Background

The first Swedish exhibition was held in Gothenburg in 1918. Since then the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre has continued to develop in close collaboration with the various sectors of trade and industry, and is now one of the most effective meeting places in Northern Europe.

7 July 1918
His Majesty King Gustav V inaugurates Svenska Mässan Sweden's first exhibition. An astounding 530 exhibitors take part in this pioneering exhibition. Svenska Mässan then becomes an annual event in the early summer.
Poster from the 1918 exhibition.

1923
Gothenburg celebrates its 300th anniversary by opening its first ever exhibition hall. The enormous hall covers 40,000 sq. m.

1924
Trade fairs are introduced, starting with a special Radio Fair.

1927
First fair arranged for the advertising market.

1930s
The original hall, which was only intended for use during the city's 300th anniversary year, needs to be replaced. A long process of planning a new facility begins.

1936
The Swedish Exhibition Centre (Svenska Mässan) is reconstituted as a foundation.

1939
Inauguration of the three new halls - A, B and C.

1953
The Swedish Exhibition Centre goes international and joins UFI (Union des Foires Internationales).

1954
Poster from the 1954 exhibiton.

1955
Poster from the 1955 exhibition.

1956
Poster from the 1956 exhibition.

1957
Inauguration of Stora Mässhuset (known locally as "the big fair") exhibition complex.
Poster from the 1957 exhibition.

1958
Poster from the 1958 exhbition.

Poster from the 1958 exhibtion.

1960
Building work on industrial hall begins and is completed in stages during the first half of the 1960s.

1971
Opening of new C Hall. The new hall links the various sections of the complex and becomes a very successful feature of the Swedish Exhibition Centre.
Acquisition of Scandinexpo in the same year results in great expansion of the foundation's exhibition programme.

1973
Svenska Mässan, an annual event since 1918, is now held for the last time. The congress operation is allocated its own premises.

1977
The Swedish Exhibition Centre is extended eastwards and new commercial areas are created at street level for the post office and other businesses.

1984
The old A Hall, dating from 1939, is replaced by a new modern hall. The Gothia is opened in November of this year. TUR (Travel and Tourism Fair) and many other new fairs are launched.

1987
Acquisition of Monterservice, a stand building company.

1988
A joint building project with Scandinavium and Gothenburg Fritid results in the creation of a new training hall and swimming baths, respectively. The roof of the training hall forms The Swedish Exhibition Centre's new loading yard following the construction of a new hall on the site of the old yard.

1992
Congress building completed. Gothenburg becomes an international congress city. The big test comes with the staging of the European Football League Championships, with more than 400 international delegates and direct TV broadcasts to millions of viewers in 22 countries.

1993
The Swedish Exhibition Centre takes over the running of Gothia.

1995
Record-breaking exhibition programme of 42 fairs in one year.

1996
Work on new 10,000 sq. m exhibition hall begins in April.

1997
Inauguration of new exhibition hall in October, in conjunction with the Scanpack fair.

1998
The annual general meeting of the Swedish Society of Medicine is held for the first time in Gothenburg at the Swedish Exhibition Centre.

2001
The West Tower, the second tower of Gothia, is inaugurated. The hotel, which now has 704 rooms, becomes Gothia Towers - the largest hotel in Scandinavia!
When Sweden holds the Presidency of the EU in 2001, the European Summit is held in Gothenburg in June at the Swedish Exhibition Centre.

2002
The prestigious international IT fair, Comdex, chooses Gothenburg and the Swedish Exhibition Centre as the venue for a Scandinavian fair. This is the first time that the Swedish Exhibition Centre had arranged the event, and it is a great success.

2003
The new Vitalis exhibition concept is launched despite the fact that exhibition attendances are falling. The Arena business area is created to improve the efficiency of hiring for outside organisers, and allow the complex to be used even more effectively.

2004
Gothenburg Convention Centre, GCC, is the success of the year. Public exhibitions attract almost 555,000 visitors, which is a massive improvement.
Opening of panoramic lift in Gothia Towers. Investment cost: SEK 11 million.

2005
An entirely new exhibition for the increasingly important 55+ consumer group gets off to a promising start. The Senior exhibition is made a regular event.
The Auto trade fair makes a comeback.
GCC and the hotel achieve a grand slam at the Scandinavian Service and Quality Awards. A total of 82,954 prawn sandwiches are served during the year, equivalent to 10 sandwiches every hour!

2006
Public fairs are developing strongly. First-time events arranged during the year are My Dog, Truck & Bus World Forum and The National Skills Championships. The new Estrad Restaurant, with ultra modern kitchen and seating for 1,000 diners, opens (March).

2007
277,733 people stay at Hotel Gothia Towers, the highest figure recorded for a hotel in Scandinavia. SKF arranges its 100-year anniversary at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre. The highlight of the event is a gala dinner for some 1,000 people. H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf and H.M. Queen Silvia are guests of honour.

2008
Turnover of SEK 794 million is the highest ever. All of 145,026 King Size shrimp sandwiches are sold. Large, prestigious events are the WAN (World Association of Newspapers) Conference (June), with 1,800 delegates - the highest ever attendance in the 61-year history of the Conference, and the ESTRO (European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology) Conference (September), with 4,300 delegates. The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre, receives top marks as organiser of these events.

2009
In January 2009 Gothia Towers opened the new trade fair restaurant, Mix. In March that year the previous lobby bar, Incontro, relocated to new premises at the corner of Skånegatan and Korsvägen, providing Gothia Towers' first pavement cafe. The lobby bar Livingroom now opened instead in Incontro's old premises. On Tuesday 5 May at 17.04 the millionth king size prawn sandwich was sold at Gothia Towers' restaurants. This famous prawn sandwich first went on sale in 1984, the same year as Hotel Gothia opened.

2011
In 2011 155,611 king size prawn sandwiches were sold at Gothia Towers' restaurants – an annual record so far.

Triple Towers. In March the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre's board took the decision to build Gothia Towers' third tower and at the same time add storeys to the existing East Tower, increasing the number of hotel rooms by over 500 to 1,200. The construction project is in two phases, with the additional six storeys to the central tower opening in summer 2013.

2012
On 24 August 2012 the new restaurant and lobby bar, West Coast, opened. This is a modern bistro with a focus on the sea's delicacies and locally sourced, organic produce from the Gothenburg region.

2013
In September 2013 Gothia Towers' five-star sister hotel Upper House opened, with spacious rooms and suites, a restaurant aiming for the stars and a three-storey Spa & Relax suite, including access to a gym, Gothenburg's only hammam, a cantilevered champagne pool on the 19th floor, a jet stream pool, a soft pool, a jungle shower and much more.

2014
On 6 December the new global venue is opening.