【DE】Karlsruhe is in the spotlight of the Christian world


  1. General Assembly of the World Council of Churches impressively demonstrates the performance of Karlsruhe as a congress location


Four years after the decision of the highest body of the World Council of Churches (WCC) for Karlsruhe as the venue for the next general assembly, the time has come: Around 4,000 Christians from all over the world will come from the 31st. August to 8. September 2022 to 11. General Assembly of the WCC in Karlsruhe. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Baden-Württemberg Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann visited the WCC General Assembly at the start.


The inner-city congress center, which is located on the fairground and four halls or Houses, transforms into a place of pilgrimage and creates space for encounters and joint prayers. With around 45,000 square meters of inner-city event space in tents, halls, outdoors and under a huge Magic Sky, the General Assembly is a lighthouse project for Messe Karlsruhe. The team of the fair successfully accompanied the organizers from conception to implementation on site.


The WCC General Assembly is a very special event format, which has not yet taken place in our congress center. The fairground is the heart of the event. The open tent of the Magic Sky is framed by the halls of the congress center and complemented with pavilions and temporary superstructures. For example, around 25,000 square meters of built-up space are available to the organizer in the immediate vicinity of the citizens, says Holger Klanfer, Director Congress & Cultural Events.


“We are proud to be an essential part of this unique event. Thanks to the excellent cooperation of all actors involved – the WCC in Geneva, the local coordination office in Karlsruhe and all municipal partners – we were able to design a unique event concept,” adds trade fair managing director Britta Wirtz.


Council of the Upper Church Dr. Marc Witzenbacher, head of the local coordination office of the 11th WCC General Assembly, on cooperation with Messe Karlsruhe: “The General Assembly offers space for exchange and encounters. This is ensured on the one hand by the “well” concept, to which everyone interested has access, and on the other hand by the meeting places in the city. I think it is important that the WCC also goes to the city and shows presence. The church should not hide behind walls or fences, but talk to all people. The team of Messe Karlsruhe has stood by us excellently from conception to implementation in order to create such meeting spaces.”


Congress center presents itself in an unusual guise


The General Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the WCC and usually meets every eight years. It is the only opportunity where the community of 352 member churches worldwide comes together in one place to pray, advise and celebrate together.


The focus is on the WCC General Assembly in the inner-city Karlsruhe Congress Center. There, the garden hall, the Schwarzwaldhalle, the concert hall and the Nancyhalle are used for lecture rooms, plennas and offices. On the fairground, a flexible umbrella system, the so-called Magic Sky, creates a unique atmosphere. With its 22 meters height and 42 meters diameter, it is used for morning services, confessional evening prayers and concerts. The Magic Sky covers an area of around 4,000 square meters and can accommodate around 2,800 guests. With its cantilevered roof surface, which is made of translucent material to seep more light through, it meets all requirements regarding the visibility of all participants on the 144 sqm stage and two huge video walls. 230 headlights, four cameras and 50 speakers complement the technical equipment of the stage.


A networking tent, two catering tents, a two-storey pavilion and 90 pagoda tents were set up next to the Magic Sky in a three-week construction period. 1,200 running meters of construction fence fence the event site and over the entire event period, more than 100,000 meals are spent on participants on a total of 4,000 square meters of catering space. Significant environmental aspects were taken into account when hosting the General Assembly. This enabled certification by the environmental management system EMAS.


Competent advice from conception to implementation


The Messe Karlsruhe team has provided comprehensive services that go far beyond location rental. Since 2018, they have been in coordination with the organizer and the municipal partners and accompany the project. From trade fair construction and catering to rental furniture and tent construction, event and streaming technology to cleaning, mobile toilet facilities, security service providers and interpreters – numerous service providers help to give the event the ideal setting.


The service provider that designed the Magic Sky is the company of the same name from Walzbachtal in Kraichgau. Most recently, the huge umbrella was used for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, where it formed the roof for the basketball field. Thorsten Hagedorn, Managing Director at Magic Sky, describes his cooperation at the WCC as follows: “We provide the temporary buildings, but also do the associated event technology. Of course, there are many expectations of customers and service providers here that we have to bring together and this is a big challenge for our team. But we are motivated and well structured, so that we can implement a successful event together.”


More information about Messe Karlsruhe as host: https://www.messe-karlsruhe.de/de/messe-karlsruhe/geschaeftsfelder/wir-als-gastgeber/

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