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IMAGE: HMTG / Stefan Knaak

Hannover: Where you really can have it all

January 10, 2023

More than half a million people call Hannover their home, but the city's hospitality is valued worldwide. Hannover welcomes people from all corners of the globe to its fairs, festivals, sports events and concerts. Lower Saxony's attractive capital has a lot to offer tourists, but there's plenty to attract innovators, business event organisers and those looking to relocate, too. This city is striding towards a smart, sustainable future and offers extensive support and opportunities for those wanting to organise a conference, launch a start-up or research project, or seek employment.

 

Hannover: The Perfect Home for your Green Event

 

Hannover's accessibility and prime location in the heart of Europe have made it a top choice for hosting the world's leading trade fairs and events, such as:

 

  • DOMOTEX, the leading trade show for the flooring industry

  • HANNOVER MESSE. the word-leading show for industrial innovation

  • IAA TRANSPORTATION, a major new transport and logistics event

 

Hannover is easily reachable from the Hannover Airport and the A2 and A7 motorways. The Deutsche Bahn's ICE railway network and major European bus lines provide greener and equally easy ways to travel there.

 

This forward-looking city also has excellent infrastructure and public transport, a variety of event venues, and excellent green accommodation choices. It also benefits from Hannover Congress and Events: a professional team who can help make your event not just a success, but a sustainable success. They can provide expert advice on making your event greener via measures such as reducing waste, and suggest green venues, caterers and break-out activities.

 

 

 

 

IMAGE: Björn Küssner

Hybrid Events in Hannover

 

Hybrid events became more popular during the Covid-19 pandemic, and they remain so as people begin to understand that they are important for sustainability. It's not always possible or necessary to attend in person. A hybrid event can make it easier to reach more while still having a real impact.

 

Hannover Congress and Events makes it easy to relocate your event from Hannover to the world. They can arrange technical experts to help with special software for participants, a studio equipped with a stage and LED walls or screens for high-quality broadcasting, interpreters, video recordings and additional microphones for audience interaction.

 

 

 

IMAGE: event it AG

Eco-Friendly Event Venues

 

Here is just a selection of the venues Hannover has to offer.

 

On the trade fair complex:

 

The H'UP

 

Definitely worth a mention is the H'UP: the ideal location for hybrid events. The 3,250 sqm space consists of three different areas—The Stage, The Talk and The Lounge—which can be used flexibly. The venue can accommodate 1,400 people in total or 650 people seated. It was awarded Best Hybrid Event Location in 2021.

 

The Peppermint Pavillon

 

Winner of the Best Streaming Location award in 2021, the Peppermint Pavillon has eight spaces for events, accommodating from ten to 1,500 people. A professional recording/streaming room is attached, which has been used to record the hits of some of Germany's biggest stars!

 

 

 

IMAGE: Deutsche Messe AG

At the Deutsche Messe Exhibition Grounds:

 

Hannover boasts one of the world's largest exhibition grounds. At the Expo 2000, the grounds welcomed exhibitors from 155 different nations and over 25 million visitors over 5 months. The team here offer expert event planning for those wanting to book its 24 halls, a large Convention Centre, 3 pavilion areas, a Technology Academy and numerous meeting rooms.

Deutsche Messe also offer the sustainable, standardised 'Instant Fair' concept, which offers exhibitors a fixed, ready-to-use stand and floor structure. Forums and common areas offer space for 130 of these bookable exhibition stands and 3,000 visitors per day.

 

Its conference spaces include:

 

Fair Hall 19/20

 

The Fair Halls 19 and 20 are the flagships when it comes to hosting major conventions like concerts or global trade fairs. They form a state-of-the-art multi-purpose complex that includes exhibition, conference and hospitality spaces, including the Five Continents Restaurant. The New York conference room seats over 800 people, and there are several meeting rooms here too. The exhibition areas can be easily configured as one space, accommodating 10,000 people.

 

The Convention Centre

 

The futuristic-looking Convention Centre offers 34 meeting rooms and a large foyer with all the rooms linked on one level. It has a capacity for more than 2,500 people. A Skywalk connects it to Hall 7.

