Press release

25-year trade fair site—München-Riem

February 10, 2023

  • With the move to the erstwhile airport, on February 12, 1998, Messe München set the course for its expansion
  • Messe München now ranks among the world’s leading trade fair organizers
  • Today Messe München generates average revenue of €3.3 billion a year in Germany
  • The site construction—already progressive, sustainable and environmentally friendly 25 years ago

Messe München celebrates its 25-year site anniversary in München-Riem on February 12, 2023. With the relocation in 1998 from Munich’s Theresienhöhe to the former airport, the Munich trade fair company advanced to become a leading and globally active trade fair network. At the Munich site, the 200,000 m² of exhibition grounds, 18 exhibition halls, convention centers and the 414,000 m² of open space serve as the venue for top quality events. The company also operates subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and South America, as well as some 70 overseas representations, which serve more than 100 countries. Messe München’s importance as an economic factor for the city, Bavaria and the federal government remains unabated. Exhibitors at and visitors to trade fairs and conferences in Munich generate average total revenue of €3.3 billion a year throughout Germany, and in a bauma year the figure even soars to €4.3 billion.

“We will be celebrating Messe München’s 25th anniversary at the Riem site as the resounding success of a courageous decision made back in the day. The exhibition center’s move in 1998 produced a once-in-a-century opportunity—with new exhibition grounds, turning the rapidly growing Messe München into one of the world’s most modern, most attractive and biggest trade fair companies. Only at this bigger site was it possible to expand leading international trade fairs such as electronica or automatica, for example, and to establish the world’s largest trade fair in terms of area, bauma, with its current, one-of-a-kind magnitude,” explain Messe München’s co-CEOs, Dr. Reinhard Pfeiffer and Stefan Rummel, adding: “Together Messe München and the Riem district now form one attractive, stable and enduring unit. At this point we would in particular like to thank our neighbors and local residents, our employees, our shareholders and members of the body politic that have continuously supported Messe München at the Riem site for 25 years now.”

Happy Anniversary!

Munich’s Lord Mayor and Messe München Chairman of the Supervisory Board Dieter Reiter extends his warmest congratulations for the 25-year site anniversary: “This jubilee is also a good reason for the city of Munich and the region to celebrate, because Messe München’s economic success is without doubt closely connected with the move to the Riem site. City Councilor Hermann Memmel was an absolute proponent of the trade fair site’s relocation and was also the first to bring the former airport site into play. An important step for the city’s development and the right decision for Messe München.”

Hubert Aiwanger, Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs and Messe München Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board, adds his congratulations: “The new start in global international business was aligned with the company’s relocation to Riem in 1998. As a showcase into the world of our export-oriented Bavarian economy, Messe München contributes to international renown while also being part of the fiscal stimulus package.”

In his congratulations message, Albert Füracker, Bavarian Finance Minister and Bavaria’s shareholders’ representative, also emphasized the economic importance extending far beyond the state capital limits: “Munich’s entire metropolitan region and the whole of Bavaria benefit from the visits of countless national and international exhibitors and visitors. Experts estimate that every euro invested produces another ten euros, fed into retail outlets, restaurants, hotels, taxi drivers and arts and crafts businesses.”

Franz Xaver Peteranderl, President of the Chamber of Crafts for Munich and Upper Bavaria as well as Messe München’s shareholders’ representative, also extends his congratulations and adds: “Messe München generates tremendous demand for the services of skilled trades, in electrics, trade fair construction and food sector professions, for example. It is also the best possible location for renowned and globally acclaimed craft fairs, such as the Internationale Handwerksmesse (IHM), opti or the leading international trade fair for bakery, confectionery and snacks, iba.”

Dr. Manfred Gößl, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria and also a shareholders' representative explains:

“With its leading international trade fairs, Messe München sustainably strengthens Bavaria as an innovation location for the future. Precisely such trade fairs, as they are held regularly in Munich, are an innovation driver for the respective sectors and industries, where the latest developments can be presented to a global audience. Having such a platform right on our doorstep in Riem is an enormous benefit for the local economy.”

