This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Convention center" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (March 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

The Hanover Fairground in Hanover, Germany

A convention center (American English; or conference centre in British English)[1] is a large building that is designed to hold a convention, where individuals and groups gather to promote and share common interests. Convention centers typically offer sufficient floor area to accommodate several thousand attendees. Very large venues, suitable for major trade shows, are sometimes known as exhibition halls. Convention centers typically have at least one auditorium and may also contain concert halls, lecture halls, meeting rooms, and conference rooms. Some large resort area hotels include a convention center.

In Francophone countries, the term is palais des congrès (such as the Palais des Congrès de Paris) or centre des congrès (such as the Centre des congrès de Quebec).[2]


A southern entrance of the Helsinki Fair Centre in Pasila, Helsinki, Finland


The original convention centers or halls were in castles and palaces. Originally a hall in a castle would be designed to allow a large group of lords, knights and government officials to attend important meetings with the king. A more ancient tradition would have the king or lord decide disputes among his people. These administrative actions would be done in the great hall and would exhibit the wisdom of the king as judge to the general populace.

One of the most famous convention center debacles happened in France on June 20, 1789. King Louis XVI locked a group known as the Third Estate out of the meeting hall in Versailles. This led to the revolutionary group holding their meeting in an indoor tennis court. This was the first modern democratic conference center and lead to the Tennis Court Oath[5] and the French Revolution.

Some historic centers

19th-century exhibition halls

Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building, host of the 1880 World's Fair

See also: Victorian architecture

20th-century exhibition halls

21st-century exhibition halls

Image gallery

See also


  1. ^ "English definition of "convention centre"". Cambridge Dictionaries Online. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Accueil". Centre des congrès de Québec (in French). 28 February 2024. Retrieved 18 April 2024.
  3. ^ Wood, Roy C.; Brotherton, Bob (2008). The SAGE Handbook of Hospitality Management. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. pp. 413–414. ISBN 978-1-4129-0025-6.
  4. ^ Convention Industry Council (February 2011). The Economic Significance of Meeting to the U.S. Economy (Report). PwC.
  5. ^ "Tennis Court Oath | Summary & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
  6. ^ "The History of Conference Centers". Lane End Conference Center. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill and Wood Green, North London". The Victorian Web. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  8. ^ "La Rural | Predio Ferial de Buenos Aires - Centro de Exposiciones, Congresos, Convenciones y Eventos". (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2015-07-27. Retrieved 2016-11-10.
  9. ^ The story of Tampere Trade Fairs