 

 

 

IMAGE: HCC / Rainer Dröse

In central Hannover:

 

HCC – Hannover Congress Centrum

 

The Hannover Congress Centrum, with its famous domed hall, has stood for over 100 years. However, it's equipped with modern event technology and includes a recently renovated Video Conference Lounge with two studios and a bar.

 

The HCC has been Green Globe certified for sustainability since 2011. As one of Germany's biggest event centres, it has the potential to seat 15,000 people and offers over 40 halls and meeting rooms. It's hosted major medical conferences, gatherings of political parties and company shows. Conveniently located in the city centre, it's also adjacent to the city park. This lovely 60,000 sqm green space is an inviting place to relax during your event, but equally well-suited to outdoor functions.

 

IMAGE: HMTG / Lars Gerhardts

The Transition to a Sustainable, Smart City

 

Environmental and Social Responsibility

 

Together with the wider region, the city has set ambitious targets for CO2 reduction and energy consumption in its '100% for Climate Protection' plan, adopted in 2020. The goal is for a 95% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a halving of energy consumption, compared to 1990 figures, by 2035, with climate neutrality achieved, if possible, in the same year.

 

Thermal renovation of buildings is key to reducing energy waste and consumption. The e.coSport advisory and support program is funded by various sports clubs, business sponsors, municipal authorities, and funds. It's provided advice and financial support to 111 regional sports clubs so far, helping them with energy-saving measures and thermal renovation.

Every year, the Environment and Parks Department plants around 1,000 new trees, with 500-750 of those planted on the streets (there are about 45,000 roadside trees here). Besides the large Eilenriede forest, the city also has smaller city forests, the Leine Meadows nature reserve and over 20,000 allotments. According to a city council survey, these green spaces are one of the main reasons why 89% of Hannoverans are happy to live here. The 'Städte wagen Wildnis' project (Cities Venturing into Wilderness) focuses on bringing more nature into the city, creating urban habitats for diverse animal and plant species.

 

In the social arena, the 'Hannoversche Weg' (The Hannoverian Way) initiatives give children in poverty improved educational and participatory opportunities. The project 'Jugend lebt Stadt' (Youth Living in The City) has similar goals but focuses specifically on young people. To meet the growing demand for housing in a socially responsible, sustainable manner, the city is planning age-appropriate neighbourhood development and expanding affordable housing.

 

IMAGE: www.scheffen.de

Greener Energy and Transport

 

Hannover is a step ahead in the sustainable energy sector. Its largest outdoor swimming pool, Lister Bad, has been heated by solar energy since 2007, and there are small district heating networks using biomass.

 

The municipal utility company, Enercity, plans to be generating half of Hannover's district heating from renewable energy by 2035. In May this year, it announced it would acquire the Horizon Onshore Wind Portfolio from Norderland, and it's just installed the largest rooftop photovoltaic system in the region. The 4.7-megawatt system will generate at least four million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, saving nearly 1,900 tons of CO2 a year. The Sparkasse Hannover bank has already contracted to use half of the electricity generated, which will supply a third of their needs.

 

Enercity has also been instrumental in making Hannover a top city for electric vehicle charging. Under an agreement with the city, it's increased charging points from 47 to 473 (including 59 for fast charging) since 2019. Hannover's List district now has the largest charging park in northern Germany, with 84 standard and six fast charging points. Enercity's target is to have 500 public points in Hannover by the end of 2022.

 

The Hannover Waste Management company is playing its part too. It has already been producing methane gas from its landfill site and biological waste treatment plant, which is converted into electricity in combined heat and power plants. Now, it plans to use its bio-methane to produce its own hydrogen, storing it for use in its waste collection fleet, which is gradually converting to cell-powered hydrogen vehicles.

