Portrait of Senator Melanie Leonhard on the balcony of the city hall

What counts when we aren't counting guests

5 min

Interview with Senator Leonhard

The quintessential purpose of Hamburg’s exhibition halls is to provide space for industry and public fairs, corporate and employee meetings, festivals and grand galas with several thousand guests. But in some cases, the trade fair organisation becomes a partner when the City of Hamburg needs help in an emergency.

Sometimes a hall may be needed for a few hours only, for example when a residential building must be evacuated and its residents accommodated for a short period of time. In other instances, the exhibition halls may serve as temporary shelters for refugees when there are just too many of them. And in 2021, the exhibition halls were home to Germany’s biggest vaccination centre for eight months.

In our interview, Hamburg’s Senator for Social Matters, Melanie Leonhard, speaks about the special role Hamburg Messe und Congress plays in crisis situations.

A female doctor wearing a mask covering her mouth and nose and protective clothing talks to a German Red Cross worker