Pioneers of Printing Special Edition: drupa at the Museum of Industry in Ghent

In this special edition of our Pioneers of Printing series we focus on drupa itself, because the Museum of Industry in Ghent recently featured us in an exhibition about the printing industry.

Header picture: © Corlazzzoli

Welcome to a very special edition of our series Pioneers of Printing. This time, its focus is not on a famous personality but on drupa itself that’s part of the Museum of Industry‘s new exhibition about the printing industry. Located in Ghent, Belgium, the museum is a great place for everyone who’s interested in the history of industrialisation.

The Museum of Industry in Ghent

In a former cotton mill, the Museum of Industry today displays a diverse collection explaining how people and machines changed the world around us. On May 4th and 5th 2019, the Museum of Industry celebrated the grand opening of its brand new area dedicated to printing with entertaining workshops and activities for young and old in its impressive factory building. From now on, its 4th floor displays the history of the graphic industry in a permanent exhibition.

Three Centuries of Graphic Industry

The interactive exhibition focuses on the history of printing and brings the industrial past to life with countless stories. Be it a colossal steam machine, old advertisements or the story of a labourer living in a humble factory-provided workman’s dwelling: With the exhibits covering the timespan from 1750 to present day, the Museum of Industry takes its visitors back to the print shops of days gone by and allow them to touch the industry’s future. Historical films and images, notable objects and gripping tales round off the ambience.

Two of the six exhibition blocks inform visitors about the economic growth and the developments of technology in the 1950s respectively about the digitalisation in the 21st century – with references to drupa. But you can also learn more about how Gutenberg invented the metal letters, typography or lithography. We’re proud that drupa is featured in such good company. The museum decided to integrate the world’s largest printing show as a platform where industry innovations are shown.

“Everyone in the Business Knows drupa”

“drupa is part of the exhibition in Ghent because drupa is the biggest event out there to discover the newest inventions, innovations and trends in the graphic business. Also, in preparation of the exhibition, the Museum of Industry interviewed a lot of people who used to work in a print shop or in the graphic industry and a lot of them talked about going to Düsseldorf back in the days to visit drupa. Everyone in the business knows drupa,” explains Marie Kympers, the curator of the exhibition.

The History of drupa

But how did drupa became such a success? As you hopefully know, drupa provides crucial impulses for print, media, packaging production, and industrial applications since many years.  That’s one reason why drupa is an international magnet for visitor target groups from a wide variety of industries.

Since its very first edition in 1951 drupa grew year by year: Back then we started with 195,185 visitors and 527 exhibitors. During the last drupa in 2016 we counted 260,000 visitors from 183 different countries. What a development! We’re really happy to see that the atmosphere at drupa 2016 could hardly be topped: The investment climate was extremely good and has far exceeded all expectations. As the 11-day trade fair closed its doors the 1,837 exhibitors from 54 countries unanimously reported excellent business deals, extremely promising contacts and a positive spirit for the global printing industry.

Now, we can’t wait for drupa 2020 to welcome guests from all over the world again and celebrate our industry with them for the 17th time – maybe by humming the latest drupa song. It was in 1986 that the first drupa song was composed and since 2000 we have a song for drupa every time. One of them was even produced by our colleague Dirk Zeisler.

You want to learn more about the printing industry and drupa? Don’t worry if you’re not able to visit the exhibition in Ghent – we already look forward to welcome you next year at drupa 2020!

Why do you think is drupa a Pioneer of Printing? Share your thoughts and memories in the comment section.