German city gives $1.1m to anyone who proves it does not exist

German city gives $1.1m to anyone who proves it does not exist

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After 25 years, the Bielefeld Conspiracy could be finally debunked

Bielefeld is a city in north-western Germany. Or is it?  

Legend has it that 25 years ago, a person attended a party in another German city — Kiel. When asked where he comes from he repeatedly replied that his hometown was Bielefeld. 

Bielefeld reportedly has 300,000 inhabitants. Or does it? — Shutterstock German city gives $1.1m to anyone who proves it does not existBielefeld reportedly has 300,000 inhabitants. Or does it? — Shutterstock


As none of the other party guests had ever heard of such a city, everybody thought he had made it up. “Bielefeld? There’s no such thing!” He would hear. This caught the attention of another attendee of the event, computer scientist Achim Beld.

Beld used the occasion to create a fun theory he published in a post on Usenet. He claimed that Bielefeld theoretically does not even exist — and this is how the Bielefeld Conspiracy was born. 

$1.1 million to a lucky debunker

Beld’s theory spread over the internet and brought certain fame to the 300,000-city that prides itself with a castle and a university. even offers tickets to its main station

“The conspiracy theory picked up speed and began to make the German population believe Bielefeld would not exist,” Bielefeld’s tourism page states.

To finally debunk the theory, the city has decided to pay €1 million ($1.1 million) to anyone that could prove Bielefeld’s nonexistence.

Anyone who is over 16 years of age and would like to disprove the city’s existence can participate via the official page of the contest here. The rules are quite simple and the city accepts responses in both German and English. The deadline for submissions is on 4 September.

“We are excited about the creative submissions and are 99.99 per cent sure that we will be able to refute any claims,” said the head of Bielefeld Marketing, Martin Knabenreich, DW reports.

The theory is built on three main questions. Do you know anybody from Bielefeld? Have you ever been to Bielefeld? Do you know anybody who has ever been to Bielefeld? And people are allowed to use any approach to support the conspiracy theory. 

“How will you prove there is no Bielefeld? The sky’s the limit as far as your creativity is concerned,” said the official page. 

“Whether you use images, videos or text — any type of post is allowed, your pearls of wisdom must just be irrefutable in order to win the #Bielefeldmillion.”

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