Kicker: A city that doesn’t exist

NICK EICHER, HOST: Say, could you use an extra million dollars? 

Great! The city of Bielefeld, Germany is offering up 1 million euros—that’s about $1.1 million U.S. dollars. And all you have to do is prove that the city doesn’t exist!

Bielefeld has been the subject of a long-running, light-hearted conspiracy theory claiming the entire city is a hoax. 

The idea that Bielefeld doesn’t exist was first floated by a computer expert who posted the satirical claim on the Internet in 1994 to poke fun at online conspiracy theories.

SCOTT: Welcome to a town that doesn’t exist. This is Bielefeld, in the northwest of Germany.

YouTuber Tom Scott shot a video from the city that “doesn’t exist.” Yep, just a ruse.

SCOTT: I guarantee that you could explain away any evidence that this town exists. Maps? Faked. Photos? Faked. If you’ve actually visited it? False memories. Elaborate ruse. I’m sure you can come up with something better than that.

Anyway, if you’re interested in the prize money, city officials said there are “no limits to creativity” for entrants. But only incontrovertible evidence of its nonexistence will qualify for the prize.

It’s The World and Everything in It.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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