21. November 2022 | Press releases

Koelnmesse celebrates topping out ceremony of the new Confex event and congress location

Important milestone reached in the implementation of the large-scale "Koelnmesse 3.0" project
Global Congress of the Exhibition Industry to be first event highlight in 2024

On 21 November 2022, the Deputy Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia Mona Neubaur, Cologne’s mayor Henriette Reker, Koelnmesse president and CEO Gerald Böse joined politicians, members of the business community, and many construction project participants to celebrate the "topping out" of the new Confex. This future location for trade fairs, congresses and events strengthens Koelnmesse as both an international meeting place for industry and commerce as well as an economic powerhouse for the metropolis and wider region. Starting in 2024, Confex will also allow Cologne to host over 6,000 convention guests in one place for the first time – and to do so in a flexible, fully digitalised space enabling live and hybrid events at a world-class level.

Confex is an important part of the investment programme Koelnmesse 3.0, in which Koelnmesse is improving the quality of its trade fair site through an investment of several hundred million euros. The programme is rigorously adapting the Koelnmesse grounds to the requirements of the trade fair industry for the coming decades.

Mona Neubaur, Deputy Minister President and Minister for Economics, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia: "Trade fairs and congresses are an important marketplace and marketing tool for the economy. Confex offers a unique infrastructure and combination of trade fair, conference and event location, thus providing the best conditions for modern event formats. With this step, Koelnmesse has achieved an important milestone in securing the future of the location in Cologne and thus of North Rhine-Westphalia as a whole."

Mayor Reker, chairwoman of the supervisory board of Koelnmesse, highlighted the relevance of the investment programme and Confex to the City of Cologne and the surrounding region: “With the completion of Confex in 2024, Cologne is finally closing a gap long left unfilled. Whereas many events of this attractive order of magnitude could not be held in Cologne in the past, we will immediately begin the acquisition of new events for this location, building enthusiasm for Cologne amongst new target groups.“

President and CEO Gerald Böse: “Our goal is to create something unique for our location and for securing the future of our company, a place which will meet all the requirements of our own events as well as the guest events we host. And which will thereby – together with further projects of our investment programme – also contribute to leaving behind the current challenges and actually emerging stronger from the turbulence of these times.“

With its structural and technical features, Confex represents the event formats of the future. Its total of 22 conference rooms and the spacious Confex hall allow the building to act as a fusion between a conference and an exhibition venue – hence the name – and opens up new trade fair formats with a focus on the transfer of knowledge. With its modern media technology and IT infrastructure, Confex meets specific future requirements in terms of both flexibility and digital equipment. Its proximity to Cologne’s city centre, the ICE train station, the future MesseCity Köln business park and the Rhine river caters to the increasing demand for efficiency, sustainability, and emotionality of the trade fair experience. 

Koelnmesse subsidiary Koelncongress is responsible for marketing Confex. The first event highlight has already been acquired for November 2024, as Confex will be hosting The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry UFI's annual Global Congress, thus bringing the world’s entire trade fair sector to Cologne.

Confex at a glance

Pictures from the topping out ceremony can be found under the following link: https://t1p.de/4lv0q

You can watch the video of the topping-out ceremony here:

About Koelnmesse:
Koelnmesse employs around 1000 people. As a city trade fair in the heart of Europe, it occupies the third largest trade fair grounds in Germany and, with almost 400,000 m² of hall and outdoor space, is among the top ten largest trade fair grounds in the world. Each year, Koelnmesse organises and manages around 80 trade fairs, guest events and special events in Cologne and in the most important markets all over the world. Its portfolio reaches over 54,500 exhibiting companies from 122 countries and around three million visitors from more than 200 nations. Until 2034, Koelnmesse is investing more than 700 million euro in the development of the trade fair grounds into the most extensive investment programme in its history, to allow it to cover all event formats in the future.

Photo material for Koelnmesse:

  • Owner: Koelnmesse GmbH
  • Architect: JSWD Architekten, Cologne
  • Trade fair, convention and event location at the same time
  • Conference capacity for 6,200 participants
  • 22 conference rooms
  • Preliminary, pre-construction platinum certification by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) and solar panels on entire available roof surface
  • Laying of the foundation stone: 24 August 2021
  • Projected completion: mid-2024, operational starting in autumn 2022

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