Ligna, the world's premier trade fair for the forestry and wood industries has a unique format in that it covers the entire wood value chain, from forestry and forest technology, right through to wood processing, woodworking and wood bioenergy.
By the mid-Seventies, wood and forest industry manufacturers at the big Hannover Messe industrial exhibition were developing space requirements that justified their own independent show. In 1975 Ligna became a standalone trade exhibition at the Hannover exhibition center, staged at biennial intervals in line with industry requirements. Featuring anything and everything to do with the renewable raw material wood, Ligna grew to become the world's leading trade exhibition for its sector - a position which it was able to considerably expand on from 1985-1995. In this regard, the political and economic opening of Central and Eastern Europe was a significant factor in helping Ligna set new standards.
Even before the fall of the iron curtain in 1989, Ligna had already reached a very high level, featuring just under 1100 exhibitors, half of which came from outside Germany. These exhibitors described the show as being ideal in every respect, both with regard to its location as well as to the quality of its 88,000 visitors from Germany and abroad. Ligna had always been a trade fair with virtually no casual visitors – at a rate of 94%, the share of trade visitors could hardly be higher.
Just two years later, at the advent of a new technological era in which the computer was now also making inroads into the wood and forestry industry, the event provided the setting for full order books and a record number of new business relationships. The introduction of a European internal market in 1991 gave Ligna an additional boost, and the changed economic relations in Central and Eastern Europe also became tangible. Russia became the official Partner Country. With net display space of 122,000m2, Ligna set a new record. This also underscored the correctness of the decision to create an independent event and retain Hannover as the location. For the first time ever, visitor attendance reached 100,000, and more than 1300 companies were represented as exhibitors.
In 2005 the new show-within-a-show entitled Handwerk, Holz & mehr (Wood Crafts) was introduced. With the help of independent branding and targeted marketing as well as new special displays and the inclusion of opinion-makers and industry representatives, the organizers succeeded in achieving a respectable start – 15,400 specialists from the fields of cabinetmaking and joinery as well as interior finishing attended the event, 66% more than at the previous event.
Ligna 2007 presented itself in top form. Brisk visitor traffic in the exhibition halls was accompanied by a plethora of innovative ideas at exhibitors' stands. In comparison with Ligna 2005, the percentage of foreign exhibitors was up again, this time reaching a total share of 56.1%. A total of 1832 exhibitors from 49 different nations presented their innovations under the motto "The Entire World of Wood on Show". A significant criterion for the show's success was the quality of its audience – among the 107,000-plus visitors, 82.1% consisted of top-level decision-makers.