Building documentation

The Building History of the Exhibition Center Friedrichshafen.


The first IBO, short for International Bodensee exhibition was opened in April 1950 on the school grounds between the Pestalozzi school and the present Graf Zeppelin grammar school in Friedrichshafen.


In 1954 the exhibition moved to a larger site on the west side of the Riedle park. The area there was filled with rubble from the town. At this point in time the company employed two full time members of staff. At the beginning they had occasionally employed 4 people but only during the exhibitions.


The exhibition changed location for a second time and moved from the Riedle park site to the Meistershofener Strasse grounds.


Specific plans to move the exhibition center are discussed in Friedrichshafen and finally put into action.

16th June 1998

The Friedrichshafen district council give the green light to move the exhibition center to the Allmannsweiler site near the airport. Construction start planned for May 2000.

7th December 1998

Twelve major contractors were invited to tender.


The land was acquired in 1999 and the initial development of the area took place. Work started on the sewage installation and on the new road. The first cut of the spade for the whole development in connection with the new exhibition building was on 11th October 1999. Finally on 15th November the points for the new exhibition building were placed in position. The district council voted unanimously for the design drafts of the renowned Hamburg architect firm Gerkan, Mark and Partner. The joint bidder group Hochtief / Tessag Rheinelektra Technik received the contract for the construction of the exhibition center.

18th February 2000

The contract for Friedrichshafen's biggest new construction is signed and sealed. Representatives of the joint bidder group, the exhibition management and the town council sign the contract for the new exhibition center, Friedrichshafen. Official building to begin on 23rd May 2000. Decision to expand made in September 2000: laying of the foundation stone of the new exhibition center is to be enlarged with two further halls, each with 6,300 square metres exhibition area. The first building stage of this additional area is to be concluded by 30th September 2002 at a maximum cost of 15 million German marks. A further 6,300 square metres are planned for 2003.

7th March 2001

Laying of the foundation stone.

October 2001

Only nine months to go to the opening of the new exhibition center. The builders celebrate the topping-out ceremony on 18th October 2001 at the huge building site.

26th - 28th July 2002

The official opening of the new exhibition center, Friedrichshafen is celebrated with a huge event party from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July 2002.

August 2002

From 17th to 20th August the European Trade Fair OutDoor is the first exhibition at the new grounds.

September 2002 - Extension Stage 1

Completion of hall A 6 (hall No. nine) comprising 6,300 sqm exhibition space.

September 2003 - Extension Stage 2

Upon completion of hall B 4 (hall No. ten) another 6,300 sqm are available. The new exhibition site Messe Friedrichshafen offers now a total of 70,000 sqm exhibition space within 10 halls and foyer plus 12,000 sqm open-air exhibition grounds. 1,000 parking spaces for exhibitors directly between halls plus 5,000 visitor's parking spaces on-site.This size ensures business for our present and future events and we'll remain an interesting partner for our guests and their events.

October 2003

In October 2003 MESSE FRIEDRICHSHAFEN receives the “Wood Construction Award Baden Württemberg”.
Due to the fact that the most roofs of the exhibition halls were built from wood the visitor experiences a quite cosy ambience throughout the site. Next to the pyramidal shaped glass roof in the entrance area the wooden barrel vaulted roofs are more impressive especially with such enormous span. This in itself proves that building complexes of such a size and with such cost and time intensity can be build from wood and this quite successfully so.


The prize was offered by the following institutions under the patronage of Minister Willi Stächele:

  • the advisory council for wood of the Baden-Württemberg district
  • the ministery for nutrition and the agrarian jurisdiction of Baden-Württemberg
  • and the “HOLZABSATZFONDS” Bonn

June 2006

Messe Friedrichshafen does groundwork for exhibition hall expansion

Messe Friedrichshafen spends a number of months considering an expansion of the capacity of its exhibition halls. Business on the new exhibition site has grown more rapidly than expected. Space for such an expansion would be available on the east side of the exhibition grounds.
The original planning of the new site was based on prevailing circumstances and a forecast of moderate growth. In recent years however, major trade shows such as the Fakuma International Trade Fair for Plastics Processing (held in Friedrichshafen from October 17 to October 21, 2006) and the International Eurobike Trade Show have grown so much that both events are already pushing the limits of the exhibition center's capacity.

November 2006

Municipal council broadly favors exhibition center expansion

The expansion of the exhibition grounds in Friedrichshafen is approved. With a clear majority of members from the CDU, SPD and Free Voters expressing support, the municipal council comes down firmly in favor of expanding the exhibition grounds. At a total cost of 50 million euros, two additional column-free halls, a new East Entrance and additional parking lots in the immediate vicinity of the exhibition grounds are to be built. The construction work is scheduled to start mid-2007; the new exhibition halls are due to open in the fall of 2008.

September 2007

Construction work begins to expand exhibition center

On Tuesday, September 11, 2007, officials from Messe Friedrichshafen and the Town of Friedrichshafen together with architects and contracted construction companies formally launch the new exhibition center project. Mayor Josef Büchelmeier, chairman of the exhibition center's supervisory board, gives the go-ahead for the construction work to begin on the expansion, which is scheduled to be completed in 2009.

June 24, 2008

Topping-out ceremony on the construction site

In the new East Entrance foyer, construction workers, exhibition center staff and guests of honor meet to toast the construction project, which is still on schedule and due to open in July 2009. One of two new exhibition halls is already available for OutDoor and Eurobike 2008; by the time of Fakuma trade show took place in October 2008, both new halls will be operating.

July 16, 2009

State premier Günther Oettinger simultaneously opens both the exhibition center’s eastern extension and OutDoor 2009-08-20

An important exhibition center project gets a VIP visit and a festive reception: Günther Oettinger, premier of the state of Baden-Württemberg, comes to Lake Constance to perform double duties. Not only does he officially open the International OutDoor Trade show; he also opens the eastern extension to the exhibition center, consisting of two new halls, the new entrance foyer and the East Conference Center.
The completion of the complex’s third construction phase expands Messe Friedrichshafen exhibition space from 70,000 sq m (753,000 sq ft) to some 87,500 sq m (915,000 sq ft) spread over twelve halls. Messe Friedrichshafen has covered the total cost of 49 million euros with its own financial resources, with the town acting as guarantor. The completed eastward expansion project comprises the new East Entrance, the two new column-free halls A7 and B5 (each with a floor space of 6,300 sq m or 68,000 sq ft), as well as additional conference and congress rooms of varying capacities. A total of 7,000 on-site parking spaces for exhibitors and visitors are now available, with a further 2,500 park-and-ride spaces to be found in the immediate vicinity of the exhibition grounds.

Messe Friedrichshafen
Visitor service

Neue Messe 1
88046 Friedrichshafen
Phone +49 7541 708-5887
Fax +49 7541 708-110

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