Pope election and University of Excellence
Konstanz has long been on my bucket list for travel. On the one hand because of the fantastic location at the western end of Lake Constance, on the other hand because of the exciting history. The largest city on Lake Constance brings culture, nature, business and science in harmony - and that only 84.000 residents. One reason for this is likely to be the university, which has been successful on several occasions in the excellence initiative.
The Council of Constance with the only valid Pope's election north of the Alps as an outstanding event before 600 years (1414 - 1418) is still present in the city today. Located right on the harbor, near the historic old town, the Council House is just one of the sights that recall this medieval world event.
Innovative in the MICE area
However, anyone who thinks that contemplative Constance is only traditionally on the way, is wrong. Because there are also very innovative projects in the city, for example in the field of MICE (short for meetings, incentives, conferences and events).
With the creation of the so-called micelab, the Lake Constance region intends to break new ground across borders - away from frontal lessons, row seating and powerpoint sprinkling towards more participation, creativity and fun. And how such a lively, contemporary congress can look in detail and how the event rooms can be designed, exactly what 2015 has been offering the micelab: bodensee research results and Further education for practical implementation in the MICE industry.
5 tips for exciting conferences in Konstanz
But what do the most exciting conference locations in Konstanz look like? We offer 5 suggestions.
1. Council building - days when one of the pope was elected
The council building certainly counts among the most spectacular conference locations. Although the building looks like a three-storey, massive stone building with hipped roof, visually rather inconspicuous, in fact it was built 1388 as a warehouse for travelers and local dealers and served for almost 500 years as a trading center for goods at the port of Constance. However, the Conclave for the election of Pope Martin V took place here during the Constance Council in the year 1417 - the only valid Pope's election north of the Alps. The massive oak pillars are still true to the original from the time.
The council building is considered the largest preserved medieval secular building in southern Germany and has been used as a restaurant, ballroom and congress center since 1912. Upper and lower rooms are decorated with historicist frescoes, the massive oak columns are still from the Middle Ages.
The smaller "Untere Saal" offers space for events, exhibitions, presentations or family celebrations up to 400 persons. It can be subdivided into the small area "The Konzilstube" for approx. 100 persons and the large lower hall for approx. 300 persons.
300 events per year
On the first floor of the Council is the "Upper Hall". The adjoining, spacious event terrace, offers a beautiful view over Lake Constance and the port of Konstanz and room for 100-800 persons. Still relatively new is the expansion of the attic - in the small room can accommodate up to 200 people.
There are around 300 events a year - even parties for up to 1300 people. If more space is needed, there is a close cooperation with the nearby hotels Halm and Steigenberger. Practical: Catering and room rental are in one hand.
2. Lake Constance Forum
On the other hand, the new congress and event center Bodenseeforum presents itself as modern and innovative, for which only recently a former factory building was rebuilt. Since the opening 2016 there have already been events with Reinhold Messner or the Bavarian Landesbank, in total about 120 events with about 85.000 visitors.
Go swimming during the meeting
The Lake Constance Forum is well equipped for that. It offers approximately 2.000 square meters of conference and exhibition space, capacities for up to 1.000 guests, 14 modular variable event rooms, state-of-the-art event technology and is located directly on the Rhine.
Since it is great that large glass fronts from almost every room from a panoramic view of the water and the nearby old town, yes you can even enjoy coffee and cake in the open air and right on the water, take a short walk or even in between for refreshment and cooling jump into the Rhine.
Modern event technology
However, the event technology, which is probably the most modern in Konstanz, is really inspiring. From speakers to the Weframe, an 85 inch monitor that replaces beamer, flipchart and handouts, because the data can be directly transferred to the participants' devices.
An important step towards a paperless event. The Bodenseeforum maintains an exclusive cooperation with the manufacturer, the in-house salaried technicians are specially trained on this equipment.
3. RIVA Seehotel
This fits well the probably most luxurious hotel in Konstanz, the RIVA-Seehotel. His highlight is the roof terrace for me. Because here is located next to a roof garden and the hotel pool, which is also heated in winter to 30 degrees and so allows swimming with a view of Lake Constance.
