History—The history of Messe München

In six decades, the company has successfully developed from a local market and trading centre to a globally recognised and active trade fair company.

Messe München is celebrating its anniversary

The “Messegesellschaft München” was founded on April 1, 1964, replacing the “Verein Ausstellungspark München”. The trade fair began 60 years ago with seven events of its own. Today, there are around 90 trade fairs worldwide, including twelve world-leading trade fairs alone – more than any other German trade fair company: bauma (the world’s largest trade fair in terms of floor space), BAU, IFAT, transport logistic, analytica, electronica, automatica, productronica, LASER World of PHOTONICS, LOPEC, and drinktec. Its professionalization made it an important economic and tourism driver for Munich and the entire region.

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In the spirit of optimism of the 1960s, Messe München developed from a regional organizer into a globally operating trade fair company. Today, Munich is one of the world’s leading trade fair venues

Dr. Reinhard Pfeiffer, Stefan Rummel
  • CEOs
  • Messe München

Perspectives that inspire

The history of Messe München at a glance

The history of Messe München could hardly be more enthralling: In just six decades, the company has grown from a local market and trade location and become a globally respected and operating trade fair company.

Entering the new trade fair world (1964–1973)

The beginnings of Messe München date back to the time of the economic miracle. Trade fairs took on an importance unlike anything seen before.

It all began on April 1, 1964: Münchner Messe- und Ausstellungsgesellschaft (MMG) was established and laid the foundation for a professionally run trade fair company in Munich.

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Inspiring shop windows (1974–1983)

Just over ten years after Messe München was founded, the management presents impressive record figures in an "Analysis of the situation of the Munich trade fair industry": 10,000 exhibitors, one million visitors from 50 countries, 20 events in the 1974 reporting year alone.

In 1978, Dr. Werner Marzin, one of the founding fathers and pioneering visionaries, takes the helm of the company, a man who will have a major influence on Messe München in the 1980s. His time in office was particularly marked by the relocation of the exhibition grounds from the Theresienhöhe in the city center to the new exhibition grounds in Riem.

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From Riem to the top of the world (1984–1993)

In July 1985, trade fair boss Werner Marzin calls for the trade fair to be relocated to a new large site in a historic memorandum: “A healthy further development of Munich as a trade fair location (...) can ultimately only be found with a new location (...).”

In 1987, the decision was made to build a new building on the Riem airport site: a completely new district was to be created in Munich Riem—with apartments, kindergartens, schools, green spaces and stores in the immediate vicinity of the New Munich Trade Fair Center. There is no comparable project anywhere in Europe.

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Becoming a global player (1994–2003)

The laying of the cornerstone in 1995 and the topping-out ceremony in 1996 for the new exhibition center in Riem marked the progress of construction. The photovoltaic system was spectacular, the largest of its kind back then and unique among all trade fair buildings.

Manfred Wutzlhofer was appointed Chairman of the Management Board in 1996 and became a member of the Management Board of Gesellschaft für Handwerksmessen GMH.

The start of 2000 was shaped by the expansion to China. China became an important growth market for Messe München and its customers—the establishment of the subsidiary Messe Muenchen Shanghai Co., Ltd. was the logical next step to take in 2001.

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The world looks to Munich (2004–2013)

Dedication of the Construction Section North in 2004 created desperately needed space for the company’s own events like BAU or ISPO. In 2006, the trade fair became the venue for the International Broadcasting Center (IBC) for the FIFA World Cup, while Pope Benedict XVI also held a mass on the grounds. The establishment of Messe Muenchen India in 2007 marked a further step in the internationalization of the company.

To the chronology

Always at the cutting edge, with an eye on the future (2014–2024)

Six decades after the company was founded, Messe München is an internationally recognized, globally operating trade fair company with around 90 trade fairs. Messe München is very successful in its domestic market in Munich as well as in other countries. It is active in all important growth markets: China, India, Brazil and Turkey.

The two new exhibition halls C5 and C6 and the CCN – Conference Center North Messe München were opened with a ceremony on December 13, 2018. That completed the exhibition center in Riem, which opened in 1998, according to the original plans.

To the history of our exhibition grounds: New trade fair halls

To the chronology

Highlights: The history of Messe München in pictures

electronica 1964 I © Messe München GmbH
Handwerksmesse EÖ with Erhard 1965, GHMI © Messe München GmbH
70s brewery exhibitionI © Messe München GmbH
Exhibition Hall 3: Munich 1908 I © Messe München GmbH
International Transport Exhibition 1965 I © Messe München GmbH
Aerial view bauma 1967 I © Messe München GmbH
1973 bauma I © Messe München GmbH
INHORGENTA 1977 I © Messe München GmbH
The Riem Airport site is the projection surface for the new Messestadt Riem. I © Messe München GmbH
Laying of the foundation stone of today's MOC – Event Centre Messe München. I © Messe München GmbH
Laying of the foundation stone of today's MOC – Event Centre Messe München. I © Messe München GmbH
Demolition work at the airport in autumn 1994 I © Messe München GmbH
Foundation bauma Africa 2012 I © Messe München GmbH
Umzug Foyer Messehaus I © Messe München GmbH
Grundsteinlegung Riem: v.l.n.r. Oberbürgermeister Christian Ude, Handwerkskammer Präsident Heinrich Traublinger, IHK-Präsident Dieter Soltmann, Otto Wiesheu, Architekt Peter Kaup, Messechef Werner Marzin I © Messe München GmbH
Spatenstich Messe Shanghai I © Messe München GmbH
INHORGENTA 2024 I © Messe München GmbH

Learn more about the history of Messe München

Go on a journey through time with Messe München! The chronology by decade highlights the company’s most important milestones.

Entering the new world of trade fairs

Inspiring shop windows

From Riem to the top of the world

Development into a global player

The world looks to Munich

With an eye on the future