The Lindau Meetings: Now and Then

Welcome to the exhibition "The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings: Now and Then". As the title promises, this exhibition tries to outline the development the meetings have taken during the last 65 years, and to show where they stand today.

The exhibition can be physically visited at the Lindau City Museum (Marktplatz 6, 88131 Lindau). It is open daily from 10.00 hrs to 18.00 hrs in the season from March to October.

The four rooms of the exhibition are described below.

Room 1: The History and Idea of the Meetings

Nobel Laureates in Lindau – Why?

Good question! Actually, since 1951 almost four hundred Laureates have participated – many of them regularly – in the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings to meet and discuss science and research with the young scientists.
This exhibition reveals how this came about.

The Spirit of Lindau

In 2011, Nature Publishing portrayed the Lindau Meetings in a 15 minute documentation. The film is shown in the exhibition and can also be viewed below.



The Lindau doctors, Dr Franz Karl Hein and Prof Gustav Wilhelm Parade, develop the idea to invite Nobel Laureates to Lindau. They are able to win over Count Lennart Bernadotte as “honorary patron”.

The first “European Meeting of Nobel Laureates” takes place from 10 – 14 June 1951 in Lindau. The Swedish King Gustaf VI. Adolf sends his greetings. 

For the first time students – predominantly from Germany but also from other European neighbour states – participate in the meeting. 

1954 is the first time a Nobel Peace Laureate attends the meeting – namely Albert Schweitzer. The following year based on his suggestion, Laureates primarily with a background in nuclear research get together and adopt the Mainau Manifest, in which they publicly denounce the development and use of atomic weapons. 

Although students from the GDR (former East Germany) regularly took part in the meetings, the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 prevents further participation.

Beginning in the late 1960s the topic of environmental protection gains increasing significance and Count Lennart Bernadotte makes sustainability the central theme of the 1971 meeting. Two years later in Lindau the Nobel Peace Laureate and German Chancellor Willy Brandt holds a pivotal lecture titled “Environmental Protection as an International Task”. Since then this theme has been a part of the meetings. 

Since 1959 the meetings have become increasingly international, going beyond Europe. The German Academic Exchange Service begins in 1971 to support the meetings and strengthens the international profile further. Since 1980 the Alexander-von Humboldt Foundation has cooperated with the meetings.

As a result of visits by the secretary of the Nobel Committee for Physics, Prof Bengt Nagel (1982) and the executive director of the Nobel Foundation, Baron Stig Ramel (1983), the ties to Stockholm improve distinctly; today they are based on trust and friendship, which is reflected in cooperative projects.

Not just the 50th anniversary of the meetings and the first interdisciplinary meeting, but also the landmark founding of the Foundation Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings through 50 Nobel Laureates took place in 2000.
Under the chairmanship of Prof Wolfgang Schürer, the foundation has influenced and developed the meetings in many ways, in particular by securing the financial basis, through a systematic development of international relationships and the continued development of projects with an impact beyond one week a year.

The expansion of the permanent, year-round executive office makes a systematic advancement of the meetings possible; for example the online services.

According to the current timetable, the Inselhalle will be completely renovated from 2015 – 2017. As of the summer of 2017, it will offer a contemporary venue for meetings and events in Lindau.

Whose idea was it?

The idea to organize scientific meetings in Lindau was initiated by Prof Gustav Wilhelm Parade but the deciding, definitive idea to invite Nobel Laureates both from Germany and abroad came from Dr Franz Karl Hein, a practicing gynaecologist and active town council member in Lindau.
For further support, especially in regards to the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, the two doctors asked Count Lennart Bernadotte from Mainau Island for help. Count Lennart, grandson to the Swedish King Oscar II., supported the meetings with ideas and his connections and significantly influenced the meetings in the following decades as the president of the Council. Later on his wife, Sonja, took over this position and since 2008 their daughter, Countess Bettina, has been the president.
The first years were anything but simple in regards to the organization and financing but success proved that the three founders were right: ever since the young scientists were invited to participate in 1953, the meetings had found their unique recipe for success.

Franz Karl Hein's Desk<br>
Franz Karl Hein's Desk


Room 2: The Laureates

The second room shows a selection of photos from the "Nobel Laureates in Portrait" series by Peter Badge.

Nobel Laureates in Portrait<br>
Nobel Laureates in Portrait


Nobel Laureates in Portrait

Peter Badge was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1974 and began his career after studying art history as a freelance artist/photographer in 1993.
Choosing portraiture as his primary focus, Badge concentrates on noted personalities, including artists and actors, musicians and photographers such as the electronic music pioneer Oskar Sala or the popular German musician Marius Müller-Westernhagen.
Badge embarked on a series of photographs of Nobel Laureates in 2000, commissioned by a group of renowned organizations including the Deutsches Museum in Bonn and the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of American History and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., as well as his partners, the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and the Foundation Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.
This project turned out to be a long-term, ongoing mission, which has taken him all over the world in order to capture images of every living Nobel Laureate – almost 400 so far.


About 20 memorabilia donated by Nobel Laureates are presented in this room as well, each telling a story about the object, the laureate, and how it came to Lindau. Original documents from the early years of meeting planning complete the historical account.

Room 3: Outreach Projects

In addition to the annual meetings in Lindau, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings are involved in a variety of projects and activities involving science, education and art.


The portraits by the photographer Peter Badge shift the focus to the personalities of the Nobel Laureates and let us get to know them better.

The series “Sketches of Science” by science photo­grapher Volker Steger is dedicated not only to the Laureates but also their discoveries: the Laureates were asked to put down their “inventions” on paper with crayons. The exhibition is a cooperative project of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and the Nobel Museum in Stockholm.

Selected images from the exhibition series "Sketches of Science": Martin Chalfie, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Sir Harold Kroto<br>
Selected images from the exhibition series "Sketches of Science": Martin Chalfie, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Sir Harold Kroto


A Treasure Trove: The Lindau Mediatheque

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings are also extensively represented online. In addition to the website, the main feature is the Mediatheque, which contains many multimedia based documents from more than sixty years of meetings. The core collection is made up of roughly 400 historical lectures by Nobel Laureates in Lindau; partially as original recording, partially in videos.
These unique original documents are complemented with high quality videos and texts that are easily accessible for non-scientists and especially for pupils and students.

The interactive Nobel Labs 360° let you look right into the laboratories of the Laureates and make science tangible!

Nobel Labs 360° on a touch dispay<br>
Nobel Labs 360° on a touch dispay

 The Nobel Labs 360° can of course also explored directly here within the mediatheque - just cklick on "Nobel Labs 360°" in the main menu.

Thanks & Realization

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings only exist
thanks to the diverse backing of our numerous supporters and partners. The same is true for this exhibition. The supporters deserve our thanks for their contributions which made this exhibition possible.

Principal Supporter
Klaus Tschira Stiftung

Zumtobel AG, City of Lindau & Cultural Office Lindau

Scientific Consultants
Prof Bernhard Graf
Prof Anders Bárány

Concept, Texts & Implementation
Wolfgang Huang
Christian Schumacher, Barbara Reil,
Gero von der Stein, Patricia Edema

Nikolaus Turner, Alexander Warmbrunn
Special thanks go to Beate Hein-Bennett and Piet Hein for generously making the archives of “Franz Karl Hein” available, as well as all Nobel Laureates and their families for supplying exhibits.

Content User Level

Beginner  Intermediate  Advanced 


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Content User Level

Beginner  Intermediate  Advanced 


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