As a trade fair organiser, Koelnmesse GmbH is known for its innovative and internationally renowned trade fairs in Germany. What makes them different? The high-level expertise, dedicated commitment and total customer focus of everyone who works here. As a renowned and experienced trade fair organiser, Koelnmesse’s continued success and progress is based on their combined efforts.
Koelnmesse in numbers
The inspiring quality can be experienced at all of our trade fairs and is also backed up by figures. Check out the measurable and impressive facts and figures that so clearly illustrate Koelnmesse GmbH’s expertise.
- 3 trade fair venue in Germany and into the Top Ten worldwide
- About 80 trade fairs, exhibitions, guest events, and special events every year in Cologne and in the key markets all over the world
- 11 trade fair halls
- Almost 400,000 m² exhibition space and outdoor area
- 17,500 parking spaces
- 2,000 conferences per year
- Conference capacity for up to 19,500 participants
- Around 54,500 exhibiting companies from 122 countries
- Around 3 million visitors from 224 countries
- Around 220,000 accredited journalists
- More than 1 billion advertising and press contacts
- Foreign representatives in more than 100 countries
- More than 175 partner hotels
- Around 94,000 hotel beds (in the Cologne region)
History of Koelnmesse – a tradition of successful trade fairs
Konrad Adenauer dreamed of creating a global trading centre for the regional economy on Cologne soil: the 1924 Cologne Spring Fair laid the foundations for successful trade fairs in Germany. Nine decades later, after the German Economic Miracle and globalisation, with dedicated employees and top, innovative, international trade fairs in Cologne, Adenauer’s vision has become a reality with Koelnmesse GmbH.
90 years of Koelnmesse
1st decade: 1924 to 1933 — The early years
On the initiative of Cologne’s Mayor Konrad Adenauer, the trade fair company and the exhibition grounds in Deutz were established in the 1920s. The first event was opened in 1924. This was the spring trade fair, which featured hardware, textiles, and furniture. In response to the great demand for exhibition space, the exhibition grounds were expanded starting in 1926. The Rhineside Halls, the Staatenhaus, and the Messeturm were built by 1928. Thanks to the international press exhibition Pressa in 1928, the new trade fair location became known all over the world.
2nd decade: 1934 to 1943 — National Socialism and war
After seizing power in Germany in 1933, National Socialists took over leading positions in the trade fair company and brought Cologne’s trade fairs in line with their ideology. Propaganda events such as “The Brown Trade Fair – The German Week” and “The Eternal People – A Reich Exhibition” were held in the Rhineside Halls. During World War II the exhibition grounds were misused as a camp for Jews, Sinti, Roma, prisoners of war, and other groups who were persecuted by National Socialism. At times it was used as a satellite concentration camp.
3rd decade: 1944 to 1953 – Reconstruction
The war was followed by a period of rapid reconstruction. The first postwar exhibitions and trade fairs were held as early as 1947. A total of 52,000 m² of hall area had been rebuilt by 1950. Koelnmesse’s administrators recognized early on the trend toward specialization in the trade fair industry, and they proceeded to focus on specialized trade fairs such as photokina, Anuga, the Cologne furniture fair, and the specialized office show for Western Germany (the predecessor of ORGATEC). The company’s first subsidiary abroad was opened in London in 1950.
4th decade: 1954 to 1963 – The “economic miracle”
Many events at Koelnmesse developed into the leading trade fairs for their respective sectors. The trade fair company continued to expand, and a total of 100,000 m² of hall area was available by 1961. The Men’s Fashion Week and the “Baby” trade fair (the predecessor of Kind + Jugend) celebrated their premieres during this decade. The household and hardware fair established itself as a leading meeting point for its sector.
5th decade: 1964 to 1973 – Expansion
In order to finance the modernization and expansion of its exhibition grounds, Koelnmesse was converted from an operating company to a holding company. Since then it has financed all of its construction and modernization measures itself. In the years until 1971, the exhibition space was expanded to approximately 160,000 m². The trend toward specialized trade fairs continued. ISM – The International Sweets and Biscuits Fair – was held for the first time in 1971.
6th decade: 1974 to 1983 – Internationalization
As a recognized organizer of specialized trade fairs with a global impact, Koelnmesse opened the International Service Center in 1981. Since then it has organized trade fair participation all over the world. The exhibition grounds in Deutz were also further expanded by the addition of the Congress Center East. In 1983 a total of 230,000 m² of hall area was available. Starting in 1974, the International Art Market was held in the Cologne trade fair halls; over the years this event evolved into ART COLOGNE.
