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Messe Basel: a central location at last

Published on 12/6/2016 by
Schweizer Mustermesse in Basel, ca. 1921 (MCH Group)

 A central location for the Sample Fair – that was certainly not the case in 1917. The first fair was spread over several different locations. Those in charge wished to change this. In view of their requirements, only a site at the edge of the city would be suitable.  

The wish to have a central address in the city for the Sample Fair could only be met by using the land formerly occupied by the German railway station in Basel  –  the Badischer Bahnhof (see picture below). Due to the desired size and the pressure of time, no other unbuilt plot of land was suitable. And so the fair moved to the location that it is still in today. Back then, the site was still on the edge of the city, outside the built-up area. Parts of the first Sample Fair had already been held there.

The exhibition site underwent rapid growth. By 1919, the area between Riehenring, Isteinerstrasse, Maulbeerstrasse and Clarastrasse had already been roofed over. This marked the end of the fair's expansion for the time being, since there was no more space to occupy. In 1921, one of the provisional halls was knocked down (in the initial years these were generally lightweight structures of iron and wood). Hall II was then built on this plot of land (see picture above). The new building, which was like a "festival hall", was the first big, more solidly built hall with concrete columns. Hall II also marked the start of a new era: from then onwards, the halls became bigger and the programme offerings more varied, in a bid to satisfy the public and boost the economic efficiency of the operation.

Alter Badischer Bahnhof Basel (MCH Group) 

Photos: Staatsarchiv Basel Stadt/Privatarchiv MCH Group

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