"The Bielefeld Conspiracy" Top 5 Page for this destination Bielefeld by Nemorino

Bielefeld Travel Guide: 43 reviews and 99 photos

Bike route at Bielefeld University

Anyone who has clicked around a bit on German-language internet sites and forums has probably come across a phenomenon known as The Bielefeld Conspiracy.

This is essentially a spoof on conspiracy theories, much like The Idaho Conspiracy in the United States.

The main (tongue-in-cheek) premise of The Bielefeld Conspiracy Theory is that there is no such place. Bielefeld doesn't really exist. The main arguments are:

"Well, you've never been to Bielefeld, have you? And you don't know anybody from there, do you?"

It's a safe assumption that most people will answer NO to these questions, so the conclusion is that some shadowy unknown powers (the CIA, perhaps, or MI6?) have launched a vast conspiracy to convince us that there is a city of 330,000 people called Bielefeld in an obscure corner of the Teutoburg Forest in the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen. They say the conspirators have gone to great lengths to perpetrate this illusion, including having people drive around Germany with fake Bielefeld license plates on their cars.

OK, I don't usually believe in conspiracy theories, but I must admit that when my textbook publisher asked me to go to Bielefeld to do a presentation I was perhaps just a trifle dubious; just a tiny nagging doubt, that's all, LOL. And the German railway system didn't help matters because they were really chaotic on that Saturday morning and just barely got me there in time.

Now that I have been there, though, I can confirm that Bielefeld really does exist.

Right across from the (really existing) railroad station there is a hotel called the Mövenpick Hotel, which I am sure also really exists because I did my presentation there. Or have I unwittingly become a part of the conspiracy?

Afterwards I rented a bicycle at the station and spent the rest of the afternoon riding around Bielefeld.

It really is an attractive town with lots of parks and well-marked bicycle lanes. Also it has a modern new university and a quaint-looking 104-year-old city theater.

And it is the home of a soccer team called Arminia Bielefeld, which has had its ups and downs over the years but is now back in the first (top) federal soccer league.

Update: Thanks to VT member HORSCHECK for pointing out that Arminia Bielefeld has nothing to with the country Armenia (my first guess), nor does it mean "harmony" (my second guess). Rather, it is a feminized form of an ancient Germanic hero named Arminius a.k.a. Hermann, who stopped the advance of the Roman legions into northern Germany by defeating them in the year 9 A.D. at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.

  • Last visit to Bielefeld: Sep 2007
  • Intro Updated Nov 8, 2011
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Reviews (11)

Comments (32)

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo
    Jul 1, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    I don´t know why I haven´t come across this page before, but I actually knew a woman from Bielefeld. She married an Icelandic man and was the mother of one of my best friends.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jun 12, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    An interesting read Don! Do schools now have morning and afternoon classes? We found on our travels this time, lots of schools closing at lunch time, and children only going to school for small hours of the day.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Jun 13, 2013 at 6:06 AM

      Thanks, Dee. The German schools are slowly (very slowly) changing their schedules. Many still close at lunch time. Increasingly, though, they are offering optional afternoon programs to accomodate the needs of working parents.

  • alancollins's Profile Photo
    Aug 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    I don't usually believe in conspiracy theories but checked first to see if Bielefeld actually exists. Unless Google are in on it, I found the city on their maps.

  • lmkluque's Profile Photo
    Dec 30, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    I'm not much into "conspiracy theories," I haven't hard of The Bielefeld Conspiracy or The Idaho Conspiracy, nor can I ride a bicycle. Still I found this to be an interesting page, especially your comments about the Theatre and the school system there.

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Nov 5, 2011 at 5:49 AM

    Good that you had the time to rent a bicycle for a few hours after your presentation. It seems to work very well with bicycle rentals in Germany!

  • King_Golo's Profile Photo
    Oct 8, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    My brother studied in Bielefeld as did quite a few of my friends... Naturally, the first thing they (and others) mention when talking about Bielefeld is the notorious conspiracy. But I can prove that it exists: I've been there as well! Thanks for sharing your views on Bielefeld.

  • risse73's Profile Photo
    Aug 24, 2009 at 1:20 PM

    Conspiracy theories are always fun! :-) Hard to believe that the German schools are now poorly performing. Thanks for visiting my Ponce page! They're so mixed there that I don't believe there's a full-blooded Taino. -Marissa-

  • xaver's Profile Photo
    Dec 24, 2008 at 12:32 PM

    great tips, but as always, the accomodation one is the best.

  • himalia11's Profile Photo
    Aug 13, 2008 at 12:12 PM

    Hi Don, hope you are doing fine! I guess without this conspiracy, Bielefeld would be less known... And I didn't know that there's also a Idaho Conspiracy, interesting.

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2008 at 4:10 AM

    Interesting page on this academic town. Also appreciate the wonderful bicycle network. Where I live, we are so behind in offering folks a safe place to bicycle. Also thanks for checking out my Bayeux pages.


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