© KölnTourismus GmbH, Foto: Axel Schulten

Cologne conferences and fairs

Meet the future

The conference and trade fair city of Cologne did a great job of meeting the challenges posed by the pandemic. As a result, it continues to impress exhibitors, companies, and guests, and offers good prospects going forward. Seventeen million people live and work within a 100 km radius of Cologne. Its proximity to three airports and the Benelux countries, the ICE train station Cologne Messe/Deutz and central train station at the base of Cologne Cathedral, make the Rhine Metropolis easily accessible and a godsend for planners

 

137

Event venues

54

Conference hotels

19

Conference Centres

More than 210 event venues ranging from traditional to hip, 280 hotels encompassing everything from modern conference hotels and traditional establishments to small, refined design hotels offer excellent facilities for planners and visitors alike. The modern Congress Center at Koelnmesse boasts an excellent centrally located ICE high-speed train connection; the 20,000-seat LANXESS arena is Germany's largest multifunctional venue; and Koelnmesse, with its cutting-edge digital infrastructure, is one of the largest downtown trade fair venues. The construction of the new 6,200 capacity Confex® trade fair, conference and event venue is well underway and will fill a longstanding gap in Cologne's offering.

Professional meetings can also be held in unusual venues such as historic factory buildings, film studios, villas, museums, event ships, castles, and palaces in the Cologne region. Visitors can stay overnight in hotels offering international flair, a view of the Rhine or the Cathedral, stylish accommodation in a historic water tower or personalized rooms in one of Cologne's many enchanting neighborhoods.

© KölnTourismus GmbH, Foto: Axel Schulten

Cosmopolitan but close: Cologne for conferences

Every year, thousands of conference visitors from around the world, not to mention conference organizers, benefit from Cologne's first-class conditions. Top venues, innovative formats and first-class service providers form the basis for the Cathedral City's attractiveness as an event location.

Statistics provided by the TagungsBarometer Köln reflect Cologne's popularity as a location. Last year, more than 40,000 events that attracted some 3.72 million participants were held in Cologne. The most important sectors for event organizers include banking and insurance, medicine, and pharmaceuticals, as well as communications and IT. The Cologne meetings market boasts a total annual revenue of 1.3 billion euros.

 

Business events of tomorrow

Thanks to its decentralized concept, new event, and trade show formats such as DIGITAL X, which took place during the pandemic, transformed the center of Cologne into a festival of digitization for two days. Some 200 brands, 60 start-ups and globally celebrated digital icons were showcased across two million square meters of event space, containing 15 stages and a 2,500-square-meter marketplace.

Celebrated as the "World Exhibition of Digitization," the futuristic trade fair opened its doors to private visitors* for the first time. More than 50,000 guests delved into virtual worlds and new technologies relating to mobility, security, the future of work, urbanization, and sustainability. The polisMOBILITY, an international event on the future of mobility and urban life, also boasts an innovative event concept. In addition to a wide range of forums, interactive events, and exchanges across multiple channels, it provides an opportunity for direct dialog with the public on sustainable mobility solutions in the heart of downtown Cologne after the trade fair.

Lasting change in the event ecosystem was a fact of life long before Covid. As a member of the Future Meeting Space, the Cologne Convention Bureau is exploring the future of the event industry and, working with a wide range of research partners, is developing usage scenarios for real, hybrid and virtual meeting spaces. The partners are also conducting research into practical solutions for business events in the light of climate change, pandemics, international conflicts, and energy issues. Partnering to focus on innovation, the German Convention Bureau e.V. (GCB) and Fraunhofer IAO not only shine a spotlight on developments and opportunities, but also provide clear, practice-oriented recommendations for action.

Cologne conferences come with added value

Both the public and exhibitors alike appreciate how accessible numerous Cologne locations are, not to mention the city’s short downtown distances, and excellent MICE infrastructure. As Germany's fourth-largest city, Cologne is also an attractive tourist destination. The Congress Center and Koelnmesse exhibition center are just a short walk across the Hohenzollern Bridge from the historic Old Town with its many traditional breweries and sights. Numerous museums, the world-famous Cologne Philharmonic Hall, countless hotels, well-known squares, spacious parks, car-free shopping streets, clubs, pubs, and bars can all be easily reached on foot.

Cologne is a livable lovable metropolis. Organizers praise its uniqueness and cosmopolitan feel, its tolerance and likeability.

Cologne's great industry expertise, its lively and innovative start-up scene, its excellent links between business and science, its strong university and science network with excellent MICE opportunities, its outstanding digital event infrastructure, its professionalism, and the commitment of its players make it a distinctive, lively, and vibrant meeting hub.

© Brasserie Schloss Paffendorf, Foto: Axel Schulten

Conferences in the country

Cologne has much more to offer than urbanity. If you want to meet in a castle or historic building in the heart of the countryside, you don't have to look far. In the Bergisches Land, in Leverkusen and in the Rhine-Erft region, you will find beautiful spots for incentives that are within easy reach of Cologne. Plus, you can be sure there is something to suit your tastes, whether it is dignified and historical at Brasserie Schloss Paffendorf, Rittergut Orr or Große-Ledder-Landhäuser, or action-packed at Blackfoot Beach, or cool and contemporary at the Culture and Media Center Pulheim. And no matter whether its myths, legends or tomorrow’s world you are after, Cologne is never more than 20 minutes away from your venue.

 

Cologne at a glance –
for organizers

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