Messe München laid the foundation for its future successes in its early years of operation. These early years were a period of continuous growth. The trade fair company and Munich made a global name for themselves with the help of the exhibitions held in the Theresienhöhe district, an area located in the heart of Munich.
Messe München organized successful trade fairs from the 1960s, focusing on such key industries as construction, construction machinery and electronics, areas that still represent the company’s core business focuses and serve as the foundation of Messe München’s commercial success.
The establishment of Münchner Messe- und Ausstellungsgesellschaft (MMG) on April 1, 1964, marked a milestone in the development of a modern trade fair business and reinforced Munich’s competitive position against rival metropolitan areas. The company was owned by the city of Munich, the Free State of Bavaria, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Munich and Upper Bavaria as well as the Chamber of Trade.
Seven trade fairs in the first year
The newly established trade fair company organized seven successful exhibitions at its Theresienhöhe site during its first year in business. These exhibitions included the International Gastronomy and Tourism Exhibition and the International Colonial and Gourmet Food Exhibition. The company’s own events BAU and electronica celebrated their premieres.
The third International Transportation Exhibition held from June to October 1965 was the first world trade fair in Munich. The trade fair company and the city of Munich developed a global reputation during this 101-day period. A total of 3.2 million visitors poured into the exhibition grounds to see the latest developments in rail and road travel as well as public transportation, mountain railways, ships and aerospace.
Dr. Joachim Hietzig became the new Managing Director of Münchner Messe- und Ausstellungsgesellschaft. Hietzig spelled out the aim and mission of MMG quite clearly while in office, saying they must “create an international market for Munich’s economy, a market that will further global interaction, mutual trade relationships and human contact.”
The trade fair known today as IFAT, the international trade fair for water, sewage, waste and recycling, opened its doors for the first time in September 1966. Since then, the exhibition has evolved into a leading global trade fair for environmental technologies and exemplifies Messe München’s commitment to early investment in issues of the future. Today, IFAT is a global network that extends from Munich to China, India, South Africa and Turkey.
With bauma, the company added the trade fair that went on to become the world’s leading exhibition for construction machinery, building material machines, mining machines, construction vehicles and construction equipment to its portfolio in 1967. bauma gained an unprecedented boost from Munich’s selection to host the Summer Olympics in 1972.
MMG’s first high-tech and communications trade fair, SYSTEMS, celebrated its premiere in 1969. Over the years, it evolved into a leading platform for small and medium-sized enterprises and large industrial companies. SYSTEMS spread across the entire Munich exhibition grounds during the IT boom years. It all changed after the dot-com bubble burst. Exhibitor numbers plummeted, and the last SYSTEMS was held in October 2008.
The Munich Fashion Week, an event that was privately organized at the time, gave a new gleam to the trade fair company’s portfolio starting in 1969. The European fashion world then began to gather twice a year in Munich. But the crisis of the German textile industry that started at the beginning of the 1990s brought an end to the Munich Fashion Week. The event was held for the last time in 1993.
Munich’s place in the trade fair business rapidly took on greater and greater significance in the 1970s: Four events celebrated their premiere in 1970. Each remains a strong and highly successful member of Munich’s exhibition program today:
INTERBRAU emerged from the German Brewery Exhibition and celebrated its successful premiere in the portfolio of the Munich trade fair company in 1971. In 2005, the trade fair was renamed drinktec, an event that is now the world’s undisputed leading trade fair for beverages and liquid-food technology. The trade fair brings together all sizes of machinery manufacturers, beverage producers and retailers from all parts of the world every four years: The future takes shape at drinktec.
A trade fair focusing on optical technology opened its doors for the first time in 1973: LASER—an event that is known today as LASER World of PHOTONICS. Today’s globally leading platform for the laser and photonics industry includes the World of Photonics Congress: An elite group of international scientists gets together in Munich every two years for this event that is held during the trade fair and uniquely brings together industry and research.
INHORGENTA—a new European-wide forum for jewelry and timepieces—was held for the first time in 1973. Affordable luxury was and remains a key aspect of the concept employed by INHORGENTA MUNICH: The international platform for jewelry, timepieces, gemstones, lifestyle and bijou has evolved into one of Europe’s leading jewelry exhibitions in recent decades.
Münchner Messe- und Ausstellungsgesellschaft has written a success story: The management team presented some spectacular record numbers in a report called “An Analysis of the Position of the Munich Trade Fair Business” that was presented 10 years after the establishment of MMG: 10,000 exhibitors, 1 million visitors from 50 countries, 20 events in the reporting year of 1974 alone.
productronica emerged from electronica in 1975—an exhibition that was designed to serve as a counterpart to the largest trade fair for the electronics industry. The world’s leading trade fair for electronics production showcases the entire process chain of electronics production—from technologies and components to software and services.
Dr. Werner Marzin assumed leadership of the company in 1978, a decision that placed one of the company’s founding fathers at the head of the company. Marzin proved to be a far-sighted visionary during the decades that followed. One major accomplishment he achieved while leading the company was the relocation of the exhibition grounds from its inner-city site in the Theresienhöhe district of Munich to the new fairgrounds in Riem.
The first Heim+Handwerk was held in 1978. The event is now the largest consumer exhibition in Germany for construction, furnishing and living. It has become the most popular trade fair for the general public on the Munich exhibition calendar. Up to 120,000 visitors pour into the fairgrounds just before Christmas each year to hear tips from experts. Since 2004, as a twin pack with Food & Life.
The ranks of Munich trade fairs were complemented in 1979 by CERAMITEC: Over the decades, this exhibition for the machinery, equipment, systems, processes and raw materials used for ceramics and powder metallurgy has positioned itself as the world’s leading trade fair for the ceramics industry. The motto goes out every three years: “ceramitec technologies—innovations—materials.”
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