Convention center

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The Hanover Fairground in Hanover, Germany Hannover Messegelande.jpg
The Hanover Fairground in Hanover, Germany

A convention center (American English; or conference centre in Commonwealth English) [1] is a large building that is designed to hold a convention, where individuals and groups gather to promote and share common interests. Convention centers typically offer sufficient floor area to accommodate several thousand attendees. Very large venues, suitable for major trade shows, are sometimes known as exhibition halls. Convention centers typically have at least one auditorium and may also contain concert halls, lecture halls, meeting rooms, and conference rooms. Some large resort area hotels include a convention center.



A southern entrance of the Helsinki Fair Centre in Pasila, Helsinki, Finland 20190506-messukeskus-messuaukio.jpg
A southern entrance of the Helsinki Fair Centre in Pasila, Helsinki, Finland


The original convention centers or halls were in castles and palaces. Originally a hall in a castle would be designed to allow a large group of lords, knights and government officials to attend important meetings with the king. A more ancient tradition would have the king or lord decide disputes among his people. These administrative actions would be done in the great hall and would exhibit the wisdom of the king as judge to the general populace.

One of the most famous convention center debacles happened in France on June 20, 1789. King Louis XVI locked a group known as the Third Estate out of the meeting hall in Versailles. This led to the revolutionary group holding their meeting in an indoor tennis court. This was the first modern democratic conference center and lead to the Tennis Court Oath [4] and the French Revolution.

Some historic centers

19th-century exhibition halls

Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building, host of the 1880 World's Fair Royal exhibition building tulips straight.jpg
Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building, host of the 1880 World's Fair

20th-century exhibition halls

21st-century exhibition halls

See also

Related Research Articles

Singapore Expo

The Singapore Expo is the largest convention and exhibition venue in Singapore with over 100,000 square metres of column-free, indoor space spread over 10 halls. The center was designed by Cox Richardson Rayner, built by PSA International, and funded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Beurs van Berlage Building in Amsterdam

The Beurs van Berlage is a building on the Damrak, in the centre of Amsterdam. It was designed as a commodity exchange by architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage and constructed between 1896 and 1903. It influenced many modernist architects, in particular functionalists and the Amsterdam School. It is now used as a venue for concerts, exhibitions and conferences.

National Palace of Culture

The National Palace of Culture, located in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is the largest, multifunctional conference and exhibition centre in south-eastern Europe. It was opened in 1981 in celebration of Bulgaria's 1300th anniversary.

Messukeskus Helsinki

Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre is the biggest and best-known convention center in Finland. It is located in the capital city of Helsinki, in the district of Pasila, a short walk northwards from the Pasila railway station.

Rotterdam Ahoy Event arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rotterdam Ahoy is a convention centre and multi-purpose indoor arena located in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Opened originally in 1950, the current complex consists of three main venues: a fairs and event hall, a congress and conference centre, and the Ahoy Arena. The latter opened on 15 January 1971 and is the largest venue, with a capacity of 16,426 as of April 2019.

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is a convention and exhibition centre located in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Taipei World Trade Center

The Taipei World Trade Center was inaugurated in January 1986 by Taiwan's foremost trade promotion organization, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), to provide a single, modern venue that would combine exhibition space, conference facilities, offices, and hotel accommodation for international business. TWTC combines every possible service that brings together a vast consulting service on trade-related issues, trading partners, suppliers, and markets.

Belém Cultural Center convention center

The Belém Cultural Center, is a complex of artistic venues located in Belém in the city of Lisbon. It is the largest building with cultural facilities in Portugal, with over 140,000 m2 of usable space. The centre was initially built to accommodate the programme of Portugal's Presidency of the European Council in 1992, but with the long-term goal of providing permanent venues for conferences, exhibitions and performance arts, in addition to meeting halls, shops and cafés.

Ukrainian House

The International Convention Center "Ukrainian House" is the largest international exhibition and convention center in Kyiv, Ukraine. Popularly referred to as just "Ukrainian House", this five-storey building is the host venue for a variety of events from exhibitions, trade fairs and conferences to international association meetings, product launches, banquets, TV-ceremonies, sporting events, etc.

Bella Center Danish conference venue

Bella Center is Scandinavia's second largest exhibition and conference center, and is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Located in Ørestad between the city centre and Copenhagen Airport, it offers an indoor area of 121,800 square metres (1,311,000 sq ft) and has a capacity of 20,000 people.

Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall

The Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), is a convention center located in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Built between 1970 and 1973, the convention centre was a gift from the People's Republic of China in memory of Solomon Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike, Prime Minister (1956–1959).

Beurs-World Trade Center

Beurs-World Trade Center is located on the Coolsingel and Beursplein in the centre of Rotterdam.

Baku Expo Center

Baku Expo Center - is an international standard, purpose-built events venue. It is located in H.Aliyev ave., Surakhany district, Baku, Azerbaijan. It provides over 30,000m² of exhibition space and includes facilities for hosting conferences, meetings, seminars and presentations. It was opened on June 1, 2010 with "Caspian Oil and Gas 2010" exhibition. It is the second largest Expo center after Moscow Expo Center among the CIS countries.

Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Belmond Copacabana Palace is a hotel in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, facing Copacabana beach. Designed by French architect Joseph Gire, it was built in a style that follows the line and model of the great beach hotels of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and opened on August 13, 1923.

Pajulahti Sports Institute

Pajulahti Sports Institute is a sports and leisure center, situated in Nastola, Finland. It is about an hour's drive away from Helsinki area, and fifteen minutes drive from Lahti.

Centro de Convenções Poeta Ronaldo Cunha Lima

Centro de Convenções Poeta Ronaldo Cunha Lima located in the capital João Pessoa; was designed to be one of the most modern in Brazil, with all the necessary equipment to carry out major projects. Its structure is composed of 4 main buildings: the Mirante Tower, the Fair and Exhibition Pavilion, the Congress and Convention Hall and the Stone Theater of the Kingdom. is one of the most modern and sophisticated venues in Latin America with 48,676 m2.

Tampere conference of 1905 The first conference of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, held in Tampere, Finland, in December 1905.

The first conference of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) took place in Tampere (Tammerfors), Grand Duchy of Finland, in December 1905. Held between the 1905 London and 1906 Stockholm party congresses at the Tampere Workers' Hall, the conference was an unofficial meeting of the Bolshevik faction of the party. It is particularly remembered for playing host to the first meeting of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. The conference resolved to forgo participation in the new State Duma and its associated elections, and instead begin an armed uprising against the government of the Russian Empire, a move that eventually led to the October Revolution of 1917.


  1. "English definition of "convention centre"". Cambridge Dictionaries Online. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  2. Wood, Roy C.; Brotherton, Bob (2008). The SAGE Handbook of Hospitality Management. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. pp. 413–414. ISBN   978-1-4129-0025-6.
  3. Convention Industry Council (February 2011). The Economic Significance of Meeting to the U.S. Economy (Report). PwC.
  4. "Tennis Court Oath | Summary & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
  5. "The History of Conference Centers". Lane End Conference Center. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  6. "Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill and Wood Green, North London". The Victorian Web. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  7. "La Rural | Predio Ferial de Buenos Aires - Centro de Exposiciones, Congresos, Convenciones y Eventos". (in Spanish). Archived from the original on July 27, 2015. Retrieved 2016-11-10.
  8. The story of Tampere Trade Fairs