Messe Wien Celebrates 100 Years

More+Events ♦ Published: October 13, 2021; 12:27 ♦ (Vindobona)

Messe Wien, the largest trade fair in Vienna, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this fall. To celebrate the occasion, Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig attended a presentation of a new book that details the one-hundred-year history of the Messe Wien. Read about the new book and the significance of Messe Wien.

Messe Wien Exhibition Congress Center's western foyer. / Picture: © MBG / S. Mantler

Messe Wien, the largest trade fair in Vienna, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this fall.

To mark this occasion, a comprehensive account of the one-hundred-year history of Messe Wien was presented in the form of the new book “Das Fest des Neuen” (“The Festival of the New”).

The celebratory presentation was attended by Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig and Vienna City Councillor for Finance and Economic Affairs Peter Hanke.

A mobile exhibition and a special postage stamp will round off the anniversary activities, but there will be no major event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Checkered history

The eventful history of Messe Wien is a time travel through the development of the world of goods and business in Austria and beyond.

When the opening of the first "Vienna International Fair" in the fall of 1921 attracted more than 100,000 curious visitors, the young republic was facing great challenges.

After the end of the First World War, it became urgently necessary for traders to get trade and goods traffic between the newly formed Central European countries going again by setting up a trade fair.

Despite all the initial difficulties, this undertaking succeeded and the Vienna Trade Fair, which was initially spread across the entire city, quickly became an integral part of Austrian economic life.

In the decades that followed, it remained a center of communication, a meeting place for cultures, and a mirror for the latest developments and the changes they heralded.

Wiener Messe has been marked by constant change and has had to reinvent itself over and over again in the past 100 years.

During this time, it has developed into an indispensable part of the domestic economy–not only in the trade fair and exhibition sector but also in the area of ​​the conference and congress industry, where Vienna today occupies a top international position.

Significant economic factor

In their introductory remarks, both Mayor Ludwig and City Councillor Peter Hanke emphasized the importance of Messe Wien for Vienna as a business location.

Trade fairs, congresses, and business events play a key role in Vienna’s innovation and economic strategy “Vienna 2030 - Economy & Innovation” for Vienna’s position as a “City of International Encounters.”

After all, the congress and event sector makes a significant contribution to Vienna’s international visibility and competitiveness. Every euro invested in the financing of the exhibition center generates 15 euros of induced value added in the economic sectors directly affected by the convention industry as well as upstream.

Before the pandemic, the added value of Wiener Messe was already more than one billion euros. This is a value that both the Managing Director of Wiener Messe Besitz GmbH (MBG), Katharina Weishaupt, and the CEO of the trade fair operator RX Austria & Germany (formerly Reed Exhibitions), Benedikt Binder-Krieglstein, would like to return to soon.

Historical foray

The new book “Das Fest des Neuen - Wiener Messe seit 1921” (“The Festival of the New - Wiener Messe Since 1921”) by Nadia Rapp-Wimberger and Christian Rapp and published by Czernin Verlag is dedicated to all these facets.

The book is now available in bookshops for 30 euros.

The historical foray, which is comprehensively illustrated with around 200 photos and illustrations, starts with the numerous innovations of the first years, shows the fire of the rotunda, the ominous times of National Socialism, the upswing after the war, and reviews the successful spring and autumn fairs as well as the many international congresses.

This book portrays a history that is also a mirror of economic development–both in times of crisis and in boom phases. It is thus also highly topical today.

City of Vienna