68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Speech by Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research, on the occasion of the evening reception during the Summer Festival of Scienc in the Eilguthalle in Lindau

Nobelpreisträgertreffen Lindau
Bundesministerin Anja Karliczek während ihrer Rede im Rahmen des Sommerfestes der Wissenschaft am Vorabend des Nobelpreisträgertreffens in Lindau am Bodensee © Christian Flemming

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Honourable Nobel laureates,

Distinguished young scientists,

Countess Bernadotte,

Esteemed representatives from industry, science and politics!

Football is the source of many pearls of wisdom. My favourite quote is still that famous observation by Sepp Herberger, the legendary former coach of our national football team, who is reported to have said somewhat laconically:

“The ball is round and the game lasts 90 minutes.”

Tonight, I would like to add the following: The ball is round and the match between Germany and Sweden starts at 8 pm. But for now, football is merely what it is – a beautiful game.

So allow me to offer you a very warm welcome to this year’s Summer Festival of Science hosted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research here beside Lake Constance (or the Bodensee, as it is known in German). I am delighted to see that so many of you have taken up my invitation.

It has become a fine tradition to get together on the eve of the opening of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and to engage in exchange between the various scientific disciplines.

This year, we are hosting the Summer Festival of Science in a beautiful new location and historic transhipment and customs hall, the Eilguthalle. On its website it carries the motto:

“Set against a mountain backdrop, Lake Constance takes pride of place!”

I think that this is by no means an exaggeration. You only need to look around a little bit. The Eilguthalle has always been a place of encounter:

This is where traders used to transload their goods from rail to ship and passengers were required to submit their hand luggage to inspection before continuing their journey. In 2015, after years of abandon, the first plans were drawn up to usher in the second life of the Eilguthalle. And wouldn’t you agree that the conversion has been rather successful? I am delighted that we can be here at this location tonight to celebrate the Summer Festival of Science.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Lindau region has always been a centre of international relations. You could even say that Lake Constance (or the Bodensee, as we call it) is a uniting force. Ancient trade routes pass through this area. It is not only goods that flow along these routes but also new ideas. Lindau has long become a place where the international science community and science policy-makers come together.

Every year in June, it is the venue of the renowned Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. Tomorrow’s opening ceremony will be the starting point for an entire week of in-depth dialogue involving almost 40 Nobel laureates and around 600 young scientists from 84 countries. Never before has any Nobel Laureate Meeting dedicated to medicine and physiology attracted such great and international participation!

It fills me with pride that the Nobel Laureate Meetings take place here in Lindau. And I am glad to lend my support. The German Federal Government is committed to one thing, above all: Our aim is to continue to advance the internationalization of Germany as a location for science and research. Only in this way can Germany be strong and competitive. We want our country and research organizations to attract scientists from all the different countries around the world.

You are all aware of the fact that the political situation in the world today is less stable and more complex than a few years ago. Among the great challenges of our time, we count digital change and globalization – and their impact, for example: increased migration. It is particularly at a time like this that we need scientific exchange that transcends borders. And it is precisely at a time like this that the Federal Government is committed to showing that our country is open to the world.

What is more: In times like these, we need researchers and academics who take on social responsibility, engage in public debate and continuously work to explain what they are doing and how their work benefits people. I will elaborate on this topic at the opening tomorrow because I am convinced that Lindau is the right place for me to do so.

Science and research are not just restricted to our larger cities and Berlin.

Science and research need to reach out to the people affected and engage them in dialogue right across the country. This is also what the spirit of Lindau is about!

Distinguished guests,

I wish all those involved a good start to this year’s Nobel Laureate Meeting. For tonight, I wish all of you interesting and inspiring discussions – and hopefully an exciting football match!