Win millions if you prove this German city doesn’t exist

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 28 August 2019

A German city is offering €1 million (R17 million) to whoever can prove that it doesn’t exist.

Image: Rüdiger Müller

The city of Bielefeld in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has been the centre of its own conspiracy theory since 1994. A recent marketing campaign from the Bielefeld city council ramped up the hype with an extravagant prize to celebrate (and debunk) the theory on its 25th anniversary.

The movement is credited to Achim Held, who happened to start the conspiracy over the internet in the nineties. Bielefeld, however, is actually one of the larger cities in Germany, with over 341,000 inhabitants, its own university and a number of tourist attractions including the centuries-old Sparrenburg Castle.

Many Germans are in on the joke, denying or vaguely dismissing any reference to the city’s existence. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also in on the gag, as well as a McDonalds franchise in the nearby town of Cologne.

As to whether anyone will be successful in this challenge remains to be seen. Tourists and locals have been known to get quite creative, posting satirical snaps on social media featuring selfies with German road and shop signs directing travellers towards the city.

Here are some of the best:


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Proof: Bielefeld indeed does not exist! #bielefeldverschwörung #bielefeldconspiracy #bielefeld #autobahn

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