World map in Esperanto

Centrale Esperanto Propaganda Commisie te Nijmegen, Wie met de heele wereld wil verkeeren, moet eerst Esperanto leeren! [“Who wants to change the world, must first learn Esperanto!]  Nijmegen: Drukkerij Gebr. Janssen, ca. 1930.
Lithograph printed in three colors, 19”h x 23 ½”w at sheet edge

An extremely rare promotional map of the world, given to participants in an Esperanto course offered at Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Though the map is undated, the Esperanto Center was active from the mid 1920s into the 1930s, and I find an announcement of just such a course in De Eerste Heemsteedsche Courant for Jan. 31, 1930 (

Esperanto was created in the late 19th century by L.L. Zamenhof, a Jewish opthamologist in Russia. Zamenhof’s motives were idealistic, grounded in his own painful experience of division between Russians, Poles, Germans and Jews in his native Bialystok: “In such a town a sensitive nature feels more acutely than elsewhere the misery caused by language division and sees at every step that the diversity of languages is the first, or at least the most influential, basis for the separation of the human family into groups of enemies.” (letter to Nikolai Borovko, ca. 1895, reprinted in Wikipedia)

The map depicts the world on an oval projection with the title and legend in Dutch but the place names entirely in Esperanto. Emphasizing the utility of this constructed language, white and black figures shout to one another from opposite ends of the world. Three columns of text below the map describe a six-month course to be offered in Nijmegen, enthuse about the benefits of Esperanto, and express optimism about its spread worldwide. Indeed, despite the persecution of Esperanto proponents by the totalitarian regimes of the mid-20th century, today the language has some 2,000,000 speakers worldwide and boasts the “32nd-largest Wikipedia as measured by the number of articles.”

Not in OCLC.   Neither Antique Map Price Record nor Rare Book Hub list any examples having appeared on the market.


Minor soiling and mended tears to upper and lower edges