The hotel is a modern addition next to an 1908 Art Nouveau villa, which also houses the 2 star Ophelia restaurant.
On the ground floor, the two buildings are connected. The outdoor area was designed by the Swiss landscape architect Enzo Enea.
Rooms and meeting rooms
The 45 rooms and suites are spacious and minimalist-modern, the Wi-Fi works, unlike in other hotels, with a login and then comparatively stable.
In addition, there are four technically well-equipped rooms between 25 m² and 120 m² for professional, exclusive meetings. Currently only two meeting rooms are accessible due to conversions, but with the opening of the extension, the offer will be larger.
4. Steigenberger Inselhotel
Even at the Steigenberger Inselhotel in close proximity to the harbor and the council building, people meet on historic ground: Already 1236 was built on the island the Dominican monastery, in which today the hotel is housed. In today's bridal suite was at the beginning of the Council of Constance, from the 6. December 1414 until 24. March 1415 Jan Hus imprisoned in the dungeon of the monastery.
From the monastery to the hotel
1785, the monks were expelled from the island by the Austrian Emperor Joseph II, the monastery was leased to the Geneva manufacturer and banker Jacques Louis Macaire de L'Or, who opened a cloth factory here.
When this was no longer worthwhile, Eberhard Graf Zeppelin, whose mother was a native Macaire, opened 1875 a hotel in the building. His brother, the famous airship pioneer Ferdinand Graf Zeppelin, was born into 1838 in the hotel's smallest meeting room, the 41m² Zeppelin Salon.
Days in the monastery church
The island was sold 1963 to the state of Baden Wuerttemberg and leased by the latter to the Steigenberger hotel company, which re-opens the Hotel 1966 as Steigenberger Inselhotel. Since 1992 the island belonged to the Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus AG.
The hotel has 100 rooms (72 double rooms and 28 single rooms), two suites and 6 meeting rooms. In the large ballroom, the former monastery church, can accommodate up to 400 people. Worth seeing are the medieval frescoes and the foyer, which is located in the cloister of the former monastery.
5. Mainau Island - days like Nobel Prize winners
A very exciting conference concept is the 45 hectare island of Mainau. Because it takes the motto "Days in the Green" literally - for example, in the regular annual accounts of the Nobel Laureate Meeting.
Nobel Laureate Meeting Outdoor
About 1.000 people are then eg in a panel discussion, which takes place in the 150 years old arboretum next to massive redwood trees under the sky, exchange with inspiring conversations about the island or are distributed at a picnic in the spacious park with thousands of tulips, hundreds of rhododendrons, fragrant roses , Perennials and colorful dahlias.
In addition, the island of Mainau also offers suitable infrastructure such as flipcharts to carry around or mobile showers, if the conference program also includes swimming or kayaking.
Ecological Charter with Albert Schweitzer
On the other hand, you will not be able to realize elaborate laser shows or musical sound effects on the island, because economic, ecological and social aspects should keep the balance:
The founder of the present-day company, Lennart Bernadotte, born Prince of Sweden, designed the former summer residence of his great-grandfather Grand Duke Friedrich I of Baden into a flower and plant paradise and made it accessible to the public. Since 1961, there is the Charter Der Mainau, initiated by Albert Schweitzer, which writes nature and environment in a big way.
Meeting rooms and cooking classes
But even bad weather is taken care of, there are meeting rooms for smaller groups in the gatehouse next to the baroque Deutschordensschloss by 1776, in the Comturey at the harbor with bakery and restaurant there is room for up to 300 persons, if you connect all three rooms.
There is also a show kitchen, which is used for events and cooking classes.
Gastronomy and leisure activities
In general, there are all sorts of gastronomy on the island, from the traditional Swedish pub in the style of a Swedish country inn on the castle café to the organic beer garden.
And even in the rain there is something exciting to discover, such as the tropical butterfly house, where the year frolicking day and moths in a total of about 120 species frolicking, and the palm house with around 20 different types of palm trees.
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