chaotic, in her experience, what caught her eye the most was actually how active the city’s wildlife was—she saw a tiny hedgehog in the middle of the city that wasn’t afraid to be around people. That experience, for her, was worth more than all the historic architecture put together.


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Image credits: Pogromcy Reklamozy


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Meanwhile, another acquaintance, an advertising and marketing specialist, pointed out that during her last visit to Gdańsk, in July of 2018, she noticed that there weren’t any billboards in the Old Town. This goes to show that, at least in some parts of the city, changes were happening right after the Landscape Protection Act was put into practice.


Gdańsk isn’t the only place to wage war against adverts, by far. Other Polish cities, like Warsaw, are also featured on the 'Advertising Busters' Facebook page. But this practice of restricting ads goes beyond the country. For example, São Paulo, in Brazil, has banned outdoor posters and billboards since 2006. While France and Italy are both well known for their disdain of adverts in historic areas.


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