Who is the most famous person from your town? This map will show you

One can argue for a long time about who is prominent and who is not. For example, is Dieter Bohlen more prominent than Johannes Gutenberg? A possible approximation to determine a person’s celebrity is the number of views of their Wikipedia article. Researchers at Science Po University in Paris have chosen this path.

In order to be able to examine awareness scientifically, they have created an extensive data set. It includes all people whose often multiple Wikipedia articles were noticeably noticed in the editions of different languages ​​in the years 2015 to 2018. “A cross-verified database of notable people 3500 BC-2018 AD” (in German: A Cross-Verified Database of Notable Persons, 3500 B.C. – 2018 AD) is the name of the study by the authors Morgane Laouenan, Palaash Bhargava, Jean-Benoît Eyméoud, Olivier Gergaud, Guillaume Plique and Etienne Wasmer. The database includes information from 2.3 million people worldwide.

How to find out who is the most famous person in your area

From this, the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND) took the data of the 211,352 celebrities born in Germany and identified the most well-known person for each postcode area.

In the search above the map below, enter a name, city, zip code, or state to see which well-known person is from that area.

The attention paid to a Wikipedia entry says nothing about whether a person has worked for the benefit of society. Serial killers and warlords get just as much attention on the online encyclopedia as artists, researchers and explorers. What the clicks show is just the interest a person arouses.

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For example, if you search for Bavaria, you will see that a war criminal, Josef Mengele, was born there, whose Wikipedia biography is viewed more than 17 million times a year. Hesse’s greatest fame, on the other hand, is Anne Frank. Your listing gets more than 25 million clicks each year.

Einstein, Marx and Beethoven in front

By far the best-known person born in Germany today is the physicist Albert Einstein. His Wikipedia article is read more than 73 million times each year. In second place is the mastermind of communism, Karl Marx (35 million views), ahead of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven (32 million views).

The first surviving person in the list is German-Irish actor Michael Fassbender in fourth place. The first woman is former Chancellor Angela Merkel in sixth place.

Enter a person in the header of the name column to see how prominent a person is, where they were born, and what category they fall into. You can also narrow down the selection in the table by entering a category, for example.

The field of science includes all researchers such as historians and physicists, as well as discoverers and inventors. It is striking that most of the leading researchers from Germany have already passed away. The first living scientist in the list is the 95-year-old philosopher Jürgen Habermas in 150th place overall.

For example, the Culture category includes actresses, writers, painters and musicians, as well as architects, designers and journalists.

The leadership group is made up of politicians, activists, soldiers, diplomats, religious leaders and business leaders.

Athletes are known during their lifetime

The sport category includes all athletes. Unlike in science, in this area almost all of the top 1000 are still alive. An exception is the boxer Max Schmeling, heavyweight world champion from 1930 to 1932.

Especially in sport, but also in other respects: Achievements from a long time ago fade in memory compared to the successes of the present. Hardly any people from the Middle Ages are still prominent today. Only a few achieve more than a million views on Wikipedia, including the poet, mystic and composer Hildegard von Bingen and the inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg, and church reformer Martin Luther.

This is not only the case in Germany. The study authors calculated that only one in 250,000 people from antiquity made it into the global data set. In contrast, one in 3,000 people from the population of 1950 is represented in it.

The German selection is also dominated by representatives of the 20th century. Most celebrities were born in 1964, the year with the most births in this country. In the 1990s, the curve dropped sharply. Many of today’s under 30-year-olds still have to build up their reputation.

In recent decades, the categories of culture and sport have also steadily gained in importance. The proportion of celebrities from science and leadership has declined accordingly, with the military and churches in particular producing less and less well-known personalities.

With this shift between categories came an increasing proportion of women. They are more common in the emerging sectors than in the declining ones. Half of the comparatively few celebrities born after the year 2000 are women.

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In the worldwide evaluation, Beyoncé, Hillary Clinton, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Rihanna, JK Rowling, Britney Spears and Meryl Streep are among the women at the top. Going back in history, the following women stand out: Cleopatra (circa 500 BC), Joan of Arc (501-1500), Elizabeth I of England (1501-1750), Jane Austen (1751-1900), Anne Frank (1901-1979) and Margaret Thatcher (1980-2019).

The most famous living men are therefore Woody Allen, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Bob Dylan, Eminem, Paul McCartney, Lionel Messi, Barack Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump. Apostles Paul (around 65 AD), Chinggis Khan (1162-1227), Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1759), Karl Marx (1818-1883), Elvis Presley (1935-1977) and Muhammad Ali (1942-2016).

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