Cafeteria in Germany

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Cafeteria in Germany
legal form registered association
founding 1979 (registered: 1981)
Seat Cologne
main emphasis Gifted (IQ 130 and higher)
Action space Germany
Chair Tina Acham, Hermann Meier, Yu Jin Son, Martin Weiß, Jens Wiechers
Managing directors Martin Jäkle
Volunteers about 800
Members more than 15,000

Mensa in Germany e. V. (MinD) is the German branch of Mensa International . According to its own statutes, Mensa aims to bring gifted people into contact and to promote research into human intelligence .

The association claims to strive that “intelligence is always to be used for the good of humanity” and does not represent any political or religious opinion. Mensa in Germany was founded in 1979 and currently has around 15,000 members.


Mensa was founded in 1946 in Great Britain by Roland Berrill and Lancelot Ware . For people in Germany only direct membership at Mensa International was possible. In the early 1960s, Michael Graf Soltikow tried to found the first organization based on the British canteen. In fact, the first German-speaking branch came into being on June 4, 1966 in Frankfurt / Main with the founding meeting as Deutsche Mensa e. V .; The chairmen were Audrey Le Lièvre (Düsseldorf) for Germany, Hans Eberstark (Geneva) for Switzerland and Georg Fischhof (Vienna) for Austria. However, this association only lasted a few years. It was only founded in 1979. On September 21, 1981, Mensa was registered in Germany as an association under German law in the Cologne Register of Associations. Hasso Streger and Hans Lippmann were among the first board members.

Hasso Streger (October 7, 1942 - December 10, 1998) headed the office in Bochum - Wiemelhausen until the end of the 1980s . In the early years, Streger received calls to the cafeteria of the Ruhr University Bochum. Streger translated a riddle book under the title Mensa Square - Brain Teasers for the Gifted (1988) by the former Mensa International Vice President Victor Serebriakoff into German. The book could be won in competitions with brain teasers in the regional press. Streger also made the cafeteria known to a wider public in Karl Dalls DALL-AS , the first talk show on German private television. Streger's hobby of collecting beer cans was also discussed in this program. The Stregers collection comprised 27,300 beer cans from all over the world, thanks in part to the help of many canteens.

The trained typesetter Hans Lippmann († 1997) took care of the layout and print of the members' magazine MinD-Magazin, which was still run under the name bagatelle , for which PM provided a few puzzles in his print shop in Passau . When asked whether one considers oneself to be elitist, reference was made to the club of tall people . The press work emphasized that people with a high IQ hardly differ from other people, not even in terms of professional or private success. Mensa became more popular, which was expressed in the continuously increasing number of members. Udo Schultz, later chairman of Mensa International, supported the board from 1984 to 1991.

The office was relocated to Cologne at the beginning of the 1990s and is now located in Graefelfing near Munich. At the same time, the board of directors was expanded and public relations were expanded, which resulted in the strong membership growth in the 2000s. In November 2013, the association founded the MinD Foundation, a non-profit foundation company , to better promote the gifted and to support research in the field of intelligence.


The criterion for membership in Mensa is an intelligence quotient that is higher than 98% of the population . In the case of the intelligence tests customary in Germany (mean 100, standard deviation 15), this corresponds to a value from 130. Mensa offers its own intelligence test for this, which is then evaluated by a psychologist using a standardized procedure. External reports, e.g. B. by resident psychologists can also be recognized.

In the calendar years 2008 to 2016, around 1000 people (863 to 1298) joined the association and 300 people (233 to 423) left the association.


Supraregional events

The annual meeting, which takes place regularly in April and lasts several days, frames the general assembly and has around 1,000 visitors. With the exception of the general assembly, the events of the annual meeting are also open to non-members. Another well-known national event is the big New Year's Eve party with a changing location. Mensa in Germany hosted the first European Mensa Annual Gathering (EMAG) in Cologne in 2008 ; others took place in Berlin (2015), Krakow (2016), Barcelona (2017), Belgrade (2018) and Ghent (2019).

Regional events

The members meet in over 100 cities in Germany for regional round tables. In addition, the club members meet on different occasions, such as excursions, lecture series or game evenings. Most of these events are open to non-members.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

Mensans organize themselves in Special Interest Groups (SIGs) on various topics , such as astronomy, finance, cooking, climbing, mathematics, philosophy, collecting, sailing and skiing.

