Industry News

In-person drupa 2021 cancelled; goes online as “virtual.drupa” on April 20-23, 2021


Following close consultation with exhibitors and partners, the 2021 edition of drupa, the leading trade fair for printing technologies, will be cancelled due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The next event will take place as scheduled from May 28-June 7,  2024, in Düsseldorf, Germany. To maintain the momentum until then, organizers will offer “virtual.drupa”, a four-day digital event from April 20=23, 2021 during the time frame drupa was originally scheduled for.
“The pandemic has caused great uncertainty among exhibitors and visitors regarding participation in drupa 2021. Travel restrictions and budget pressure have increasingly intensified the situation in the print industry,” explains Erhard Wienkamp, MD-Messe Düsseldorf. “We have made this decision together with our partners who support this step. It was preceded by a detailed process of considering the current conditions and the needs of the industry.”
Sabine Geldermann, Project Director Print Technologies, adds, “Our primary goal remains to support the industry in any way we can to keep in contact at a national and international level, further develop their network and generate leads. To this end, we will hold an interim event from April 20-23, providing our exhibitors and visitors with an additional sales channel and allowing them to make reliable plans.”
Claus Bolza-Schünemann, chairman at König und Bauer and president of drupa, welcomes this approach: “A virtual event is exactly the right format in the current time.  “Attending drupa under the usual parameters was just too great a risk for many exhibitors, given declining export and turnover figures, as well as significant travel restrictions, which would also affect visitors. The new digital forum is a virtual platform, providing a reliable pillar and an opportunity to maintain valuable communications within the industry until 2024.”
Launched last October, the drupa preview platform already offers an impression of what ‘virtual.drupa’ will look like. It will give companies the opportunity to showcase themselves and their innovations virtually, as well as maintain existing contacts and establish new ones via the matchmaking feature. In addition, the conference schedule of the five drupa hot spots will provide key incentives and set the agenda for an online transfer of knowledge. For instance, international speakers from vertical markets will present success stories of Future Technologies in the Cube, outlining the future of our industry.
“Our members are telling us, that trade fairs to drive their business forward are still in great demand. The value and appeal of drupa remain intact. The decision to suspend it in 2021 is entirely due to the pandemic,” adds  Dr. Markus Heering, MD-VDMA Printing and Paper Technology Association. “In the long run, it is important for all of us to maintain drupa as an international platform in Europe, as it displays the diversity of our industry. 200 years of expertise are rooted in Europe and must continue. However, we welcome the introduction of the new digital platform as an interim solution until 2024.”
The printing industry continues to stand clearly behind its world-leading trade show, whose top international reach is unbroken. As a platform that calls for an open and competitive market comparison, it is a driver for innovations, from which exhibitors and visitors alike benefit. Through direct contact, technology trends and innovations can be experienced and compared and new synergies discovered. Its impetus, sales strength, unique atmosphere, comprehensive industry exchange and intensive network maintenance are aspects that can only be depicted to a limited extent via online formats. The organizers are aiming to meet this demand with ‘virtual.drupa’ as well as the annual “Print & Digital Convention” in Düsseldorf, which was developed in cooperation with the Fachverband Medienproduktion e.V. (fmp), until drupa returns as a live event in 2024 with new, valuable parameters and hybrid propositions.
“Today’s decision to cancel drupa 2021 and present it in a different format is an event- and industry-specific decision,” says Wienkamp. “For all other Messe Düsseldorf events, we are in close contact with the authorities and partners of the respective trade fairs, with whom we will assess the situation in good time and make responsible decisions.”
A drupa Q&A is available at

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