On 13 July 1906, Benoît Damien, the dean of the science faculty at Lille University, wrote to the president of the Lille Chamber of Commerce, Edmond Faucheur. Damien was a member of the Esperanto Industrial and Commercial Society of France, and had probably been to the first Universal Congress of Esperanto in Boulogne-Sur-Mer the year before. Local writers and politicians had been describing Lille as a ‘crossroads’ city between Germany, France, Belgium and England since at least the 1870s. With an eye to its commercial future, the municipality offered German and English classes in its schools. Damien was convinced that Lille should adopt Esperanto.