On July 11, 1240, Emperor Frederick II granted the city of Frankfurt the privilege to hold trade fairs, thus laying the foundation for a lively trade fair scene in the city. This day also marked the birth of Messe Frankfurt.
The first autumn and spring fairs were followed by many other events over the years. Today, Messe Frankfurt is no longer the medieval marketplace of yesteryear, but one of the most important hubs of international trade - not least because of its favorable geographical location.
To the exhibition hall
Trade fairs such as Prolight + Sound, the Musikmesse, the Frankfurt Book Fair, Heimtextil or Automechanika have a long tradition at the location. Other major events, concerts and shows are also held in the exhibition halls. Due to Corona, Frankfurt University even outsourced its examinations to Hall 11 this spring.
In any case, 2020 was a defining year for Messe Frankfurt. Due to the corona pandemic, many trade fairs and events had to be cancelled or postponed - including Prolight. But those responsible for trade fairs have their sights firmly set on the future. "We are very pleased that personal encounters on our platforms will once again be possible step by step," said Wolfang Marzin, Chairman of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt on the occasion of the trade fair anniversary.
Mayor and Chairman of the Supervisory Board Peter Feldmann also emphasised the importance of Messe Frankfurt once again on the occasion of the anniversary: "The fair is a driving force for the development of our city. Nowhere else are trade fair and city history so closely linked as in Frankfurt".
Wars, plague, destruction and corona: the eventful history of Messe Frankfurt
In the past, Messe Frankfurt has repeatedly been confronted with crisis situations. In 1635, for example, the spring fair at that time had to be cancelled because the effects of the Thirty Years' War in conjunction with the outbreak of the plague had severely affected Frankfurt. During the Second World War, around 95 percent of the exhibition grounds were destroyed and had to be rebuilt from scratch. The global spread of the corona virus is now presenting Messe Frankfurt with new challenges.
"The trade fair landscape will change as a result of the corona crisis," says Marzin. "Topics such as digitalisation and security will play a central role. However, the greatest success factor in the trade fair sector remains personal contact, for which we have been creating a framework with Messe Frankfurt's platforms for 780 years. After all, the need for personal contacts is even stronger in the current climate than ever before".
Picture: Autumn fair in Frankfurt in 1949 / Messe Frankfurt GmbH