For decades, Cologne has been one of the most important and largest exhibition centres in Germany. On average, more than 80 trade fairs take place in Cologne every year. In the course of this, the fairs are aimed at a wide variety of sectors and industries: from technology fairs and leisure fairs to book fairs, Cologne covers the broad spectrum.
The origin of the trade fair in Cologne
As early as 1920 Konrad Adenauer, then Mayor of Cologne, took the initiative to transform Cologne into a trade fair city. In 1922, Konrad Adenauer founded a trade fair company with the motives of improving the economic situation by exporting to Cologne, strengthening the cohesion in the rest of the Rhineland and optimising Cologne as a location. With the help of this company, the first trade fair in Cologne Deutz was opened in 1924 with a great celebration.
Today, Cologne has the fifth largest exhibition centre in the world, after Hanover and Frankfurt am Main, consisting of a total of 11 connected halls and an outdoor area, which together form a building complex of 284,000m². Every year, the various trade fairs in Cologne are visited by around 2.7 million people.
The main actor is Koelnmesse. This is a trade fair company that arranges services for its major customers. Its tasks include consulting, concept development, technical equipment and much more. In the meantime, several subsidiaries (KoelnKongress GmbH, Koelnmesse Ausstellungen GmbH) have already been founded to support Koelnmesse in their implementation. In 2017, Koelnmesse celebrated record sales of over 350 million euros. Further plans of the company include the expansion of its activities. Last year, Koelnmesse organised events in the USA, Brazil, China and many other countries.
The trade fair is a great benefit for Cologne because many people travel to the city to visit the trade fair of their choice. This benefits the catering industry, the food industry and, of course, the city of Cologne and North Rhine-Westphalia as a whole.