Monuments and memorials to Jose Rizal around the world
On June 1883, Rizal left Madrid to visit Paris. He stayed at the Hotel de Paris but then moved to a cheaper hotel. His only complaint, if any, was “that everything in Paris was expensive.”
He was in the city for a few months from 1885-86 for his apprenticeship in ophthalmology under Louis de Weckert, and then again later on, to witness the World Exposition of 1889.
Like all tourists, Rizal was fascinated by the attractive scenery of Paris, as well as other religious and historical landmarks .
He also closely observed the French way of life and spent many hours at the museums.
A marker was installed at the entrance of Hotel de Paris where Rizal stayed. It reads:
Dr. JOSE RIZAL, 1861-1896, WRITER AND NATIONAL HERO OF THE PHILIPPINES LIVED HERE.
Rizal arrived in Heidelberg, a historic city in Germany, on Feb. 3, 1886 from Paris.
He marked several important milestones in the city. He attended lectures at the University of Heidelberg, wrote his nostalgic poem “A Las Flores de Heidelberg,” on April 22, 1886 and finished writing the last chapters of his first novel.
In the village of Wilhelmsfeld, he spent a three-month vacation with pastor Karl Ullmer’s family where he celebrated his 25th birthday.
Not many people from the Philippines realize that there is a statue and park dedicated to their National Hero, Jose Rizal, located in Wilhelmsfeld about 25 kilometers from Heidelberg.
Standing at the center of the Rizal Park is “a larger-than-life bronze statue showing Rizal with a quill in his right hand touching his face slightly in deep thought with far gaze.”
It was sculpted by Filipino sculpture Anastacio Caedo and unveiled on Sept. 2, 1986.
Jose Rizal and his friend Dr Maximo Viola were having a grand tour of Europe and arrived at the railroad station of Leitmeritz ( Litomerice) on May 13, 1887, where they were met by Austrian professor Ferdinand Blumentritt.
The two scholars who came to know each other by correspondence, met for the first time in person.
Rizal and Viola stayed in Leitmeritz from May 13-17,1887 and stayed at Hotel Krebs.
Rizal figures prominently in this historic city due to a sister-city agreement with Calamba.
A small plaza was constructed behind the town hall, and several busts of Rizal were installed there and in the mayor’s office.
Rizal reached Rome on June 27, 1887 and was fascinated by “the sights and memories of the Eternal City.” He visited Turin, Milan, Venice and Florence.
On June 29 ,Rizal visited for the first time the Vatican, the “City of the Popes” and the capital of Christendom.
A new and bigger monument of Rizal was constructed in Rome, in time for the 150th birth anniversary of the National Hero on June 19, 2011.
In his letter to Blumentritt. Rizal mentioned the Marian basilica during his visit to Rome in 1887.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines cited Rizal’s in which he wrote that he “should like to stay here until the last moment. I will give up visiting the other cities. If I had one more year, I would spend it all here… Ancient Rome allures me exceedingly.”
On May, 1892, Rizal decided to return to Manila for his second homecoming.
On May 20-24 1887, Rizal paid a brief visit to Vienna and stayed at the Metropole Hotel which used to stand at the site where the historical marker was installed.
According to a report, “In commemoration of the 134th birth anniversary of Dr. José P. Rizal, National Hero of the Philippines, a historical marker was unveiled in Vienna on 19 June 1995, at the Leopold Hof Bldg., Franz Josefs Kai 31-33, corner Morzinplatz 4, First District.”
The marker, containing a German text, reads as follows in its English translation:
Dr. José P. Rizal 1861-1896), National Hero of the Philippines, stayed at the Metropole Hotel on 20 to 24 May 1887 on this site.”
On June 19, 1887 Rizal treated Viola to a blowout. It was his 26th birthday so Rizal and Viola spent 15 delightful days in Geneva.
A marker for Rizal was unveiled in Switzerland on Dec. 14, 2011 to mark Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary.
The plaque, provided by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, was installed at the entrance of the hotel where Rizal was billeted in Berne on June 4-5, 1887.
It was reported that while in Switzerland, the Philippine National Hero visited Schaffhausen, Basel, Berne, Lausanne and Geneva.
Markers and a plaque for Rizal have been installed previously in Schaffhausen and Geneva.
On April 13, 1888, Rizal left Japan for the United States.
Rizal stayed in London from May 24,1888 to March 1889. During his stay in the city, he improved his knowledge of the English language, wrote essays and articles for La Solidaridad and annotated the work of Antonio de Morga, the “Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas” later published in Paris in 1890. It was the greatest achievements of Rizal during his stay in London.
It must not be forgotten that Rizal had a romantic interlude with the eldest of the three Beckett sisters, Gertrude. After 10 months, Rizal left London and departed for Paris.
A memorial was installed by the Greater London Council at the residence of the Beckett family where Rizal stayed.
It was on Jan. 28, 1890 that Rizal left Paris for Brussels, the capital of Belgium. He stayed at 42 Rue Philippe de Champagne with where he wrote several articles for La Solidaridad and finished writing his second novel, “El Filibusterismo,” the sequel to “Noli Me Tangere.”
In 1891, Rizal moved to Ghent where he published “El Filibusterismo,” partially funded with the help of Valentin Ventura.
On Sept. 18, 1891, “El Filibusterismo” came off the press.
He lived in the boarding house of the two Jacoby sisters, Catherina and Suzanna, who had a niece Suzanna age 16.
Historian Gregorio F. Zaide stated that Rizal had “his romance with Suzanne Jacoby, 45, the petite niece of his landladies.”
There are two Rizal markers honoring the National Hero in Belgium, one in Brussels, and the other in Ghent.
The marker in Ghent reads:
JOSE RIZAL 1861-1896 HEROS NATIONAL DES PHILIPPINE HABITAIT DANS CETTE MAISON LORSQU’IL ESCRIBIT SON ROMAN “EL FILIBUSTERISMO” EN 189-1891.
In New South Wales, a statue of Rizal was unveiled on Oct. 26, 2012, at a park dedicated in his honor.
The statue was the latest addition to Rizal landmarks in Australia, which already had five in New South Wales state and one in Victoria state.
The five-meter bronze statue was made and donated by well-known artist, sculptor and designer Eduardo Castrillo, who also made the tallest monument of our National Hero in Calamba City, Laguna.
The sculpture monument portrays Rizal during his colorful stay in Europe in a typical European suit, with his left hand raised instead of resting on his side, his right hand holding “Noli Me Tangere.”
A bust of Dr Jose Rizal located at Paseo de la Republica de Filipinas along Avenida de los Incas in Buenos Aires was unveiled on Dec. 28, 2014 to commemorate the 118th anniversary of his death and martyrdom.
It was reported that after the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in 2008, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo unveiled a bust of the Philippine’s National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, at the center of the newly renamed Rizal Park in La Molina district.
This public park in Peru was the first to be named after a national hero of a foreign country and the first to have a monument in his honor.
Made of bronze, the bust was designed by a Czech sculptor and donated by a German tourism consultant who is married to a Filipino woman.
The bust is mounted atop a quadrilateral pedestal, decorated with four inaugural plaque markers on each side. Inscribed in one marker are the words: “Dr. Jose P. Rizal, Heroe Nacional de Filipinas, Nacionalista, Reformador Political, Escritor, Linguistica y Poeta, 1861-1896.”
All of the memorials and monuments to Rizal should show that he practiced what he preached. As he wrote in “El Filibusterismo”:
“It is a useless life that is not consecrated to a great ideal. It is like a stone wasted in the field without becoming part of an edifice.”
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