With over 260 000 visitors and 1 800 exhibitors, drupa is the world largest trade fair for the print and packaging industry. The name drupa comes from the contraction of druck and papier, which in German means to print and paper.
The exact location for your navigation system is D-40474 Düsseldorf, Am Staad (Stockumer Höfe). You will be able to access one of the two parking P1 & P2. From there, the free shuttles will take you directly to the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre entrances.
drupa is a ten-day fair running from May 28th to June 7th 2024. It is held every four years since its inauguration in 1951.
You can either buy tickets (1, 3 or 5 days tickets) online or on-site. Mind you; e-tickets come with some useful benefits like free wifi (2 Mbps with a 1Gb data limit per day), free travel with some of Düsseldorf's public transport. The tickers are ~25% cheaper than on-site and provide direct entry to the fairground.
During drupa, over 260 000 print loving souls flood the city of Düsseldorf. To put this figure into perspective, Düsseldorf is one of the most populous cities in Germany, boasting around 630 000 inhabitants. The area is no stranger to vasts influx of visitors as it thrives on trade shows and fairs.
But some planning can go a long way, especially if you are coming from abroad, like 75% of the drupa's audience. In 2016, Messe Düsseldorf, the drupa organizer, cut the event from 14 days to 10 days. The cut in days only resulted in higher attendees' concentration and subsequently the stronger competition for hotel rooms, Airbnb and short-term rentals. Planning will help you secure better and cheaper accommodation deals.
With 1 823 exhibitors spread over 19 halls for a combined surface of ~160 000 sqm, finding the right booths to visit can be an ordeal. Drupa's sheer magnitude tames serendipity, crumbling the odds of fruitful meetings happening randomly. One trick can save you tons of time, though. Curating exciting companies by grouping them by day and hall, effectively minimizing the endless roaming while maximizing the valuable meeting time.
Messe Düsseldorf designed a nifty iPhone and Android app to bookmark the exhibitors and make life easier for you. It also gives you access to an interactive floor plan. And wait there's more: the app includes a matchmaking service. Based on your interests, it will generate personalized suggestions. The app is freely available to download, letting you arrange meetings well before the exhibition.
Not interested in the app? No worries, you can also download a complete list of drupa exhibitors as a text or excel file. Or just scan through online. Finally, the search functionality provides you with detailed profiles of all attending companies. Make sure to check it frequently as the data is updated daily.
As with any trade show, there are a few items that will make your overall experience more enjoyable. Proper planning and preparation prevent poor performance.
So take it from our 5+ drupa edition experience, here's how you can prepare!
Travelling to Düsseldorf Airport (DUS) is probably your best bet. DUS is a well connected international airport with over 190 destinations. It's also very closely located to the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre (7 km ride). From there you can easily hail a taxi or order an Uber. All taxi rides from and to the Düsseldorf Exhibition centre benefit from a special drupa flat fee of 20€. However, be mindful that roads will suffer from congestions. If you're heading directly to the fair, consider hopping on the bus no. 896 instead. (free ride if you got that e-ticket!)
There are drop-off zones along the different entrances. The newly renovated Hall 1 (South Entrance) encompasses 300 spots for buses and taxis. Demand will skyrocket, so you might be better off trying out services lesser-known than Uber, like Free-now, Taxi.eu.
Taking a taxi? Not all cab drivers like to be paid by card. Make sure to carry some cash and ask before taking off if you can pay by card. And don't forget to get your receipt to declare your business travel expenses.
There are two main stations in Düsseldorf:
From there you can take the tram no. U78 direction MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA/Messe, it will stop at the North Entrance of the Exhibition centre.
It's hard to cover all possible cases when travelling by public transport. Fortunately, the drupa organizers have put together a nice visual to help you get around. And since a picture is worth a thousand words here, here is the Drupa's public transport map. And bear in mind, public transport from and to the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre is entirely free upon presentation of a valid e-ticket for the day.
When considering housing, there are a few tradeoffs involving price, distance and comfort. However, expect to pay a premium if you haven't booked anything yet. It might be worth checking Hotels, Airbnb, holiday rentals in nearby cities. Local platforms like Wimdu might also be worth investigating. Another fun alternative is the Drupa Boats.
Drupa can be exhausting. Whether you're roaming the halls multiple times per day or dancing the night away in the old town, your body will be put to the test. So how do you take care of yourself during the day to make sure you'll last the full 10 days?
The late journalist and top industry consultant Sophie Matthews-Paul never missed a drupa. She shared her trick when asked how she managed to keep going for miles and miles days on end. We consider it our duty to pass this wisdom along.
Take your bottle with you when you go to the show and hydrate regularly. Most companies hand out personalized water bottles (hopefully using our software). Feel free to ask or take one. You'll be parched from talking (or singing the drupa song) or sweaty from walking. Water is your best friend.
So is your hand sanitizer. We hope everyone will leave their wu flu germs at home, but it's inevitable you'll be exposed to some new bacteria. Shake hands as often as you wish, but don't forget to sanitize them regularly. Need a conversation starter? Offer some to your neighbor, no doubt they'll appreciate the offer.
Hotels often offer complimentary body lotion. Take the sample with you to the trade show to moisturize your face and hands regularly. You'll be surprised how much fresher you look for that next deal-closing meeting with a face that looks like it got at least 9 hours of sleep.
Fatigue. Carry some travel-size make-up on you. Mineral one preferably. That way, you can apply some when needed for picture-time. Drupa air and lighting will work against you. But when you moisturize, there's no harm in adding a small filter, right? It also works wonders on C-level management that needs to be video-interviewed. Mineral make-up feels natural. Before the men start protesting: it's not effeminate. It's marketing-efficient.
