Last year around 8,000 exhibitors and over 179,000 visitors from the European Union (excluding Germany) took part in the trade and public exhibitions in Nuremberg. This means that Italians, Austrians, French, Dutch and other nations account for around 57% of foreign exhibitors and 63% of foreign visitors respectively. Many of them come from the “new” EU states such as Poland and the Czech Republic, which joined the European Union in 2004. This was not always the case. For decades, the Iron Curtain blocked international trade routes that had crossed in Nuremberg since the Middle Ages – from north to south, from west to east.
Nuremberg has a lengthy tradition as a European trading centre. Located in the middle of the continent, the Free Imperial City of Nuremberg was the hub of the trade in goods from throughout Europe from Medieval times. Goods from as far away as Asia and Africa were carried as part of the Nuremberg trade. “In every region, Nuremberg’s goods are legion” soon became their motto.
After the fall of the Iron Curtain, Nuremberg again found itself positioned at the heart of Europe, and trade relations with countries to the east began to flourish once more. The establishment of the European Union and the growing Single European Market provided further stimulus for growth. NürnbergMesse benefited in particular: no other exhibition company in Germany has enjoyed comparable growth since the collapse of the Iron Curtain, with a 19-fold growth in revenue in the intervening years.
Poland: an important trading partner for Germany – and NürnbergMesse
The united Europe is visible in the Exhibition Centre Nuremberg, particularly the participation of the “new EU countries” that joined in 2004 – Poland in particular. For more than 20 years, Germany has been by far the most important trading partner for its eastern neighbour. More than 28 percent of Poland’s exports go to Germany and, in the other direction, more than 23 percent of Poland’s imports come from Germany. NürnbergMesse also benefits from this trend, with about 13,500 trade visitors and 450 exhibitors from Poland attending the company’s events in 2018. Poland thus occupies 5th place for international visitor numbers and 9th place among international exhibitors at the Nuremberg exhibition venue.
For NürnbergMesse CEO Peter Ottmann, the growth in participation from Poland is one of many success stories for which the company has the EU to thank: “NürnbergMesse benefits hugely from Europe. The trade fairs and congresses in Nuremberg are where people from all countries in Europe come together. With up to 82 percent international participation, our events would be inconceivable without Europe.”
The company’s strong commitment to Europe was evident as it participated in Europe Day: just like many town halls and monuments throughout the continent, the new Hall 3C at NürnbergMesse was resplendent in Europe’s colours of blue and gold on 9 May. This represents an unambiguous statement in favour of Europe, in the view of CEO Dr Roland Fleck: “Since it was established, the European Union has been a guarantor of peace, prosperity and free markets. The foundations for trade and growth, in other words – and for the success story of NürnbergMesse.”
NürnbergMesse is also providing practical support for the European elections on 26 May, when a polling booth will be in place at the Exhibition Centre Nuremberg.