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Reconstruction and the "Frankfurt Principle"

When, on 25 August 1946, Mayor Kolb announced that "Frankfurt is going to be a trade fair city once again," he did this because he believed that reconstructing the trade fair would help kick-start the rebirth of the entire city.

The Frankfurt International Trade Fair, held from 3 – 8 October 1948, carried on the tradition of the international sample fairs which had been held since Autumn 1919: 1,771 exhibitors, of whom no less than 46 were from outside Germany, played the role of pioneers at the first event. A total of 32 different industries presented their goods, ranging from textiles and machines to foodstuffs, drinks and tobacco, over a total of 60,000 square metres of exhibition area in provisional lightweight constructions, tents or simply in the open air. In comparison to modern trade fairs, the conditions at this makeshift trade fair were rough, yet the economic and psychological effects of the autumn trade fair were enormous, both with regard to spurring foreign trade as well as for the reconstruction and expansion of the exhibition grounds.

There was yet another way in which the Frankfurt International Trade Fair played an important role into the birth of today's Messe Frankfurt. The increasing diversity of the products on offer quickly created a trend towards greater specialisation of trade fairs. This was reflected in the "Frankfurt principle": individual product groups which had previously been represented in the comprehensive multi-sector trade fairs for the consumer goods industry were further developed to create independent industry events. Already in 1951, the books and automotive sectors were spun off as independent trade fairs. They were followed by Interstoff for fabrics in 1959 and ISH for heating and plumbing in 1960. In 1971, home and household textiles were moved from Interstoff to establish Heimtextil, followed by Musikmesse in 1980. In 1990, the International Spring Fair was reorganised into the Premiere and Ambiente trade fairs. In 1996, the Autumn Fair was rechristened Tendence, while at the same time perfume, cosmetics, drug store and hairdressing supplies, Christmas decorations and florist supplies were removed from Premiere and given an independent event in the form of Beautyworld and Christmasworld. They were followed one year later by Paperworld, which covers paper, office supplies and stationery. In 2011 Creativeworld was added with its own event brand and an expanded trade fair concept and is regularly held in parallel with Paperworld and Christmasworld.

This is a process which continues today. Frankfurt’s trade fairs are continuing to develop, and new ones are being added. At the same time, the range of services offered by Messe Frankfurt is continually being expanded through digital facilities, offering essential added value to customers.