East and West

Trading for the Future

Celebrations for the 850th anniversary of Leipzig's trade fair. Source: DPA
Celebrations for the 850th anniversary of Leipzig's trade fair.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany, one of the world’s biggest destinations for trade fairs, has further strengthened its base over the past 25 years.

  • Facts


    • Leipzig is home to several important trade fairs, including ones for books and video games.
    • Other convention locations also benefitted from German reunification, especially Berlin and Nuremberg.
    • Düsseldorf has shifted its focus to Asian markets.
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Since the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago,  Leipzig has experienced many big changes, among them the total revamping of its traditional trade show.

“The fair had to reinvent itself,” said Martin Buhl-Wagner, spokesman for the Leipziger Messe, as the trade show organizer is known. “Trade fairs for East-West trade, with hundreds of thousands of visitors, just weren’t wanted under communism.”

Since reunification, Leipzig Messe has launched more than 30 trade shows and built new facilities. Today, it is one of Germany’s largest venues, with sales in 2013 of €88 million, or $110 million. Revenues in 2014, however, are expected to dip slightly,  due in part to the cyclical nature of some of its trade shows.

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