 

Public and personal transport is also under the city's sustainable scrutiny. Since 2008, Hannover has celebrated an annual car-free Sunday, with events promoting cycling and public transportation that attract around 100,000 visitors. The city's goal is to increase the share of cycling in total traffic to 25% by 2025, and new bike lanes are always under development. There are already 530 kilometres of cycling tracks (around 170 kilometres running through green spaces). The wider Hannover Region offers 1,000 kilometres of cycle tracks, including 15 signposted regional routes and the regional ring route.

 

Two local companies run most Hannover bus services:  Üstra and Regiobus. Üstra services within Hannover's environmental zone will be fully electric by 2023. Üstra's longer routes and the Regiobus lines often run through rural areas, making the installation of charging infrastructure difficult. To tackle this, both companies have trialled Solaris hydrogen buses. Regiobus is now running some electric buses and will be introducing hydrogen buses in 2023. Hannover's light rail intersects with the underground railway and has been running on 100% renewable electricity since 2015.

 

Üstra also offers electric-powered boat rides on Maschsee Lake, including the solar-powered EMS Europa. This stainless steel catamaran can be chartered for private tours or events and provides space for up to 38 people.

 

 

Being Smart about Sustainability

 

The city's Restart: #HANnovativ Smart City initiative, which focuses on 'people, not technology', aims to blend the digital with the analogue. The plan has ten fields of action in which Smart City principles will be deployed: Data and Technology, Common Good & Economy, Home Life, Culture, Mobility & Identity, Habitat, Health, Diversity, Learning, and Democracy. This year, the city has moved out of its 1-year strategy phase and into implementation, introducing new Smart initiatives and expanding existing ones. Intelligent lighting and traffic light systems are just two of the areas that have received funding and research.

 

Climate adaption

 

Hannover's tree-planting programme has already been affected by climate change. Previously, new trees only required watering for a year or two; now, it's three or four years.

 

In May, five trees in the city were equipped with sensors that precisely record suction tension at four different soil depths. This information eliminates the need for precautionary watering: it's only done when and where required. In the future, the technology will be extended across the city, with a 'sentinel tree' for each location.

 

Hannover and other Lower Saxony partners are also involved with the EU-funded NuTree project, which will run until the end of 2024. It uses sensor technology and AI modelling to monitor the health and water supply of trees from the moment they're cultivated to the point they're transported to their final location. Hannover has a dual role as both producer and end consumer, using the Smart tech in its municipal tree nursery.

 

5GAPS Project

 

In cooperation with Deutsche Messe AG and partners from business and science, Hannover has launched the 5GAPS (5G Access to Public Spaces) Project. This will use 5 G's ability to transmit large amounts of data to ultimately create a real-time, multidimensional, dynamic digital twin of Hannover, opening up urban management and tourism opportunities. The testbed is Hannover's exhibition centre, and the project will run until December 2024.

 

HannoVerKehr

 

Under the "HannoVerKehr" label, Hannover is striving to reduce emissions below the limit of 40 µg/m³ by implementing extensive traffic management measures, including optimised traffic control and parking space management. The HannoVerKehr model is able to extrapolate data and calculate how traffic will develop in a certain area between 30 to 60 minutes in advance.

 

 

IMAGE: Tim Schaarschmidt

Hannover: Innovation and Enterprise in the Heart of Europe

 

Hannover cultivates innovation by facilitating collaboration between universities and businesses, and by making living, studying and starting a business there very attractive. Students are given the opportunity to make connections with businesses in their field of study. The result? Half of the students graduating from Hannover's higher education institutes take jobs in the Hannover Region.

 

If you plan to start your own business rather than being employed by someone else, Hannover has schemes to help start-ups to gain a foothold and thrive. Hannoverimpuls, for example, assists with office space as well as laboratory and workshop facilities, providing the business idea can be implemented commercially in the Hannover Region. This programme's success stories include Pralipaws dog-friendly chocolates, TogoColor, a start-up making colourful, sustainable patchwork clothing, SMARTSECUR, who are promoting their safer and sustainable packaging for household appliances and green.in.pieces, which offers sustainable men's wear.

