70 years of K in Düsseldorf

The anniversary in historical pictures and stories

K in Düsseldorf
70 years of K in Düsseldorf. Photo K

The same year that saw Queen Elizabeth II ascend to the throne, the first artificial heart valve implanted in the USA and the musical “Singin’ in the Rain” inspire millions at the cinema, history was also made in Germany with the inaugural edition of K, hosted in Düsseldorf from 11 – 19 October 1952. At that time nobody suspected this event only just taking off would develop into the world’s leading trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry.

Today, K in Düsseldorf can look back on a success story of 70 years. It is the most relevant information and business platform of the plastics and rubber industry worldwide.  Its position as the leading trade show for the entire industry, where theme leadership and innovation go hand in hand to pave the way for visions for the future, is undisputed. On no other platform is the internationality as high as in Düsseldorf. For K 2022 from 19 – 26 October around 3,000 exhibitors from 61 nations are expected and the Düsseldorf exhibition centre is completely booked.

How it all started

However, K in Düsseldorf also started small once: the debut event ‘Wunder der Kunststoffe’ (miracles of plastics) in 1952 registered 270 exhibiting companies – exclusively from Germany. They occupied approximately 14,000 square metres of net exhibition space.

At the premiere 165,000 visitors marvelled especially at the colorful consumer goods exhibited by plastics processors. Because from 1952 – 1959 K Düsseldorf was purely a showcase of the German industry. Any interested visitor, be it a layman or specialist, was admitted to visit the trade fair. Major attractions on show were products designed to make life more beautiful and convenient. Today, we smile at the advertising of that time, which was also aimed at the modern housewife and introduced her to such post-war achievements as trendy PVC raincoats or sheer nylon stockings – aesthetic epitomes of the economic miracle.

The more the plastics industry specialized and high-tech plastics for special solutions in electronics, medicine, automotive or aerospace attracted attention beyond standard polymers, the more specialists visited the trade fair. In 1963 the break was made – K in Düsseldorf became a special-interest only trade fair of international standing. Since then it has maintained its position as a leading global trade fair for the entire industry. 2019 saw over 220,000 trade visitors from almost 170 nations travel to K on the Rhine River.

The international origin and composition of exhibitors will also guarantee the completeness of the product ranges and a comprehensive overview of the world market at the upcoming K in autumn. Nowhere else will they find such a wealth of innovations, and no other trade show will provide such a variety of impulses for the future of the global plastics and rubber industry.

Event’s own microsite – immerse yourself in 70 years of K in Düsseldorf

Before K 2022 even opens its doors, there is already an opportunity to get in the mood for the trade show’s anniversary. We are celebrating K with its own microsite, inviting you to delve into seven decades of K history and to smile and marvel at historical photos and stories.


The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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