7th decade: 1984 to 1993 – Leading trade fairs and congresses
During the 1980s, Koelnmesse’s leading global trade fairs ensured the company a leading role on the world stage, in spite of fierce international competition. The congress business became increasingly important. The city of Cologne and Koelnmesse therefore decided in 1993 to establish the joint operating company KölnKongress. Since 1994 this company has been marketing the congress business of Koelnmesse and the city’s banqueting hall, the Gürzenich. Since 1992 Cologne has been the stage of yet another leading global trade fair – the International Dental Show.
8th decade: 1994-2003 Globalization of world markets
Globalization of world markets is also affecting the trade fair business. Since 1994 this company has been marketing the congress business of Koelnmesse and the city’s banqueting hall, the Gürzenich.
9th decade: 2004 to 2013 – The new Koelnmesse
By 2006 Koelnmesse had built four new trade fair halls, the Congress Center North, the Entrance North, and the Boulevard. The exhibition grounds grew to encompass a total of 284,000 m² of hall area and 100,000 m² of outdoor area. As a result, Koelnmesse has the fifth-largest exhibition grounds in the world. The German Pavilion at EXPO in Shanghai in 2010 received a number of awards. The digital world has entered Cologne’s trade fair portfolio through the gamescom and dmexco trade fairs and is strengthening the outstanding position of Cologne as a media center in Germany. The exhibition grounds in Deutz are increasingly becoming a magnet for new trade fairs organized by outside companies, which are bringing new target groups and attractive sectors to Cologne.
Sectors and Global Competences
Every year, Koelnmesse organises and conducts around 80 trade fairs, exhibitions, guest events, and special events in Cologne and in the world‘s most important markets. Their trade fairs and other events provide crucial momentum in the following sectors:
- Food and Foodtechnology
- Furniture, Interiors and Design
- Digital Media and Entertainment
- Art, Culture and Education
- Leisure time and Family
- Tools and Technology
With its Global Competence
Food and Foodtechnology
Furniture, Interiors and Design
Digital Media and Entertainment
Art, Culture and Education
Leisure time and Family
Tools and Technology
Trade fair reconsidered
Their actions are aimed at making ecological and social goals clear, but also taking economic aspects into account. They are building the trade fair of the future, improving processes and services, and thus developing new potential. The objective is clear.
The Koelnmesse 3.0 project – Koelnmesse is building for the future. Backgrounds, building projects and what’s yet to come. Construction is under way here. Modernisation. Investment. “Koelnmesse 3.0” is the most comprehensive future project of all time for the trade fair grounds in Cologne. Around 700 million euro will be invested in the quality of stay and events by 2030, whether in existing structures or in new halls with new possibilities.
The aim of the Koelnmesse 3.0 project is to create a Koelnmesse that perfectly meets the new requirements of organisers, exhibitors and visitors, while also ensuring the success of trade fairs in the future. Visits to events will be more convenient and the experience much more intense. The trade fair environment is becoming more attractive and the burden on the environment and energy consumption have already been greatly reduced.
This modernization of the exhibition grounds, improvement of the traffic routes, new entrances and buildings are the prerequisites for Koelnmesse’s success as an economic engine despite new hybrid formats. The first steps have been taken and the results show it’s working!
The closely coordinated sequence of construction measures and trade fair times enables Koelnmesse to modernize the exhibition centre without interrupting operations.
The new Hall 1 offers new features, which further increase the quality of the events and the efficiency of the exhibition grounds. It is ideal for trade fairs, exhibitions, special shows and conventions with up to 4,000 participants. Its flexibility makes several events possible at the same time and the variable connection with other exhibition halls opens up a whole new spectrum of events and formats for Koelnmesse.
Confex®: A mix of conference and exhibition centre
The vision consisted of realising entirely new event formats. Fusing conferences and exhibitions along with the desire to stage topics with a more intensive variety of experiences as well as the possible hybrid trade fairs with digital recordingare becoming reality at Confex®. This will increase Koelnmesse’s convention capacity by a further 5,500 participants. Flexible use of the conference rooms different in size and the combination with the new Hall 1 provide it with answers to requests for direct combinations of trade fairs, conventions and events and thus space for new trade fair formats. The central city location and functionality of the ensemble consisting of Confex® and Hall 1 will distinguish Cologne and only be feasible in this form with Koelnmesse.
The foundation stone for the new Confex® was laid in August 2021, with completion scheduled for mid-2024.
