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Wroclaw, Poland: The Land of the Dwarfs

July 28, 2016

When adopting internationally, you will have to travel to your child’s birth country. Most families stay several days, bonding with their child and completing paperwork. Families adopting through our Poland program often visit Wroclaw, and they often report that one of the most fun parts of their stay in the city is dwarf-hunting.

All throughout the city there are small bronze statues of dwarves. But why dwarves? In the 1980s when Poland was still under a communist system of government, there was an anti-communist movement called the Orange Alternative. They found a creative way to protest the communist system without getting arrested by the police. They painted dwarfs on all the communist symbols throughout the city. When the government got upset about a bunch of gnomes and spray painted over them, it made them look very silly. The movement spread to other cities but is primarily identified with Wrocław .

Later in 2001, the city erected a bronze statue of a dwarf in the middle of the city that has been affectionately named “Papa Dwarf” in honor of the Orange Alternative. Over time, 300 more bronze dwarf statues were erected and scattered throughout the city. Each one has a story and represents a different aspect of life in Wrocław. As the city changes and grows, new dwarves are added. They are now a much loved part of Wrocław for locals and tourists alike.

Many of our New Beginnings families have had fun finding the dwarves hidden throughout the city. So if you find yourself in Wrocław, be sure to visit a local gift shop and buy a map that shows the locations of all the dwarves in the city. Then take your family and see how many you can find. It’s a great way to get to know your child’s birth country and bond as a new family.

Image source here.