Six thousand neurologists in Budapest for the biggest medical congress of the year

Date: 18/07/2023


The 9th Annual Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN), held in the beginning of July at the Hungexpo Budapest Congress and Exhibition Centre, was a great success. The four-day event was attended by 5748 visitors and 1974 virtual visitors representing 116 countries. 460 speakers were invited to the congress.

Gábor Ganczer, CEO of Hungexpo, said: “More than 400 staff worked on the event at the same time. I am proud that with our renewed infrastructure, we are now able to host the largest congresses on a world scale. Of course, the know-how that the Hungexpo organizing team brought to the event was also essential to its success.”

Head of the EAN Congress Department, Peter Hofmann:

“This was our first congress held away from the EAN’s base of Vienna since 2019 and the experience was great. The Hungexpo proved to be an outstanding venue, appreciated by our sponsors, participants, and board alike, and the local team was eager to fulfil our demands and expectations.”

Hungexpo’s 30,000 square metres of exhibition space were used to host a wide range of events. Lectures, workshops, opening and closing ceremonies were presented in the four-storey Congress Centre. In addition to the 2,000-seat auditorium, there were a total of 12 section rooms for presentations and a further 40 meeting rooms and offices.

Hall G, with 9,500 square metres of floor space, served as the venue for the exhibition and other community spaces, with 76 exhibitors on around 2400 square metres of stand space, showcasing the latest innovations, services and developments in neurology. More than 1,100 posters were displayed in the 700 square metre e-poster area, facilitating scientific dialogue and knowledge sharing between researchers. In addition, a ‘Living room’ community area was set up to facilitate networking among participants.

The congress also required a great deal of logistical planning. The catering team served more than 12 000 main courses. The scale of the event is reflected in the fact that 4 tonnes of vegetables, 800kg of salad, 1.5 tonnes of fruit and 500 litres of coffee were consumed over the four days.  Sustainability was a key priority for the event organisers. Instead of transporting balloon bottled water from afar, the organisers used locally connected water filtration equipment to provide fresh, high-quality drinking water for the congress.

Disposable plastic utensils were completely banned – only paper and wood degradable utensils were used. Catering was offered in six venues throughout the congress area, with all menus being exclusively vegetarian, most of the offer was vegan and special attention was paid to catering for special dietary needs – with high quality lactose and gluten-free dishes.

More than 12 000 pieces of furniture were set out to allow participants to comfortably engage in discussions and networking. The event employed 315 hostesses and volunteers to assist guests, and the technological infrastructure was reliable, with Wifi, IT and AV services provided by a 50-strong team of technicians. More than 40 cameras were used to broadcast the presentations to online participants.

Closing and dismantling the event was a particular challenge for HUNGEXPO, as another major international event – the seventh edition of the WHO Conference of Ministers of Environment and Health – was due to start the following morning. This meant that the entire congress centre had to be reset in just one night, a task that was accomplished with the coordinated efforts of a team of 200 people.

The 2023 EAN Congress had a significant impact on business tourism in Budapest, with hotels in the city filling up and the event generating approximately 20 000 overnight stays in the capital. The Budapest Convention Bureau provided all participants with a 54-day Budapest public transport pass and, together with HUNGEXPO, organised a study tour for 6 event organisers, each with several thousand participants, who were able to observe how an event of this size is organised in Budapest and to see Hungexpo’s organisational capabilities.

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