Trend platform with a long history: From "Partner of Progress" to "Import Shop Berlin" to today's "Bazaar Berlin"
For more than 60 years, Bazaar Berlin has been Germany's most important international sales fair for handicrafts, design, natural goods as well as fair trade and socially produced products. High-quality country-specific unique pieces from all over the world and with a special history - that's what Bazaar Berlin stands for. But also locally and regionally produced products, re-use, recycling and upcycling are part of the fixed fair repertoire.
The history of Bazaar Berlin begins in the 60s: Started as a development event in 1962 under the name "Partner of Progress", linking good business with social commitment was an important concern of Bazaar Berlin. Since then, the international sales fair regularly supports and promotes programs for ethically correct, fair trade and sustainable production of goods - and invites you on a journey around the world in the Berlin exhibition halls.
1962 to 1989 – Übersee-Import-Messe "Partner of Progress"
After the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the "Partners of Progress" event for Third World countries developed out of a desire to showcase internationality in Berlin. At the time, the overseas import fair depended on the granting of enormous subsidies and incentives such as special tariff preferences for textiles and special quotas.
From the 1960s to the 1980s, the fair with its test market was considered a real insider's tip - especially among the residents of the neighboring districts such as Charlottenburg, Wilmersdorf, Steglitz, Zehlendorf and Spandau. Many visitors from the first decades are still regulars at Bazaar Berlin today.
1989 to 1992 - trade section "Import Messe Berlin" and public section "Import Shop Berlin”
After the financial support measures changed after reunification, the Overseas Import Fair lost its attractiveness for exhibitors and the specialized trade. This necessitated a commercialization and reorientation, which shifted the focus from a trade fair to a trade fair for the public: The former overseas import trade fair "Partner des Fortschritts" became the "Import Messe Berlin" as an order fair for the specialized trade and the "Import Shop Berlin" for the public.
After the renaming to "Import Messe Berlin" and after the opening of the Eastern European countries, the fair gained in popularity on the exhibitor side and with international institutions - from which it still benefits today. With this change, the character of the trade visitors has changed at the same time. In particular, small retailers and boutique owners who do not have import know-how now use the fair as a source of procurement.
1992 to 2013: Import Shop Berlin
The former test market for the West Berlin population developed independently into a consumer trade fair with growing exhibitor and visitor numbers. With this new orientation, the exhibitor groups and their product range also changed. In addition to the non-European exhibitors, new exhibitors from numerous Eastern European countries began to appear in the 1990s.
2000 to 2011: Introduction of the event parts, premiere of the Tukan logo and 50 years Import Shop Berlin
In 2000, the event areas "Natural Living", "Art & Style" and "Winter at Home" were introduced. Under the motto "The most beautiful in the world", the toucan logo celebrated its premiere in 2005. In 2011, the Import Shop Berlin in the exhibition halls under the Radio Tower celebrated its 50th anniversary.
since 2014: Bazaar Berlin
The tradition-steeped trade show has carried its current name "Bazaar Berlin" since 2014. The name change was intended to emphasize even more strongly the bazaar character of the trade show and the diversity of its offerings. The special themes became equal exhibition areas - and set their own accents in the hall design in five theme worlds.
The World Market theme world comprises the international ethnic sector and forms the core of Bazaar Berlin. Here, exhibitors present the diverse world of goods from their countries at small and medium-sized stands, conveying a special flair. A highlight of this theme world is the popular Africa hall "Living Africa". In 2000, the Natural Living theme world emerged from the then burgeoning market for natural goods and organic products. Since 2004, the Winter at Home theme world has been part of the trade fair - matching the trade fair date in November, products for the Christmas and winter season are offered here.
The relaunch of the trade fair in 2005 also led to a change in terms of content and concept: the Art & Style segment was expanded to include high-quality lifestyle products. Here, costum-made jewelry and interior designers from Europe and other continents present their creations.
In 2014, the fair was expanded to include the "Fair Trade Market" segment to meet the growing interest of the conscious public in sustainable and fairly produced goods. Since 2021, this themed world has borne the name Fair & Social with offerings from social sponsors, companies and organizations. Only exhibitors who either already produce or import according to WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization) guidelines or who are approved by an independent external committee (AG Fair Trade Market) on a case-by-case basis will be admitted here. In this way, the tradition-rich trade fair also places an increased focus on conscious consumption, sustainability and products from fair trade.
In 2022, Bazaar Berlin celebrated its 60th anniversary.
"I love the special atmosphere of the fair that is created by the many different goods, and also by the participants from many different countries.
It is great to see the vendors offering their own products and selling them with a lot of expertise, authenticity and heart.
This is very different than buying such goods in some soulless store or even over the Internet.
It is always a pleasure to meet practically the whole world in the exhibition halls of the Bazaar and to see offers from diverse regions and cultures united "under one roof" and to discover something new again and again.
The Bazaar Berlin is for us: multicultural, tradition, joy of life.
I always plan a day's vacation for this and set aside some euro in advance.
You can always find something extraordinary for yourself or as a gift.
Even though the world has become smaller in the course of my life and I was allowed to see a lot in the countries of origin during my travels, the moment of entering the first hall with the colorful stalls, the certain noises, buzz of voices and also the smells is a special one for me again every year.
I still look forward to it like a child -every year anew- and am sad when the hour-long Bazaar visit is over.
But fortunately there is the safe perspective: I will be back next year!