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This was the 88th World Esperanto Congress in a series which started in 1905 and has taken place each year, interrupted only by the two world wars. At these events, Esperantists participate in a rich programme of talks, lectures, concerts, plays and excursions, all conducted in Esperanto, and all without the need for translators or interpreters (apart from an occasional concession to the few visiting dignitaries who haven't mastered the language). For many Esperantists, the real highlight of the event is simply to meet face-to-face and chat directly with people from across the world, without having to learn their many national languages, and without imposing our own national language and culture on them.
Each year's congress is organised by Esperantists in the hosting country and the Universala Esperanto-Asocio [World-wide Esperanto Association]. Some previous congresses have taken place in Britain; in 1907 (Cambridge), 1926 (Edinburgh), 1930 (Oxford), 1938 (London), 1949 (Bournemouth), 1961 (Harrogate), 1971 (London) and 1989 (Brighton).
The congress was held in the Gothenberg Convention Centre (pictured below left, with the Esperanto flag flying outside). This was in the centre of the city, within walking distance of many of the city's attractions.
As well as events in the convention centre itself, several excursions allowed Esperantists to see the Swedish countryside and enjoy the fine summer weather. Pictured below are trips to a bronze-age museum, and a boat trip on the river Göte.
There were also plenty of opportunties to meet and chat over meals - during the formal banquet, excursion lunches and informal suppers in the local restaurants, cafes and bars.
- Report and photos by Vilĉjo Walker
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