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The early 1970s saw the construction of a new exhibition centre in Nuremberg. This was the beginning of NürnbergMesse as we know it today.

Steadfast 1949 – 1974
When World War II ended, Nuremberg was in ruins. In a spirit of renewal, dedicated movers and shakers began infusing the city with new life. The period up to the early 1970s was a deciding factor in establishing Nuremberg as a setting for trade fairs. Here’s a look through that period of rebuilding.
© Spielwarenmesse eG
The Spielwarenmesse’s first logo, 1950.
The history of trade fairs in Nuremberg begins with the Spielwarenmesse.
A crucial engine for growth was the great toy fair, the Spielwarenmesse. Even its first iteration, in 1950, was a success. The event grew so fast that the first new exhibition venue, initiated at Nuremberg’s Berliner Platz in 1952, was soon bursting the limits of its capacity. The scramble for a new exhibition site began.
© NürnbergMesse/Bischof & Broel
The city and the municipal park limited the space for Nuremberg’s first exhibition venue at Berliner Platz (here, 1956).
© NürnbergMesse/Bischof & Broel
The new Exhibition Centre in southeastern Nuremberg, 1974.
Finally, in the city’s Langwasser district, a new exhibition centre arose – finished in just 16 months after construction started in 1971, and officially opening in January 1973. It had 60,000 square metres of exhibition space.

What our witnesses remember:

Trade fair portfolio, internationalisation, venue, and architecture: NürnbergMesse grows beyond all expectations over five decades.

Strong 1974 – 2024
The venue was ready. So in 1974 there came a fundamental reinvention as Nürnberger Messe- und Ausstellungsgesellschaft (NMA) – no longer just a location manager but actually an event organiser. It would later be renamed NürnbergMesse. After some difficult early years, the success story began to take off – and NürnbergMesse’s performance up to its 50th birthday has been outstanding
© NürnbergMesse/Bischof & Broel
The company’s first trade fair of its own was the 1975 debut of IWA, the international exhibition for high performance in target sports, nature activities, and protecting people.
The new Exhibition Centre needed to be used to capacity. NürnbergMesse developed and bought trade fairs, and acquired guest and partner events. More and more often, these were accompanied by conferences – which ultimately became an integral part of the trade fair experience.
© NürnbergMesse/Bischof & Broel
An early conference in the Brussels Room, 1978.
© NürnbergMesse/Bischof & Broel (both photos)
Stone+tec (1979, left) and BrauBeviale (1991, right) had already become important NürnbergMesse trade fairs in the early years.
© NürnbergMesse/Bischof & Broel
A crowd of visitors from the new German states in 1990.
Once the Iron Curtain fell, more and more exhibitors and visitors arrived from Germany’s new states and from Central and Eastern Europe. Nuremberg became even more important as a trade fair site.
NürnbergMesse began expanding internationally in the 1990s, and ultimately founded or acquired a considerable number of subsidiaries in other countries: NürnbergMesse China in 2006, NürnbergMesse North America in 2007, NürnbergMesse Brasil and Italia in 2009, NürnbergMesse India in 2013, Forum S.A. in Greece in 2019.
© NürnbergMesse
A show at the opening of BIOFACH China, 2010.
© NürnbergMesse/Heiko Stahl
Hall 3A may well be the most famous building at the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre.
The company also kept growing in Nuremberg. Its iconic Hall 3A opened in 2014 – designed by the London office of internationally famed architect Zaha Hadid.
DGrowth continued without letup. Sales of 350 million euros were expected for 2020. But instead – the brakes had to be slammed on. The coronavirus pandemic brought almost everything to a halt. But the events business has been recovering since protective measures were lifted, and people have been returning.
© Fabian Birke/Birke und Partner GmbH
180,000 square metres of exhibition space in Nuremberg stood idle for months during the coronavirus pandemic.

What our witnesses remember:

Today, NürnbergMesse is an international company that offers a wide diversity of trade fairs for many different sectors.

Colourful Today
NürnbergMesse is still growing – at its Nuremberg site, with the world, and in the world. With both established and new formats. And most of all, with highly motivated teams in many different countries. Here’s a short look at the internationality and diversity of NürnbergMesse.
© NürnbergMesse/Heiko Stahl
BIOFACH appears in many countries, including Brazil, China, and – as here, in 2010 – India.
Internationality offers many opportunities for exhibitors and visitors – and of course for us as well. It’s also a token of quality. We produce trade fairs that work superbly here, and beyond our own region, our own country, our own continent.

Each of NürnbergMesse’s international subsidiaries has its own portfolio of trade fairs – from PET South America in Brazil to the Athens Coffee Festival in Greece.