 

IMAGE: Christian Malsch

Collaboration for Innovation

 

Hannover's research centres are world leaders. More than 250 scientists work with industry partners at the Hannover Centre for Production Technology (PZH) to pioneer innovative technologies such as geothermal energy and precision forging. Laser Zentrum Hannover is one of the leading European institutes in laser technology, driving research, development and industry-oriented training.

 

Cross-sector research on energy efficiency, sustainable energy and the reduction of carbon emissions has led to notable achievements, such as the world's first wooden wind turbine and geothermal energy methods for district heating in Northern Germany. The hydrogen sector is thriving, and Hannover launched the 'Hydrogen + Fuel Cells EUROPE' event—Europe's largest trade fair for all things hydrogen, fuel cells and stationary batteries—at the Hannover Messe this year. The next event will be from the 17th to the 21st of April, 2023.

 

There are numerous institutes, university facilities, networks and funding schemes working in research, consultancy and solution deployment in the sustainability sector. They include:

 

Leibniz Research Center Energy 2050: an energy research network founded in 2013 to unify earlier projects; it brings together over 300 researchers from multiple faculties at the University of Hannover and serves as a competence partner for society and industry.

 

Klimaschutzagentur Region Hannover GmbH: one of Germany’s first climate protection agencies, founded in 2001. It works with local government, stakeholders and businesses, offering advice and analysis to companies and homeowners on climate protection measures.

 

The proKlima Enercity Fund: established in 1998, it's supported by Enercity and the cities of Hannover, Hemmingen, Laatzen, Langenhagen, Ronnenberg and Seelze. It provides advice and subsidies for energy-efficient building construction and renovation.

 

ForWind: the Wind Energy Research Centre of the Universities of Oldenburg, Hannover and Bremen. It's also formed the Research Alliance for Wind Energy with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES.

 

KEAN: the Lower Saxony Climate Protection and Energy Agency (Klimaschutz- und Energieagentur Niedersachsen) is an expert team developing energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for citizens, businesses and municipal authorities.

 

Geozentrum Hannover: a partnership between the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, State Office for Mining, Energy and Geology, and Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics, advising science, industry, the EU and various levels of government on geoscientific issues.

 

IMAGE: HMTG / Lars Gerhardts

Lively or Leisurely: Enjoy Hannover All Year Round

 

Hannover offers something for everyone. For tourists and those planning incentives, break-out activities or team-building days, there's a host of activities and green spaces to enjoy. There's also a wealth of history to explore; the house of Hannover, from the Welf/Guelph dynasty, gave rise to many German and British monarchs, and to Emperor Ivan VI of Russia. This famous family has left behind some of the region's most impressive buildings.

 

Hannover hosts the biggest Marksmen's Funfair in the world and major concerts—outdoors at the Heinz von Heiden football stadium or the Park Stage, or indoors at the ZAG Arena or the Swiss Life Hall. There are museums and galleries aplenty to visit during the day, and countless clubs, restaurants and bars in which to enjoy your evening.

 

One great way of exploring is to follow the Red Thread, a 4.2 km path that takes you to Hannover's best architectural, historical and entertaining sights.

 

 

IMAGE: HMTG / Lars Gerhardts

Hannover Highlights

 

If your time is limited, here are the must-see sights.

 

Herrenhausen and the Royal Gardens

 

Herrenhausen is one of my favourite places in Hannover, mainly because of its many green spaces. You can walk from the green university campus across to the Georgengarten and all the way up to the Royal Gardens 'in the green'.

 

If you've been to the Palace of Versailles, a visit to Herrenhausen's Royal Gardens might make you think you're back there! These award-winning Gardens are open all year round and provide a unique venue for classical concerts and performances. At their heart is the Great Garden, one of Europe's most important baroque gardens. It has colourful formal flowerbeds, magnificent sculptures, lovely fountains and a small outdoor theatre, all carefully restored to their original form of 300 years ago.

 

The Palace Museum, housed in the wings of the rebuilt Palace, gives an insight into the history of the Gardens, Hannover's monarchy, and some famous former residents. The Berggarten, or Botanic Garden, displays plant species from around the globe, including a stunning orchid collection. The Sea Life Hannover aquarium is also found here, where the Palm House once stood.

