When I moved to Heidelberg in October 2016, it was clear to me that I won’t attend events as often as I used to in London. In London, I could attend events every day if I wanted! Educational and networking events, venue showcases and Convention Bureau presentations, and lastly industry association events. All events for #eventprofs who are willing to progress their career and expand their network.
By chance, I chatted on Twitter with Lisa from Ungerboeck EMEA, an event and venue management software provider, based in a nearby city Karlsruhe. I asked whether she knows about any local events for #eventprofs. She recommended me the Karlsruhe Convention Bureau Stammtisch. Stammmtisch translates into English as “regulars’ table”. It is rather an informal get-together group that meets on a regular basis to discuss and network.
Karlsruhe Convention Bureau
Karlsruhe Convention Bureau represents the entire Middle Upper Rhein region with its partners. Partners include hotels, venues, restaurants, event service providers, catering, speakers and local event agencies. As a result, all partners together form an attractive MICE offer. The region boasts of a dynamic research sector, home to global companies and counts to be one of the biggest IT clusters in Europe. Karlsruhe is one hour away from Frankfurt and three hours from Paris by train.
The destination puts strong focus on scientific research and therefore is looking to attract scientific congresses to the region. There is a strong scientific expertise in the region, and as a result conferences can benefit from knowledge sharing, exchange of ideas, expertise and local networking.
Karlsruhe Convention Bureau will support the academics and scientists and take the planning burden from them. The goal is that scientists can focus on their expertise and know-how so Karlsruhe Convention Bureau can support with event organisation. In 2015 the Europäische Institut für TagungsWirtschaft conducted a study on behalf of the Karlsruhe Convention Bureau to determine region’s attractiveness for MICE. In 2014 23,400 events took place and attracted 3,5 million delegates, generating about 850 Million Euro spend.
Why Karlsruhe for events
Did you know that Karlsruhe was the city model for Washington DC? According to a legend, Margrave Karl Wilhelm of Baden-Durlach (1679-1738) built the city in 1715 based on his dream. In his dream he saw a magnificent palace in the middle and everything else arrange symmetrically around it in a fan-shape. The 32 roads and paths “radiated” from the palace like sun rays.
Thomas Jefferson, who later became the US President, visited Karlsruhe and was very impressed by the view from the tower over the city. he shared his sketch with Pierre L’Enfant, famous town architect, who then was inspired to use it for Washington, DC.
This little story is one of the reasons Karlsruhe Convention Bureau lists on their website to choose it for MICE.
What else makes Karlsruhe an attractive MICE destination?
Named “Mecca of Media Arts” by Peter Weibel, the ZKM – Centre of Art and Media Technology – is based in Karlsruhe. It was founded in 1989 as a museum, but by extending its museum duties further to conducting scientific research, development and production as well as creating conditions under which art works arise, it is called a center and not a museum. As a result, it has positioned itself as one of its kind in the world by creating a wide range of possibilities for developing interdisciplinary projects and international collaboration.
Karlsruhe Pyramid in the market square
Karlsruhe’s major landmark is the Pyramid and that is the triangle you see in Karlsruhe’s official logo. The seven meter high statue made out of redstone is located in market square and houses the burial vault of city’s founder Margrave Karl Wilhelm.
Gastronomy and savoir – vivre
The proximity to France has its influence felt in and around Karlsruhe. For those looking to indulge in gastronomic experiences the region has some of Germany’s top restaurants run by prominent Chefs. The visitors can also taste traditional German cuisine at one of the local breweries or indulge in the cosmopolitan flair at one of the trendy cafes.
Karlsruhe model- Globally unique transport system
The Karlsruhe model is a Tram-Train system which commenced in 1992. The way it operates is that both tram/light rail and commuter/regional rail run on the same set of tracks. There is no distinction between the two. The system operates in the area, connecting the Black Forest, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe and Baden-Baden.
Mediating between the past and the present: the Staatliche Kunsthalle
Opened in 1846, The Staatliche Kunsthalle is one of Germany’s oldest and most important museums and has been largely preserved with its original substance and furnishings. The venue comprises of three buildings and houses art collection, drawings, graphic prints from different periods, as well as an exhibition aimed at children and young people. This way, the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe intends to mediate between past, present and future.
Ceramic design made in Karlsruhe
The Staatliche Majolika Manufaktur Karlsruhe is open to staff, artists, collectors, customers, visitors and events. The venue attracts renowned and well respected artists, where they both produce and display the ceramics. The various studios serve as workshops for international artists.
Karlsruhe – an active city with a green environment
The city has parks where visitors can relax, recharge and enjoy the beautiful nature and landscape. Karlsruhe’s Stadtgarten is among the biggest in Germany where delegates can walk and relax. The Schlossgarten offers a relaxing atmosphere with the different fountains and sculptures from different areas. The total footpath is over 70,000 km and visitors can also enjoy exploring city’s green landscape by bicycle on the cycle paths. Lastly, it has also an inland harbour, the Rheinhafen.
Great shopping in the fan-shaped city
For shopping enthusiasts the city has the biggest indoor shopping in southern Germany, Ettlinger Tor, and the longest shopping mile in the Baden region, the Kaiserstrasse. In addition, one can find exclusive boutiques, antique shops, interior design, galleries and high end fashion.
Finally, the Kreativpark Alter Schlachthof in Karlsruhe is the local hub for creative industries. The Abattoir was founded in 1887 but stopped operating in 2006. In the following it was re-branded and became Kreativpark Alter Schlachthof offering cultural facilities for creative industries. With cultural workers who have set studios there, the district is where innovative research-focused enterprises collaborate with creative industries in an innovative, inspiring and communication focused environment.
CongressCentrum Pforzheim is one of the 64 partners of the Convention Bureau and where the December 2016 meeting took place. This was my first time in Pforzheim and it was a pleasant surprise. Known also as the “golden city”, it has a rich tradition of jewellery, clock and watch making.
Firstly, the event started with a venue tour in the main hall. The hall can accommodate up to 2,000 people and has great flexibility to host any type of event. Afterwards, we saw the mid-size hall. It benefits from a natural daylight and can accommodate up to about 600 people. Lastly, we moved to see the small hall which is perfect for small to medium size events and its capacity is for about 300.
In addition, a 4-star Parkhotel is integrated into the congress centre for delegates’ convenience. The CongressCentrum Pforzheim can also support with local knowledge and advise on local incentive activities. These include a city tour, a trip to the Pforzheim jewellery museum or the Gasometer Pforzheim to see one of their 360 degrees exhibitions.
After the tour we went to the local Christmas Market and enjoyed the local hospitality. I met other local partners from city marketing organisation Wirtschaft und Stadtmarketing Pforzheim, hotel and conference center Hohenwart Forum, AV company AV Data, unique venues Gasometer Pforzheim and Ettlingen castle.
I am very happy that I found out about these meet-ups. Through these meetings I hope to familiarise myself with the region, meet local event planners and showcase you interesting venues and incentive activities. Most of all I hope to give you an inspiration for your next event.