Round table

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The Winchester Round Table
National RT logos

Round Table (RT) is one of the service clubs and is a politically and religiously neutral association of young men between the ages of 18 and 40. The idea and the form of organization of the Round Table have their origins in the tradition of English club life: locally independent "tables" bring together around 15 to 25 young men from different professions and areas of activity. In Germany there are 230 tables with 3610 members (as of May 2019). The association has 35,000 members in 60 countries worldwide.


Round Table was founded in Norwich in 1927 . The founder Louis Marchesi wanted to set up an association based on the example of similar clubs, but which should counterbalance one point that was important to him: the age of the members. Membership in other clubs is usually lifelong, which in connection with numerical admission restrictions usually leads to a high average age. In the case of Round Table, on the other hand, membership automatically expires at the age of 40. In this way, seats are regularly available for new, younger table members. At Round Table, this regulation has led to an average age of mid-30s and a high degree of homogeneity among the table members with regard to their personal life situation in work and family.

In some English-speaking countries, the age limit has been raised to 45 in order to take into account the comparatively higher age at entry today, due to longer training periods than decades ago. In the meantime, the decision has been made in most countries to reintroduce the old age limit of 40 years. In Germany and Austria the age limit is still 40, so a permanent flow of new ideas should be ensured.

Since the end of the Second World War, the Round Table has spread to most of Europe as well as to Africa, Asia and North America.


The first German club, RT 1, was founded in Hamburg in 1952 . This was followed by tables in Bremen and Düsseldorf . In May 2019, Round Table Germany counted 230 clubs in 16 districts.


The first club in Austria was founded in Vienna in 1956. By 2006 the number of tables had grown to 50 in the whole of Germany.

Other countries

In 2018 there were national round table organizations in 60 countries that joined together to form the umbrella organization "Round Table International". Round Table International has worked with other organizations with similar objectives as

united in the "World Council of Service Clubs (WOCO)", which meets once a year at a constantly changing location and has more than 100,000 members.

The idea

"Adopt, Adapt, Improve"

Round Table expects its members ("tabler") to be open-minded and interested in traditional and new ideas and developments according to the motto adapt, adapt, improve ("adopt, adapt, improve"). The motto comes from a speech given by the Prince of Wales Edward VIII , who in 1927 used these words to encourage young men to adopt proven solutions and to develop and improve them for the changed conditions of the present and the future.

In awareness of the key words "adopt, adapt, improve", Round Table Germany pursues the following goals:

  • Promotion and deepening of friendship among young people from different professional groups through the exchange of their professional experience and through common service to the general public.
  • Raising awareness that everyone has obligations to the community.
  • Promotion of high ideals in professional and social life.
  • Education and deepening of international understanding, friendship and cooperation.
  • Spread of the round table throughout Germany.

A significant part of club life is therefore dedicated to providing information about the causes and effects of current developments and the exchange of professional and life experiences among table members. In this way, the individual can get to know points of view and opinions from the point of view of others and expand his horizons beyond his own area of ​​experience. Dealing with different opinions and behaviors promotes a form of tolerance among the members of the Round Table , which develops similarities across differences and does not fill trenches, but builds bridges over them.

"Joie de vivre (n) de"

  • Tablers are friends of life. They like to live and are aware that many are not doing so well. They want to share their joie de vivre with those who have not been or are not so lucky.
  • Tablers are friends for life. They have friends all over the world, regardless of whether they have met before.

The motto “Meeting old friends for the very first time” applies to all tables.

Service thought

Members are still expected to be willing to get involved within their own table and beyond in the context of “service projects” for others. Behind this expectation is the conviction that the individual also has duties towards the community. Involvement in service projects does not require money, but personal commitment based on openness to the problems of others and the joy of working together. Round Table is therefore a service club , but not a charitable institution.

National service projects

Every year the club elects a “National Service Project (NSP).” For one year, the chosen project is supported by all 3,500 members of the service club. Many projects that are still successful today began as the national service project of the service club.


  • Round table fruit alarm
  • Round table KiTa sponsor
  • Round table banana flank league
  • Round table children and youth camp Kaub
  • Round Table ButterflyKIDS: Children with Epidermolysis Bullosa
  • Get out of the blind spot: Round table explains the blind spot to children
  • Round Table School of Hope: Round Table is building a school in Kenya
  • Round Table Children's Wish eV: Round Table fulfills heartfelt wishes for seriously ill children
  • KID: Round Table finances 6 outpatient children's hospices
  • HOPE: Round Table supports children with AIDS in South Africa
  • NCL Foundation: Round Table donates the foundation's initial capital
  • 11FSN: Round Table builds 11 schools in Nepal and enables children to go to school

Christmas parcel convoy

The Christmas parcel convoy is one of the longest and most successful service projects since 2001. Every year in November, Christmas presents are collected from children in Germany and brought to children in need in Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria and Ukraine by members of the Round Table, Old Tablers, Ladies' Circle and Tangent Club as well as other volunteers. In the past, patrons were u. a. Musician Peter Maffay and Federal Minister Hermann Gröhe . In 2017 over 130,000 parcels were transported and handed over personally.