© NürnbergMesse Brasil
PET South America 2023, Brazil
© Forum S.A.
Athens Coffee Festival 2023, Greece

NürnbergMesse’s diverse portfolio is one of the secrets of its success. If a trade fair is to work well, it’s indispensable to understand the specialty involved. The range of exhibited products is one sign of how diverse the array of trade fairs is.

© NürnbergMesse/Heiko Stahl
Construction machinery on exhibit at GaLaBau, 2014.
© NürnbergMesse/Heiko Stahl
Interzoo (here, in 2010) offers everything for the pet market.

What our witnesses remember:

Heading out for new horizons: NürnbergMesse prepares for the challenges of the future.

Ready Tomorrow
In its anniversary year, NürnbergMesse faces economic and social challenges that will make major changes necessary. An eager team is ready for this newest of all futures – always in dialogue with committed shareholders and partners.
NürnbergMesse is in the midst of a process of transformation. It intends to advance sustainably into the future. Growth no longer necessarily means expansion, but rather investing in ecological and economic efficiency, as well as social responsibility.
© NürnbergMesse/wirdenkenlokal
The Exhibition Centre draws 100 percent solar energy from its own photovoltaic installation on its roofs.
© West 8, commissioned by Aurelis
The new Lichtenreuth district is being built on some 90 hectares not far from the exhibition centre.
There’s a lot going on all around the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre. The new Technical University (UTN), with space for up to 6000 students, is growing up nearby, as is the new Lichtenreuth district, a “Smart City”.
NürnbergMesse works closely with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) for Middle Franconia, as well as the Nuremberg Chamber of Handicrafts (HWK) – whether it comes to promoting business or putting synergies to work.
© Melanie Gal
A new crop of skilled workers for the Nuremberg metropolitan region: Carpenters celebrate passing their master’s examination at the Exhibition Centre.
© Congress- und Tourismus-Zentrale Nürnberg
A view of Nuremberg’s Imperial Castle from the Cinecitta cinema.
NürnbergMesse works in tandem with the city’s Conference and Tourism Headquarters (CTZ) to operate NürnbergConvention, a cooperative marketing effort to promote Nuremberg as a destination – not just as a city for tourism, but as a centre for conventions, culture, architecture and research.

Nuremberg was a city of crafts and trade even in the Middle Ages – all of which played a central role in defining not just the cityscape, but NürnbergMesse’s DNA.

Deeply Rooted 1050 – 1424 – 1949
“Nuremberg’s trinkets go to every country,” goes the old saying. The city’s location, its hard-working merchants and inventive craftspeople, had already made Nuremberg a European business centre in the Middle Ages. Here’s a brief tour of Nuremberg’s trading tradition.
Even in the High Middle Ages, Nuremberg traders were already selling their wares in Europe’s great markets and trade fairs – and were even exempt from customs duties in 73 cities in 1334.
© Stadtarchiv Nürnberg, A5 No. 5405
This 16th-century postcard shows a train of Nuremberg traders travelling under armed guard for protection against bandits.
© Sophia Jung/Birke und Partner GmbH
A view of the Castle from Nuremberg’s Tiergärtnertor.
Important trade routes converged at Nuremberg. The city was a transhipment point for goods from practically every country on earth. Just one example: the trade route heading out along Bergstrasse and through the Tiergärtnertor led through Erlangen into Saxony. Albrecht-Dürer-Platz, connected by Bergstrasse to Tiergärtnertorplatz, was once called the “Milk Market” and is the oldest market square in Nuremberg.

King Sigismund awarded one of the first trade fair privileges to Nuremberg in 1424. The city was permitted to be the repository of the Imperial Regalia – symbols of power like the orb and crown – and to place them on display once a year, while holding a trade fair at the same time. Nevertheless, Nuremberg never really laid down a tradition of trade fairs at this stage. In spite of occasional forerunners, the history of today’s Nuremberg as a city of trade fairs did not begin until the years of reconstruction after World War II.

© Stadtarchiv Nürnberg, E10/93 No. 534/2
Today, the Imperial Regalia are on view in the Secular Treasury at the Hofburg in Vienna.
© Stadtarchiv Nürnberg, E10/93 No. 534/3
King Sigismund was a patron of the city of his birth, Nuremberg.
NürnbergMesse is celebrating its 50th birthday in 2024. You can find out more about us at and in the Press Area.

© 2024 NürnbergMesse. All rights reserved.

Concept and realization: Birke und Partner GmbH, Communications agency -

Credits background images: AFAG Messen und Ausstellungen; Forum S.A.; NürnbergMesse; NürnbergMesse/Bischof & Broel; NürnbergMesse/Heiko Stahl; Hausbuch der Nürnberger Zwölfbrüderstiftungen, Band 1, Nürnberg 1426-1549