Hidden meeting and incentive gems

Away from the big-city bustle there are some excellent meeting and relaxing facilities to be had. While breathing history at every turn, destinations in the provinces still feature sophisticated infrastructure.

Everyone knows the big German cities like Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt, firmly established as top-notch addresses for conferences and congresses. Now the GCB German Convention Bureau is looking to intensify its marketing of destinations possibly eclipsed by the top players. These towns and cities with less than 400,000 inhabitants are setting out to make a name for themselves under the motto "Meetings with flair - attractive destinations away from the big city lights".
"Often it's precisely the smaller towns and cities, such as Rostock, Erfurt or Freiburg, that captivate the visitor with their historical centres, beautiful surroundings and short distances between the conference centres, hotels and places of cultural interest," says Lutz P. Vogt, managing director of the GCB. He is also convinced "that the more personal atmosphere is conducive to greater relaxation before or after a meeting". Further pluses are the generally very good value for money even though the infrastructure is on a par with the big players. Also, the destinations are extremely service-focused, and both guests and meeting planners receive personal attention. Practically all the cities can handle functions for up to 2,000 people with no difficulty in their conference centres and other alternative locations and feature a balanced range of hotels in all segments. "Meetings with flair - attractive destinations away from the big city lights" denotes above all the cities outstanding amenities for exceptional meetings, fringe programmes and imaginative incentives.
Its seaside location means the Hanseatic city of Rostock can offer a wealth of incentive possibilities. From Frederick the Great's round table to the 1945 Potsdam Conference in Cecilienhof Castle - gatherings and congresses can look back on a long tradition in Potsdam. These days, premises are available to event planners in the tropical gardens of Biosphäre Potsdam for groups of between 20 and 500 people.
Magdeburg's special locations come as quite a surprise. Among them is what were once the biggest Prussian fortifications, the Kulturfestung Mark. Halle on the Saale River can look back on a 1200-year history. For conferences, too, it has quite something to offer, with the vault in 500 year-old Moritzburg Castle or a 16th-century Renaissance palace as just two examples.
An entirely different aura surrounds the futuristic Autostadt Wolfsburg. With ten million visitors, four years after opening in the home of the Volkswagen works it is still the most successful service and competence centre in the world, also enabling conference and event participants to experience the subject of mobility emotionally at presentations. One of the meeting highlights in Osnabrück is a reception with the mayor in the Friedenssaal (Hall of Peace) at the Town Hall, where the signing of the Peace of Westphalia marked the end of the Thirty Years War. In Bielefeld event planners can book to suit their tastes, be it modern and multifunctional (Town Hall or Seidensticker Hall), historical atmosphere (Ravensberg Park or Ringlokschuppen) or cultural settings (Rudolf Oetker Hall and many museums and theatres). 1,200 years of municipal history lend Münster its unique flair, and the Congress-Centrum at Halle Münsterland can accommodate functions for up to 4,000 participants. The Lindner HoteBayArena, whose conference rooms overlook the football stadium, Morbroich Castle with conference and function premises in historical settings or the Freudenthaler Sensenhammer radiating the charm of the industrial age of yore are the most prominent locations in Leverkusen.
Its experience with conferences of the United Nations signature states means that the German UN city of Bonn can guarantee the perfect infrastructure and maximum security for meeting delegates. "Meeting in parliament" - a unique opportunity worldwide - is possible in the Internationales Kongresszentrum Bundeshaus Bonn (IKBB) the former seat of the German parliament, the Bundestag. Mainz can point to its central location, just 25 minutes from Rhine-Main International Airport. Overlooking the River Rhine, the Congress Centrum Mainz (CCM) provides a convention hall for up to 2,500. New social programmes for events and incentives at the 2006 FIFA World Cup are designed to attract functions to Heidelberg on a lasting basis. In Germany's oldest Hohenstaufen town, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, it is easy to turn the motto: "The day is for meetings, the evening for culture" into reality, and the unique location of the Congress Centrum Stadtgarten in a spacious historical park is a genuine highlight among the conference venues. Freiburg is the gateway to the world-famous holiday resort and winter sports region, the Black Forest, featuring countless possibilities for incentives. The centrepiece of meetings activity is the concert hall, located centrally in Freiburg's busy Old Town. Friedrichshafen, the incentive and event destination on Lake Constance, can boast the world's biggest museum devoted to the history and technology of airship flight (Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen). The new exhibition centre opened in 2002 is close to the airport. Established networks, expertise and the delightful backcloth with a view of the Alpine panorama argue in the destination's favour.

m+a report Nr.6 / 2005 vom 23.09.2005
m+a report vom 23. September 2005