Body odor. Another must-have – deodorant. The travel-sized deodorants are small, easy to put in your laptop case and they go with almost any perfume you wear. Oh, and if you're buying a new fragrance before heading to the show – ask for some samples of that perfume and put one in your laptop case.
Breath smell. Various companies will offer mints, but bring your own to be on the safe side. Late-night beers, early morning coffees and courtyard food – you know where we're going with this. Start every conversation by either taking or offering a complimentary mint. Makes everybody more comfortable.
Corporate says "suit up"? If we must, we shall. Take 2-3 two-pieces with you. That way, if you get stains on one of them, you can still alternate. Choose a natural, comfortable, wrinkle-free fabric. You don't want to look worn out, wrinkled or dirty. A smart suit with a hint of starch will not only help you stand tall, but it will also add to the illusion that you have everything under control.
You have your basic bodily functionalities covered, but what about your gear? Here are a few items we deem worthwhile to invest in:
In most buildings, you'll find a coffee place and/or a snack bar that serves the smaller snacks and sandwiches. Hall 6 has a Grill & Co if you feel like barbecue specialities. Need something quieter and more relaxed? There's a restaurant with waiter service in hall 4 that serves Rhenish specialties or go to the food plaza in hall 14 – they serve Asian and Italian food, and it even has an outdoor terrace!
Cooped up inside for too long? Visit one of the food trucks outside in between the halls; You'll find everything from bio-burgers to sausage rolls and Halal and Kosher sandwiches. And don't forget to try out the Düsseldorfer Gulaschkanone located in the centre of the fairground!
There are a couple of restaurants nearby, but not really within walking distance. The car ride, however, will only take you 5 to 10 minutes.
Restaurant Schnellenburg - Rotterdamer Str. 120, 40474 Düsseldorf. A lovely traditional German restaurant, overlooking the Rhein. Walking over here would take you about 15min (depending on your location in the Messe).
Trattoria Mercatino - Stockumer Kirchstraße 5, 40474 Düsseldorf. A small "basic" little Italian place that serves classic Italian pasta and pizzas.
Restaurant Kastanie - Kaiserswerther Str. 408, 40474 Düsseldorf. Dining place "brasserie-style" that serves the more traditional German kitchen (pasta and Schnitzels).
Taverna Toxotis - Kaiserswerther Str. 402, 40474 Düsseldorf. Greek restaurant that somehow during the busy show hours still efficiently manages to serve good food.
You will find more than 200 restaurants and cafés in Düsseldorf's old town (Altstadt) serving everything from Rhineland specialties to delicious international dishes. It is sometimes called the longest bar in the world!
If you would like to immerse yourself in the culture of Düsseldorf fully, then it's best to order a Rheinischer Sauerbraten: beef cut into thin slices with a sauce of grapes and almonds. Besides, black pudding or pea soup, popularly called Ähzezupp, are local specialties. Furthermore, a "half Hahn" is often served in Düsseldorf. Make no mistake; you will not get a rooster on your plate; it's a type of cheese with cumin and onions that is served on a stingray bread.
The real Düsseldorfer drinks traditional Altbier (old beer) with these meals; a delicious dark beer brewed according to an age-old recipe. It gets its name from the old style in which the beer is brewed – using top-fermenting yeasts. While other regions were adapting their brewing techniques to meet the growing popularity of golden lagers, Düsseldorf brewers stayed true to their traditions. Refined over hundreds of years, this hybrid style of beer is quite unique and home to this region. It is a harmonious, hybrid blend of beer styles which incorporates similarities to both ales and lagers. Altbier looks like an ale but is brewed with lager malts, features ale yeast and hopped like an ale, but is fermented at cooler temps like a lager.
There are many restaurants and cafés with terraces in Berger Strasse. Are you looking for something cheap but with a decent menu, then visit one of the many 'Kneipen'. A Kneipe is a traditional German café, where in addition to beer, often smaller local meals are also served. From Berger Strasse, you walk to the daily market (except Sundays) on the Carlsplatz where you can always buy a Bratwurst or another German snack. There is a long promenade along the Rhine with many terraces. It's a bit more expensive than dining in town, but you can get a charming view!
Want a stunning view from above? Go to the top of the Rhine Tower at an altitude of 166 meters, giving you a breathtaking view of the entire city. Moreover, the restaurant is on a rotating platform, giving you a 360° panorama!
If you have ever been to Düsseldorf, you know they take their nightlife very seriously. The Altstadt is known to party hard and is home to some fantastic clubs. Nachtresidenz is one of the most popular clubs in town and has some CHILI publish history, mysteriously disappearing staff and all. Some other clubs in the area are The silq-club, SUB and 102 Club.
For a more relaxed and upscale vibe, head out to the Hafen (harbor) area, which also has some great bars and clubs. The View Skyview Skylounge & Bar in the Melia Hotel, Innside is a popular spot with great views.
If, after a long day on the trade show floor, your consciousness gets overrated, you can drink some Killepitsch shots. It's made from over 90 different berries and spices that have matured together for over a year. At 42% ABV (alcohol by volume), the bittersweet brown liqueur is an excellent alternative to Jägermeister. Or try a Killepitsch Ignition (an invigorating cocktail of Killepitsch, Red Bull, pineapple and pomegranate juice) so you can claim your drunken debauchery was not planned. Schedule important meetings early on the following day at your own peril.
Ready to be a drupa regular by day, Düsseldorf enthusiast by night?
Auf Wiedersehen in Düsseldorf!