Move from Munich’s Theresienhöhe to the former airport site

The München-Riem exhibition grounds are today an established component of the Messestadt Riem district. Of course it was all very different in the mid-1990s. The entire site was like a barren asphalt desert with the former airport’s runways. The construction of the new exhibition grounds made a decisive contribution to the city’s development. Furthermore it also ensured connection to the subway network—an indispensable factor for today’s Messestadt Riem district and its infrastructure.

After 34 years at the Theresienhöhe site, on February 12, 1998, the new Messe München relocated to the site of the former Riem airport. Along with the trade fair buildings came the trade fair lake with its 2.6 hectares of water surface. In the mid-1990s the impressive landscape of halls first appeared with 13 halls on 140,000 m² of exhibition space. The construction was also crucial for the Bavarian capital city—it was the second really large-scale project since the 1972 Olympic Games. As a, “trade fair of short distances” with top quality and filigree architecture, planned by Danish architecture firm Bystrup, Bregenhoj & Partner and implemented by architecture firm Prof. Kaup, Dr. Scholz und Partner together with engineering firm Obermeyer Planen und Beraten, the Munich exhibition center became one of the most modern in Germany.

Own events and guest events at the Riem site

From 1998 to 2022 there were more than 900 events at the Riem trade fair site, of which more than 400 were own events and 500 were guest events. The first trade fair, which opened its turnstiles at the new location in February 1998, was Caravan-Boot-Reisen (C-B-R), predecessor of today’s, Bavaria’s largest travel and leisure trade fair. The first guest event on the new site was the TV production, “Die 5 Millionen-SKL-Show”, and the location’s first major event was the IOR Off-Road trade fair.

The site construction – progressive, sustainable, environmentally friendly

Future viability played a key role, and not just with the new district’s development—when building the modern exhibition grounds the focus was also on forward-thinking architecture and environmental compatibility. 220,000 m² of the entire site are therefore a dedicated green space with 2,500 planted trees. A total of 71,000 m² of the hall roofs are planted with greenery. Messe München was therefore already making a major contribution to environmental friendliness, air pollution control and green spaces in the Munich metropolitan area 25 years ago. The photovoltaic system on the roofs of the trade fair halls (which was one of the biggest of its kind in Europe when installed), also shows how Messe München has always been concerned with careful and sparing use of resources.

The new exhibition grounds were constructed in record time 25 years ago—just three and a half years from breaking ground to opening day. The large-scale project also scored well in financial terms. The planned costs for the first construction phase (six A halls, six B halls, a 3/4 hall (C3), ICM, trade fair building, west and east entrances, as well as east and north service operations) were estimated at DM 2.3 billion, which, however, came in at DM 400 million less, so that among other elements, two further halls (C1 and C2) and the car park were then also built immediately after. The exhibition grounds were completed precisely twenty years later in 2018 with the official opening of halls C5 and C6 and the Conference Center Nord.

Inaugural ceremony on February 12, 1998

All these successes were celebrated with the inaugural ceremony in 1998. A prestigious ceremony was held in Hall B1 on February 12, 1998, with some 5,000 guests invited from political, economic and social life. Among the guests were the Federal President of the day, Roman Herzog, the head of the Bavarian Government, Edmund Stoiber and Munich’s Lord Mayor, Christian Ude. The grand opening of the new exhibition grounds under the auspices of Messe München’s Managing Director at the time, Manfred Wutzlhofer, was also a particularly special event for the people of Munich.

Anniversary year 2024: Messe München turns 60

The trade fair will be 60 years old in 2024. It was founded as Münchner Messe- und Ausstellungsgesellschaft (MMG) and subsequently laid the basis for a professional trade fair business in Munich. The company was owned by the city of Munich, the state of Bavaria, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Munich and Upper Bavaria as well as the Chamber of Trade. Today Messe München is one of the world’s most modern, most attractive and biggest exhibition spaces. After making clear losses in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, the trade fair business is back on track for success with an average of around 40 of its own events in Germany and abroad as well as some 90 guest events. Revenue of more than €400 million and EBITDA of over €100 million are expected for 2022.

Click on this link to find out more about Messe München’s history.

Dr. Carola  Hesse
Dr. Carola Hesse
  • Director Corporate & Communications