As contemporary as the whole concept of the trade fair may seem to us these days, trade fairs have been going on for a very, very long time. The City of Frankfurt, in particular, has a long and distinguished history when it comes to hosting these gatherings. Eight hundred years long, to be exact!
In medieval times, merchants, suppliers and financiers would meet near the centre of the city at the ‘Romer’. (This building, which became Frankfurt’s City Hall six hundred years ago, still stands and is both a historical landmark and an important part of the life of the city today.)
From 1240, when the Autumn Trade Fair was decreed by Frederick II and travelling merchants placed under his protection, the Frankfurt trade fairs became a fixture of the life of the city, drawing traders and buyers from around the globe. It was from these origins, and still embodying the same, basic structure of its unbroken past, the ‘Messe Frankfurt’, (Frankfurt Trade Fair), evolved.
With more than 2,500 employees and an annual turnover of more than 660 million euros, the ‘Messe Frankfurt’ is the largest trade fair, congress and event organiser in the world. Owned and operated by the City of Frankfurt and the state of Hesse, it owns and leases its own exhibition grounds, constructs trade fairs, organises and hosts fairs and events and provides marketing, personnel and food services.