The new Terminal
As the new centre of the southern part of the exhibition grounds, the new Terminal will connect the various entrances and halls with one another and at the same time enable the different areas of the exhibition centre to be flexibly used. It will simplify and clarify the centre’s structure, abolishing the need for detours. Shops and catering outlets will make the Terminal an attractive place for people to spend their time. A glazed roof will let light shine into the building unhindered.
Car Park Zoobrücke
Traffic relief, better trade fair logistics and one of the architecturally most beautiful multi-storey car parks in Germany
The traffic situation is significantly more relaxed even at major events due to the direct
connection of the new multi-storey car park to the Zoobrücke bridge and time-saving entry and exit possibilities. However, the car park with over 3,250 parking spaces is far more than the five parking levels initially suggest: The ground floor provides extensive logistics space for the traffic required for assembly and disassembly. In the future, the digital traffic management system will allocate registered truck slots outside and inside the exhibition grounds and route them to the exhibition hall just in time. Without waiting times and backlogs.
The new Koelnmesse is taking shape
The architectural competition for the new buildings on the exhibition grounds was decided after about ten months on 21.03.2016. After a three-stage competition, the jury voted for the design by JSWD Architekten and selected the Cologne-based architectural office as the winner of the procedure.
At the penultimate meeting on 22 December 2015, the eleven-member jury, consisting of representatives of the City of Cologne, Koelnmesse GmbH and independent experts, selected two designs by JSWD Architekten and Düsseldorf-based ingenhoven architects for the final round, which were then further developed leading up to the decisive meeting in March 2016.
For the participating architectural offices, the task was to integrate complex usage requirements into the new buildings of Hall 1, Confex® and Congress Centre East as well as to take into account facets of sustainable construction. After all, sustainable is the new standard at Koelnmesse. Buildings like Confex® were planned in such a way that they were already awarded the highest category (platinum) by of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB).
Digitalization is one of the most important trends of their time and it also has wide reaching implications for the trade fair industry. With their digital transformation, they are laying the groundwork for Koelnmesse’s digital future. They are seizing the opportunities presented by digitalisation to take what trade fairs are all about into the digital age. For this, they are approaching Koelnmesse’s digital future from various angles: they are developing digital services aimed at boosting their customers’ trade fair success and bringing together people on both the supply and demand sides.
They are investing in digital technology and the digital infrastructure at their premises to provide their customers with the digital opportunities that you need to best present yourself and your industry. They are digitalising processes to further improve the customer experience and have more time for what we are all about – organising trade fairs. In short, they are establishing the conditions needed to bring industries, people and markets together now and in the future – online and offline.
… for Koelnmesse means acting in the spirit of sustainability for its employees, the Cologne site, its trade fairs and its exhibition grounds.
Highly motivated, healthy and well-trained employees are the basis of corporate success. Koelnmesse is involved in a number of processes to ensure the careful handling of resources and the protection of the environment and is expanding measures it has already established. These improve both the energy balance of the individual events and of the administration building.
- Koelnmesse’s contribution to air pollution control
- Increasing energy efficiency
- Resource management
Marketing the city
As a key factor in the regional economy, Koelnmesse promotes Cologne as a business location.
Sustainability at Cologne trade fairs
Sustainability is an important issue in all sectors, and that can also be seen at Koelnmesse events.
No Copy! – Originals only!
Koelnmesse is combating product piracy at its trade fairs through its “No copy! – Originals only!” campaign.
The anticorruption guideline ensures the legally and ethically correct handling of favours in daily business operations.
Targeted security measures at fairs and events of the Koelnmesse.
Halls and trade fair grounds
Hall and site plan
An area of 284,000 m² in 11 connected trade fair halls plus 100,000 m² of adjacent outdoor area offer sufficient space for flexible utilization — even for the biggest ideas.
Take advantage of the many modern halls at the Cologne exhibition centre and secure the perfect venue. The first-rate facilities offer the right platform for any occasion – for events that are sure to linger long in the memory!
Koelnmesse, through its subsidiary company Koelnmesse Ausstellungen, provides event organisers with a variety of exceptional event locations in addition to its halls for trade fair organisers. Their subsidiary company KölnKongress also has further attractive event locations which cater for up to 12,500 people.
Congresses and events
No run-of-the-mill solutions: Koelnmesse GmbH is your competent event partner for creative convention and event concepts that are tailored precisely to your needs as an organiser. Perhaps you would like to rent a hall at the Cologne exhibition centre in order to hold a trade fair or use Koelnmesse as an event venue? Their team will work with you to put together a plan that covers your specific needs and leaves no detail to chance and will then manage all relevant services for you.