【DE】CMT holiday fair: from military grounds to flourishing landscape

Interview with Michael Schnellbach, Managing Director of BUGA 2023 in Mannheim / Bundesgartenschau is cultural partner of the CMT holiday fair


Climate, energy, food security and the environment are the big topics of the Federal Garden Show (BUGA) in Mannheim 2023, the cultural partner of the Stuttgart holiday fair CMT next year. The BUGA itself wants to operate sustainably. Michael Schnellbach, Managing Director of BUGA 2023, explains how this works and what guests experience on the former military site.



CMT 2023_BUGA_Visualization Panoramasteg_©RMP.jpg.png: BUGA 2023 Mannheim: Visualization of the planned panoramic walkway on the exhibition grounds | Photo credit: Landesmesse Stuttgart GmbH



Mr. Schnellbach, why did you just choose the CMT holiday fair as your partner, what benefit do you expect from this partnership?

Schnellbach: CMT is the world’s largest public fair for tourism. Our goal is to attract as many visitors as possible to the Federal Garden Show 2023 in Mannheim. A format like the CMT is well suited for this. The fair offers the right setting to promote a truly extraordinary garden show that will sustainably shape Mannheim.


What can CMT visitors expect at the BUGA performance in Stuttgart?

Schnellbach: The BUGA will be a flower show, summer party and experimental field in one. We want to make this tangible for visitors at CMT and focus on our key topics of climate, environment, energy and food security. It is not for nothing that Mannheim has been declared an insider tip for 2023 by the travel magazine Marco-Polo due to the BUGA. We will show that the BUGA and the square city of Mannheim are worth a visit.


What is the special charm of your Federal Garden Show?

Schnellbach: On the one hand, we have the historic Luisenpark, which was already the scene of the Federal Garden Show in 1975, with its curved paths and flowering areas. And on the other hand, Spinelli Park, a formerly rough, large military site that we have completely converted. These two different parks, which are connected by a cable car but play an exhibition together, are the unique thing at BUGA Mannheim.


It will revolve around the topics of climate, energy, food security and the environment. What does that mean exactly?

Schnellbach: The former site of the US Army will become part of a continuous green train through the reconstruction. In the future, cold air can arise here, which has a positive effect on the climate in the city. The topic of energy can be seen, among other things, at the U-Halle, a former warehouse where many events take place. There we will have the largest energy roof in Mannheim with a 6800 square meter photovoltaic system.


Mannheim also wants to organize the most sustainable federal garden show of all time. How does it work?

Schnellbach: There is not one decisive measure or a large wind turbine, but many small building blocks. One of them is our plants, which are more sustainable and require less water and care. We also constantly measure our water and electricity consumption and publish the data.


Today, a federal garden show seems to be less of a garden culture event, but an urban development project. Is it therefore less attractive to visitors?

Schnellbach: No, garden shows have always been used for urban development, reconstruction or open space development. However, this is only a fraction of what guests experience on site. You will see flowers and enjoy a great cultural and culinary offer. I don’t think they will be disappointed. On the contrary: We are planning over 5000 events, one of the highlights being the musical about the Mannheim soul singer Joy Fleming, which was written especially for the Federal Garden Show and celebrates its premiere here.


What are you particularly looking forward to?

Schnellbach: When everything is ready, to look at the site and the green train we created with the closest employees one hour before the opening. I hope we find the time to do so!


The site is a total of 104 hectares in size, i.e. about three times the size of the Federal Garden Show Grounds 2019 in Heilbronn. Can such a large area be interesting everywhere?

Schnellbach: This is indeed difficult. That is why we have created two areas. On the one hand, we lead people past the novelties and the important points, i.e. everything you should have seen if you have a day ticket. In the other hand, we are dedicated to species and nature conservation with bee and lizard habitats and much more. If you have more time, you can experience everything that is created for ecology.


Would the reassignment of the military site also have been possible without the garden show?

Schnellbach: Never. Unfortunately, you will not yet find anyone who invests in green. We built and recompressed apartments on the edges of the area and created a large connecting green corridor of over 60 hectares in between. Without the funding of the state and federal government, the city of Mannheim could never have done this in the dimension.


What will be remembered by the Mannheim Federal Garden Show?

Schnellbach: The topic of how we will live in the cities in the future. We show it in the exhibition contributions, but it can also be seen in the urban development, which borders the site. In addition, visitors will remember the cable car: An eight-minute drive over the city, a landscape conservation area, an industrial area, a sports park and the Neckar – these are pictures that will remain in your head.


The Federal Garden Show BUGA 2023 Mannheim

The Federal Garden Show 2023 includes two parks connected by a cable car. Once the Luisenpark, which was already the scene of a federal garden show in 1975 and in which new experience spaces are created. On the other hand, Spinelli Park, which is being built on a former US military site of around 80 hectares. The area is located about five kilometers east of Mannheim city center. Around 60 hectares are used there for the Federal Garden Show. A new city quarter with 2000 apartments for 5000 people is being developed on the former military site. 150 million euros will be invested for the project, with the Bundesgartenschaugesellschaft expecting a total funding of around 80 million euros.


The Federal Garden Show is from the 14th. April to 8. Open October 2023. The season ticket costs 145 euros, in advance sale 130 euros, a day ticket for adults 28 euros. Further information at buga23.de


Source reference: Tourismus Aktuell; the questions were asked by Claudia List and Axel Recht

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