Last updated: 07:00 PM ET, Thu April 09 2015

Selfies With Chopin: Poland Goes Digital in Celebrating Composer

Features & Advice | Donald Wood | April 09, 2015

Selfies With Chopin: Poland Goes Digital in Celebrating Composer

Fryderyk Chopin is one of the greatest composers the world has ever seen, and his home country of Poland is going to be focusing more of its attention on bringing Chopin and his music to tourists visiting the area. Chopin may have lived his life in the 19th century, but Poland is promoting him like he's still with us, with plans for a new website dedicated to the composer and a mobile app that allows visitors to take “selfies with Chopin.”

Taking selfies with Chopin? It may seem like a cruel joke, but the app will work at five locations around Warsaw “with a picture of the composer superimposed on to the image.” I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

According to Andrew MacDowall of The Guardian, tourism officials in Poland are looking to capitalize on the three million visitors per year who arrive in Chopin’s birthplace, Warsaw, by placing more of an emphasis on the composer.

Of the travelers who visit the capital of Poland each year, an estimated 200,000 visitors plan on visiting a Chopin-related museum. Warsaw features many museums, parks and statues dedicated to the composer and pianist, but the nation is looking to do more.

Locals are behind the emphasis on Chopin, as director of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Artur Szklener, told The Guardian, “We see that people feel a connection with Chopin that is almost religious. It’s very important for them to be in the place he loved, where he grew up and that shaped him. It’s like a pilgrimage.”

Szklener claims that more tourists visited Poland during the bicentennial of Chopin’s birth in 2010 than attended the European football championship in 2012. The rush of fans to the composer’s home country and the continued excitement around his work has helped convince the government to focus some of its tourism energy into Chopin-inspired concepts.

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