The migration crisis unfolding on the border with Belarus since the summer of 2021, followed by the unprecedented and unexpected influx of refugees of the war in Ukraine, represents the most recent and pressing challenge to Polish national identity and at the same time to all of Europe.

In the current situation, the sense of identity among young Poles has been profoundly unsettled. We see this in attitudes towards the two different migratory crises and in what young people make of Polish history and the relationship between Poland and Europe, their views on the Catholic Church, and lastly, their ideas about gender. This project sets out to investigate the sense of identity and national belonging that young Poles express in the current situation. We are particularly interested in regional variation (down to the level of powiat and city) and the way young people think about local (often multi-ethnic) history.

To this end, a survey is conducted on a representative sample of young people aged 16–34 from different parts of Poland. We aim to investigate young people’s attitudes towards refugees; their sense of local, national and European identity; their views on their cities’ as well as on Polish, European and East European history; their relationship to religion and religious institutions; and their understanding of gender.