Berlin is the capital city of Germany, and one of its largest cities and one of the most populous cities across all of Europe.
It also held a soft spot in the heart of the national hero for the South East Asian country, the Philippines. Jose Rizal, one of the most revered figures in the Pacific country’s history spent a year in Germany’s capital as he studied in ophthalmology, and pursued other intellectual pursuits. It is even in Berlin that Rizal’s most notable piece, the Noli Me Tangerewas first published in.
In one of Rizal’s letters, he stated that he owed Germany ‘his best remembrances’, now his countrymen, as well as foreigners that look up to him visit his haunts across Germany when the visit.
These hotspots are displayed and detailed in a new set of Illustrated Maps, which makes finding these hotspots and retracing the writer’s steps that much easier.
Melita Sta. Maria-Thomeczek, the Philippine Ambassador to Germany, stated that that was the primary aim of the illustrated map project, which was done with cooperation from the Knights of Rizal, primarily through the organizations two members, Lucien Spittael and Gerhard Müller. The Knights of Rizal is the Philippines sole order of knights, founded to uphold the principles of the writer. The Knights were founded in 1911, and now has members in places such as the US, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Australia and even Bahrain.
The Illustrated Maps detail Rizal’s favorite spots starting with his residence at Jaegerstrasse 71, as well as the Unter der Linden, a popular Berlin boulevard. Other more casual locations include the Café Bauer, and the Kaiser Galerie. Appropriately for a piece celebrating an intellectual, the illustrated map includes the Berlin Ethnology Society.
The map also covers some areas outside of Berlin where Rizal was known to frequent or stay in, such as Heidelberg, which was even the subject of a poem, A las Floser de Heidelberg (To the Flowers of Heidelberg). Other locations include Wilhemsfeld, with its own Rizal Park complete with statue.
The map was launched on the 19th of June, 156 years after the author’s birth, and is available for free from the Philippine Embassy, either in physical copies or in downloads.