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An exciting start

The year was 1947. In postwar Germany’s ravaged economy, food supplies were scarce and industry was weaker than ever. Reconstruction? Impossible without international support. As far as the British occupying forces were concerned, it was necessary to find a symbol that presented the passion and the economic potential of German workers and entrepreneurs to the rest of the world.

The company known as "Deutsche Messe- und Ausstellungs-AG" was born – and with it, the "Hannover Export Fair 1947".

Driving the economic miracle

The plan worked: approximately 736,000 visitors from 53 countries from around the world flocked to Hannover for the 21 days of the fair. Export contracts were signed and sealed to the tune of close to US$ 32 million.

Over the years, the event actually did become symbolic of the German economic miracle. As early as 1950, foreign exhibitors also took part in the event now known as "Deutsche-Industrie-Messe". In 1961, the name was changed again: "Hannover-Messe" makes it immediately clear how proud the city was of the role it played in the postwar industrial upturn – a pride which remains intact to this day.


Find out how the HANNOVER MESSE became the the world’s most important industrial tradeshow and largest capital goods exhibition by means of exciting stations in our history.


Foreign exhibitors take part in export fair

Despite Germany’s political isolation in 1950, the export fair is successful in attracting exhibitors from 10 different nations. Even before Germany’s diplomats are able to restore relations abroad, trade fair representatives have already established links to foreign partners, even setting up the first telephone line between the fairgrounds and New York.


Connecting with the world

The opening of Hannover Airport makes life much easier, allowing Hannover and the trade fair authority to hook up with the rest of the world. Guests who are really in a hurry can even take a helicopter or small plane from the airport to the fairgrounds.


World’s biggest fairgrounds restaurant

The Munich Hall is not only the world’s biggest fairgrounds restaurant, but undoubtedly also the most distinctive one. Here, tradeshow visitors can enjoy an authentic Bavarian-style atmosphere. The hall was dismantled at the World Exposition in Brussels in 1958 and reassembled at the Hannover exhibition center, with space for up to 3,200 guests.


Over one million visitors annually

By the beginning of the Sixties, Hannover is drawing more than one million guests annually. Since local hotels are completely booked, local residents decide to open their homes to visiting businessmen, providing them with a place to sleep and a seat at the kitchen table.


New exhibition hall breaks all records

The rapidly growing office and information technology trade fair known as "CeBIT" – at this point still part of HANNOVER MESSE – gets its own dedicated hall. The new Hall 1 measures 70,300 square meters of floor space (over 750,000 sq. feet – the size of about 10 soccer fields) – breaking all previous records for size and eventually being taken into the Guinness Book of Records as the world's biggest exhibition hall.


LIGNA goes independent

Like many other trade fairs, LIGNA was originally part of HANNOVER MESSE. By the midSeventies, manufacturers of woodworking machinery and forestry technology began to take up so much space that an independent trade fair became necessary. The split-off was successful and, to this day, LIGNA remains the flagship fair for woodworking and wood processing machinery.


Brazil becomes first official "Partner Country"

As an event where international business leads are generated, HANNOVER MESSE continues to receive more and more guests from abroad, and so the decision is made to feature the products and economy of a selected country every year. In 1980 Brazil becomes the first Partner Country at HANNOVER MESSE. Since that time, nations from Europe and farther afield have taken advantage of the opportunity to deepen their trade relations with other countries.



The foreign business activities of Deutsche Messe continue to grow. By 1985 it has organized German pavilions at trade fairs in Paris, New York and Melbourne, so the company decides to funnel these activities into a subsidiary, HANNOVER MESSE INTERNATIONAL, which was later renamed Hannover Fairs International. In 1987 the company stages its first independent event in Istanbul: AEF, the predecessor to today’s WIN EURASIA.


Birthplace of European monetary union

In 1988 the heads of government of EEC member nations gathered in Hannover at the exhibition center. Under German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the course was set for the free single market within the EEC and the subsequent monetary union. This was a summit meeting of a type that, for Hannover, remains unique to this day.


EXPO 2000 World Exposition

During the run-up to the EXPO 2000 World Exposition in Hannover, Deutsche Messe invests heavily in infrastructure. Spending more than 1.6 billion euros, the company and public authorities modernize and expand the exhibition grounds and local mass transit. The wooden Expo Canopy is also erected. Hannover acquires the world’s biggest and most modern exhibition center.


Expansion to China

Together with the trade fair authorities in Düsseldorf and Munich, Deutsche Messe opens the Shanghai New International Expo Center (SNIEC), which develops into China’s leading trade fair location within just a few years.


Key political figures appear at Hannover

Along with Russian President Putin, many other world leaders from the world’s leading economics take advantage of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s invitation to appear at HANNOVER MESSE.


Teaming up to conquer the world’s growth markets

To accelerate its own growth in key international markets, Deutsche Messe teams up in a joint venture with Europe’s other leading exhibition company, Fiera Milano. Both companies aim to grow faster in the growth markets of Russia, China and India by benefiting from each other’s market position and expertise.


Deutsche Messe displays organizational talent

In March Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano experiences several eruptions, covering Europe’s skies with a cloud of ashes. Flights over northern and central Europe are suspended to a large extent for several days. Deutsche Messe demonstrates its organizational talent, personally bringing its customers to Hannover in chartered buses.


Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things

Deutsche Messe becomes the first exhibition company to take up the mega-trends of digitalization into its product portfolio by focusing on the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0.


Entry into Indonesian market

Deutsche Messe enters the Indonesian market by taking over operation of the Indonesia Convention Exhibition (ICE) in Jakarta. With 247 million inhabitants, Indonesia represents Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and, after the BRIC nations, one of the world’s most important growth markets.


U.S. President Obama comes to HANNOVER MESSE

American President Barack Obama opens HANNOVER MESSE 2016 jointly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The United States is the official Partner Country at the world’s biggest industrial exhibition.


Merger of the annual Industrial Automation (IA) with the biennial Motion, Drive & Automation (MDA) - both flagship shows within HANNOVER MESSE. IA and MDA cover the entire spectrum of industrial automation, drive and fluid technology at HANNOVER MESSE.

For the first time, CeMAT, the world's most important intralogistics trade fair, will be held in parallel with HANNOVER MESSE.


With around 215,000 visitors from all over the world and 6,500 exhibitors, HANNOVER MESSE is booming. The partner country is Sweden. The topics of 5G and artificial intelligence are new.

Under the project name "Smart Venue," the Hannover exhibition center is being upgraded to become the world's first 5G exhibition center.


Due to the global Corona pandemic, HANNOVER MESSE has to be cancelled for the first time in its history. Instead, Deutsche Messe organizes the HANNOVER MESSE Digital Days on 14 and 15 July 2020 with around 200 speakers, 100 partner companies and more than 10,000 registered participants.


Deutsche Messe will organize HANNOVER MESSE as a purely digital event from 12 to 16 April 2021. German Chancellor Angela Merkel opens the show together with Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia. 90,000 registered participants find out about the 10,500 products and innovations from the 1,800 exhibitors.


HANNOVER MESSE will again be organized as a physical trade show. Due to the pandemic, it is postponed and held over four days from May 30 to June 2. The relaunch is a success with 2,500 exhibitors and 75,000 visitors. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz opens the fair for the first time.


HANNOVER MESSE 2023 moves back to April and is held over five days. The partner country is once again Indonesia. The pandemic seems to be largely over and the trade show business is picking up again. Climate-neutral production is moving into focus at the trade show, which is attended by 4,000 exhibitors and 130,000 visitors.