 

Sustainability is carefully considered here: the water for the Great Garden comes from the Leine river, and the leaves are composted and reused as humus.

 

You can purchase a combined ticket for the Great Garden, Botanical Garden and Palace Museum, which costs only €8,00 (less during the off-season). The Royal Gardens host the International Firework Competition every year, attracting the world's best pyrotechnicians. If you can't get a ticket, grab a blanket and head to the adjacent Georgengarten—you're guaranteed a great view of the display.

 

Hannover Adventure Zoo

 

Hannover Adventure Zoo features seven zones, each of which seeks to recreate the habitat of a different geographical region. Boat trips, safaris and underwater viewing areas let you get up close to the Zoo's 2,000 animals, and the beautiful natural landscapes alone make it worth the trip. The Zoo also has a commendable commitment to species conservation and nature education.

 

IMAGE: Michael Abid

Marienburg Castle

 

Built by King George V of Hannover between 1858 and 1867 for his wife Marie, Marienburg Castle is one of Germany's most impressive neo-Gothic buildings. You can explore this castle of fairy-tale towers and spires yourself or take one of the themed tours. Intended originally as a summer palace, Marienburg Castle became a place of safety for Marie when the Kingdom of Hannover lost the war against the Prussians in 1867. It offers an insight into the history of the period as well as amazing views of the surrounding landscape.

 

The Old Town

 

Wander into the Old Town for the history and stay to soak up the atmosphere in one of its countless cafés, bars or restaurants. This picturesque area, with its narrow streets and alleys, was once shunned as a place rife with poverty and crime, and it was badly damaged by fire during World War II. However, today, much of it has been rebuilt, and its historic half-timbered houses, museums and churches make it a beautiful area to explore.

 

Don't miss the Old Town Hall, Hannover's oldest church, the Kreuzkirche, built in 1333, and the Museum of History, a modern building that incorporates the remaining tower from the medieval fortifications. The Museum traces Hannover's history with the help of around half a million objects and 2 million pictures.

 

If you visit on a Saturday from spring to autumn, be sure to visit the flea market at 'Hohes Ufer', the banks of the Leine River, where you can find everything from clothing to curiosities. Come in winter to discover the biggest Christmas market in town here, which will be an unforgettable experience. The atmosphere, and the smell (and taste) of sausages, roasted almonds, and mulled wine, will give you a wonderful festive vibe.

 

The Town Halls

 

The Old Town Hall was built over a period of more than 100 years. The earliest part, dating from 1410, overlooks the Schmiedestrasse (Blacksmith Street). Today, after rebuilds and renovations, it features Romanesque features, gothic gables and an ornamental frieze.

 

The New Town Hall was only completed in 1913, but although relatively recent, it's a stunning building with magnificent mosaics and murals. It's currently the residence of the Mayor and CEO, the head of the municipal administration, but it's always open to visitors.

 

IMAGE: Christian Wyrwa

Get Active or Relax in Hannover's Green Spaces

 

Whether you want to get active, watch wildlife or take a relaxing stroll, one of Hannover's numerous natural spaces will provide a perfect spot.

 

Stadtpark Hannover

 

This charming city park is in the Zoo district. Take a shady stroll underneath the trees, play ball games or soak up the sun on one of the park's sun-loungers.

 

Lake Steinhude

 

Northern Germany's largest lake is ideal for biking or watersports, including swimming, sailing, surfing, rowing, canoeing, pedal boating and above all, kiteboarding. Or, of course, you could just relax on its sandy beach! The surrounding countryside is a nature-lover's paradise, and you may spot the endangered water buffalo that have been introduced here. There's also an Adventure Park with treetop high ropes and the island fortress of Wilhelmstein to explore. Although events are scheduled all year round, you should try to get here during the third weekend of August for the major event, including fireworks and boats in a magical atmosphere. If you are planning some time off around the Lake Steinhude with your team or organisation, don't be shy and ask for a quote for one of their guided tours or the "Carefree Days" package.