Children and young people

Children and parents of highly intelligent children can use offers under the headings Mensa Kids and Mensa Juniors . The cafeteria offers an environment in which gifted children and young people can get to know each other during joint activities. Summer weeks and weekend events are regularly offered nationwide in the kids area ; In the Juniors area, there are regular camps at Easter and in summer, and since 2007 a seminar weekend in autumn. Parents can contact the Mensa for advice or an exchange of experiences. Mensa in Germany has been working with the German Society for Gifted Children since 2007 , which has extensive experience in the subject and also works throughout Germany and with regional focuses.

Cafeteria Youth

With Mensa Youth (MY), young adults will find their own additional offers in the association. The main target group are the 18 to 30 year olds. Local meetings and weekend camps are regularly offered nationwide. At the international level there is a ten-day summer leisure time with more than 200 participants from all over the world as well as a seven-day event at the turn of the year. Unlike the MHN, MY also explicitly addresses gifted people without an academic background.

MinD University Network (MHN)

The target group of the MinD-Hochschul-Netzwerk (MHN) are high school students, students, doctoral candidates and young professionals aged 18 to 30 years. The central event of the MHN is the annual four-day MinD Academy, which has been under the patronage of the current Federal Minister for Education and Research since 2008 . The speakers in recent years have included the Nobel Prize winners Peter Grünberg and Horst-Eberhardt Richter , the sociologists Kurt Weis and Michael Hartmann and the journalists Albrecht Müller and Felix Paturi . In lectures and workshops on a central topic, content is illuminated that allows a view beyond one's own nose. In addition, seminars and workshops covering a wide range of topics are organized over the year and other offers such as mentoring programs and topic networks are implemented. Membership in the cafeteria is not a requirement.

Mensa Business International (MBI)

The international SIG Mensa Business International with currently more than 5,400 members from 45 countries offers a platform for business contacts and organizes regional meetings (round tables with lectures). There was also a cafeteria consultant network for highly intelligent corporate and IT consultants . This was discontinued in November 2008.

SIGHT program

SIGHT (Service for Information, Guidance and Hospitality to Travelers) is the internal cafeteria program that regulates the mutual accommodation of traveling canteens worldwide. Via SIGHT, cafeterias can find accommodation, city tours and local contacts free of charge worldwide.

public relation

The association's own publication is the MinD magazine , which is sent to members every two months and made available on the website. Numerous regional local newspapers, newsletters and mailing lists are used to exchange information and to announce events. Mensa also operates a Facebook page and is represented on Xing, Twitter and LinkedIn.

German IQ Prize

MinD has been awarding the German IQ Prize since 2004 for ideas in the field of media, education and science, which have “made a special contribution to the common good, to the promotion and research of human intelligence”. The award is made by simple online voting by the association members from a list of nominees by association members and took place annually until 2018, then every two years.

MinD game price

MinD has been awarding board games every year since 2010, in two different categories since 2015. All members of the Mensa in Germany and the MinD University Network (MHN) are entitled to vote when the MinD game award is awarded .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. About the association on the association's homepage, accessed on May 6, 2019.
  2. Bylaws for the Mensa 2018
  3. Der Spiegel 18/1963: Ingenious or almost ingenious
  4. World records for everything to do with beer , Guinness Book of Records, 1998 edition, accessed May 2, 2016.
  5. Udo Schultz - head of the club of the brightest minds . In: Berliner Zeitung , July 17, 1995, accessed May 2, 2016.
  6. Mensa Youth (U30). In: Mensa in Deutschland eV Accessed on September 3, 2019 (German).
  7. ^ [1] Program of the MinD Academy 2011, accessed on March 13, 2018
  8. ^ [2] Program of the MinD Academy 2006, accessed on March 13, 2018
  9. ^ [3] Program of the MinD Academy 2010, accessed on March 13, 2018
  10. ^ [4] Program of the MinD Academy 2005, accessed on March 13, 2018
  11. ^ [5] Program of the MinD Academy 2007, accessed on March 13, 2018
  12. Cafeteria in Germany e. V. | Facebook. In: Retrieved April 18, 2020 .
  13. Gifted people honor fascinating projects with the IQ Prize , press release Mensa, April 27, 2017