Sweden: 75 years of fairs in Stockholm

The country’s leading fair organiser will be celebrating a special anniversary in 2017. Stockholmsmässan opened its gates three quarters of a century ago.

Stockholm Furniture Fair 1962 (Photo: Stockholmsmässan)
Stockholm Furniture Fair 1962 (Photo: Stockholmsmässan)

Stockholmsmässan is in the best of health. “We are happy to be such a vivid and fresh 75-year-old,” says a delighted Patric Sjöberg. “And we will celebrate this with a number of activities during 2017,” announces the CEO of Stockholmsmässan. “Instead of devoting all our efforts to one large fireworks display, we have decided to celebrate throughout the whole year and through the different exhibitions,” he says with a chuckle. “In this way we can acclaim all the meetings that have taken place at Stockholmsmässan since 1942 and the progress they have led to,” argues Sjöberg.

1942, 1971 and 2000 are the three milestone years in the history of Stockholmsmässan. They mark its “birth”, its relocation to the current premises, and the start of its international business. The story began back in 1942 when two forward-looking brothers, Börje and Folke Claeson, saw the emergence of the modern exhibition industry while touring Europe. “They understood that this would also benefit Sweden’s capital, and set out to form what is today Scandinavia’s leading meeting venue and exhibition organiser,” says Patric Sjöberg. 

Börje and Folke Claeson saw the emergence of the modern exhibition industry. (Photo: Stockholmsmässan)
Börje and Folke Claeson saw the emergence of the modern exhibition industry. (Photo: Stockholmsmässan)

Of course, an expanding business needs sufficient space. Stockholmsmässan soon grew out of its first premises in the city centre. In 1971 it moved to a new location in Älvsjö. It now boasts a direct train connection to Arlanda Airport. And the train journey from the venue to the city centre only takes nine minutes. “The third milestone of our history was in 2000, when we welcomed international congresses,” points out Patric Sjöberg. “They continue to be an important business for Stockholmsmässan,” he singles out the congress of the ESC (European Society for Cardiology) and its 27,800 delegates as the largest one held at the exhibition centre so far. (www.stockholmsmässan.se).

Author: Peter Borstel

This article was published in TFI issue 1/2017

When the city shows its most beautiful face

Patric Sjöberg, CEO of Stockholmsmässan, talks about the outlook for 2017, calendar-related turnover fluctuations and future formats.

Patric Sjöberg (Photo: Stockholmsmässan)
Patric Sjöberg (Photo: Stockholmsmässan)

What will your current anniversary year look like?
Being a standard year without our three large biannual exhibitions, 2017 will surely show a lower turnover than last year but this is just as planned. 

Is there anything you can do against these fluctuations?
Over the last few years we have put a lot of effort into increasing the share of flexible costs within the company. This enables us to compensate for turnover fluctuations related to the event calendar. As of this May, we also look forward to welcoming a number of congresses. Usually, the congress organisers want to come during the summer, when Stockholm shows it most beautiful face, but this year we actually have congresses way on into November. 

What will be the main drivers of the business in future?
Thankfully, as long as there are human beings alive on this planet, people will want to gather around common interests. The format for these gatherings will most probably change over time. For B2C it will be people’s desire to share playful and amusing experiences with others. For B2B it will be the will of industry professionals to exchange knowledge and ideas, be inspired, do business and network together.


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