 

 

IMAGE: HMTG / Lars Gerhardts

Maschsee Lake

 

Hannover's inner-city holiday spot! The lake offers watersports and recreation, and its three-week-long Maschsee Lake Festival is one of northern Germany's biggest events. The festival features live music, food, sporting events and dancing, and attracts more than 2 million visitors. There's really no better spot to let your hair down.

 

The Eilenriede

 

Arguably Europe's largest city forest, Eilenriede is Hannover's 6.5 km2 'green lung'. Explore its ponds, bridges, sculptures and monuments via 80 km of hiking trails, 38 km of cycle paths or 11 km of bridle paths. The forest also features playgrounds, sports pitches, toboggan hills, sports trails, fitness equipment, a mini golf course and a lawn labyrinth. There are also several restaurants, kiosks and beer gardens for refreshments. It's the perfect place to relax and take in the peace and tranquillity of the city.

 

Deister

 

Around 25 km from Hannover, you'll find Deister, a beautiful, wooded mountain area. It's a great natural space for hiking, biking and other activities, and for a relaxing picnic. But it also offers grand manor houses, historic timbered houses, magnificent monasteries, charming village churches and numerous watermills and windmills. There are also lookout towers that provide amazing views over the surrounding countryside.

 

IMAGE: Martin Kirchner

Hannover's Districts

 

We've covered the Old Town and Herrenhausen above. But as a long-term resident of Hannover, I also recommend that you take time to visit:

 

The City Centre

 

I've lived in three different districts of Hannover, but I'm always drawn back to the centre. You might find the Niki-de-Saint-Phalle-Promenade, an underground shopping street, from scent alone, thanks to its many snack bars and restaurants (including my favourite tea and candy shop, Kräuterbasar). Nearby, the Ernst-August-Galerie mall offers around 150 shops and eateries. It's powered by 100% renewable energy and has a photovoltaic system on the roof.

Hannover has a good selection of sustainable stores, including the Greenality Store, which sells sustainable, Fairtrade fashion. But if shopping is making you hungry, head for the Markthalle, a market selling sustainable products, local produce, homemade dishes and food to go! Or visit Anna Leine, a café with a sustainable ethos and diverse dishes that use seasonal, regional and socially-produced ingredients.

 

My two favourite bars here are Sausalitos, which serves my favourite Mai Tai, and the rooftop beach bar, Schöne Aussichten 360°. It has a great view and during the summer, it's the perfect place to enjoy cocktails, delicious food and great music from a sun lounger! For entertainment, head to the GOP Varieté to watch international performers from acrobats to magicians, or to the Staatsoper Hannover (State Opera House).

 

Linden

 

Linden-Limmer has a very special vibe: it's 'cool', colourful and busy, and with parks either side of the river, it's a district where life is lived outside. If you want to live like a local and just hang out at a café or park, that's called "Limmern" (verb or participle!). The streets are full of small boutiques, cafés and eco-friendly shops. LINDENbackt! eG is a cooperative bakery, confectionery and café: the perfect place to pick up a delicious organic snack.

 

 

IMAGE: HMTG / Lars Gerhardts

Hannover: You Really Can Have It All

 

Hannover's inner-city forest and nearby lakes mean it seamlessly combines country living with all the benefits of city life; there's no need to choose one or the other. It also offers numerous events, leisure activities and attractions, and its eco-friendly ethos means it's easy to enjoy yourself sustainably. That makes Hannover the perfect place for a holiday.

 

However, its first-class business events facilities and helpful expert team also make it the ideal city to host your green meeting or conference. When it's time to give your delegates a break, you can be confident that you can arrange an interesting tie-in event for them here too.

 

Whatever brings you to Hannover, you will be glad you came—and eager to return.

 

 

 

 

 

To organise your next meeting, conference or incentive tour in compliance with the highest sustainability standards or find out more about booking the perfect sustainable stay please visit:

 

 

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