Round table is organized on different levels:

  • local: tables on site
  • regional: districts (several tables form a district)
  • national: Round Table Germany (RTD)
  • international: Round Table International


Each level is headed by a Presidium, which is elected annually by the members.

  • president
  • Vice President
  • Past President: the President of the previous year
  • secretary
  • Treasurer
  • International Relations Officer (IRO)
  • Public Relations Officer (PRO)

The club life

The local tables meet every two weeks for a "table evening". This table evening often begins with a joint meal and is usually centered on a lecture from our own ranks or by guest speakers. In addition, the “three-minute lecture” by a table member is part of a current topic and the handling of internal table “regulations” is part of the normal course of the evening. Occasionally there is an “ego lecture” in which a new table member introduces himself or in which an older member informs the table about changes in his personal environment.

Club life is not limited to the individual table, but extends far beyond that. Round table members from different regions, countries and cultures get to know each other in the multitude of meetings and events at regional, national and international level. The unifying element is the joy of all "(round) tablers" in meeting other people and their common attitude across all differences and boundaries.

Once a year the German “Round Table” tables meet for an “AGM” (Annual General Meeting). In addition, neighboring clubs organize joint events, and individual tables host weekend events to which they invite all Round Table members nationwide.

Internationally, every German Round Table table has a partner club in each of the other European countries. The partner clubs meet once a year for the “Euromeeting” (also known as “number meeting”), for which a different table is the host each year. In addition, the Round Table organizations organize "mass tours" at regular intervals, round trips through their countries, to which they invite the Round Table members worldwide.

The social setting of these encounters and events and the natural participation of the partners leads to a multitude of contacts, connections and friendships that often extend well beyond the time of the round table membership.


In order to become a member of the Round Table and thus a so-called “tabler”, a member's recommendation is usually required. After the “fork test”, which is a joint dinner between some table members and the interested party, the “tablers” at the table are told about the course of the first meeting at the next table evening. If the majority of the table members have agreed, the so-called “aspirant phase” begins, in which the interested party (“aspirant”) is invited by the table president to the following table evenings.

As a rule, the “aspirant” will give an “ego lecture” on his third table evening in which he introduces himself to all table members in detail. This is followed by the vote of the table members on the admission of an "aspirant", who is only admitted if all table members present unanimously vote for it.

Old Tablers

Many of the outgoing members join the "Old Tablers". Since the Round Table has to be left at the age of 40, Old Tablers is also called "club41" in many countries. The oldest tables in Germany are in Berlin (OT 1), Konstanz (OT 2) and Wilhelmshaven (OT 3).

Round Table Foundation Germany

In 2006 Round Table set up its own foundation , which is registered as a foundation with legal capacity with the responsible foundation authority in Hamburg. As “Die Tablerstiftung”, the non-profit institution ensures the continuation of service projects in a professional framework and thus ensures a sustainable structure.

Ladies Circle

As the Round Table and Old Table are principally reserved for men, women have joined forces in the Round Table in the so-called Ladies' Circle .


  • Edwin A. Biedermann: Lodges, clubs and brotherhoods . Droste-Verlag, Düsseldorf 2004, ISBN 3-7700-1184-8
  • Sebastian Gradinger: Service Clubs - for the institutionalization of solidarity and social capital . VDM Verlag 2007, ISBN 3-8364-4651-0

Online literature

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Round Table Germany: Overview: National Service Projects. June 2, 2017, accessed January 31, 2018 .
  2. DAS NSP - Round Table makes fruit alarms. Retrieved February 7, 2019 .
  3. Round Table KiTa sponsor. Accessed January 31, 2018 .
  4. Round Table Banana Flank League. Accessed January 31, 2018 .
  5. Round Table Children and Youth Camp Kaub. Accessed January 31, 2018 .
  6. Round Table ButterflyKIDS
  7. Get out of the blind spot
  8. RT School of Hope ( Memento of the original from December 10, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  9. ^ Round Table Children's Wish eV
  10. KID ( Memento of the original from November 18, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. HOPE
  12. NCL Foundation
  13. 11FSN
  14. Press release 2017 on the Christmas parcel convoy . (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on January 31, 2018 ; accessed on January 31, 2018 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  15. "Old Tablers" .
  16. ^ Round Table Germany: Round Table Foundation. November 11, 2017, accessed January 31, 2018 .