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Dusseldorf Show

david lloyd

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Well, finally realised a long held ambition to visit this show but did it live up to my expectations?


The short answer is no.


The various articles I have read on the show always build it up to be 'THE best motorhome show in europe' or, 'a show not to be missed' and I have waited for many years to go along to this extravaganza until this year when we planned our trip to Germany and included the show as our first port of call.


Upon arrival at the camping fields entrance we were directed straight past the excellent motorhome service point (sani-station) which we needed after three days on the road, without even being asked if we needed it. At the furthest camping field from the facilities we were again directed into the furthest line of motorhomes and left to park up. Unlike UK shows there was no information leaflets on the site, the facilities, water points, transport etc etc. So, after parking up we decided to go back to ask the marshall and, en route, my wife thought she would use one of the many portaloos dotted around the camping fields. She soon changed her mind as it was impossible to get within twenty feet of one without a full anti-bacterial suit with it's own clean air supply!


The marshal explained where the sani-station was so I lugged the toilet cassette over there to find that we could have stopped to empty the tanks as we came in. There are also very clean toilet and shower facilities located there which we did use during our stay but soon found out that half of the actual showers were only giving cold water - whatever happened to German efficiency so far?


There is also an information cabin here where we bought our entrance tickets to the show so I also asked about electric hook-up pitches. As it was the Wednesday after the opening weekend motorhomes were beginning to leave and getting a hook-up was no problem so we paid the extra and got moved. I was under the impression that hook-up pitches were nigh on impossible to get as they were mainly kept for the disabled but next morning it soon became clear that the majority were taken, unsurprisingly, by trade stand reprerentatives who would all start making thier way towards the exhibition halls first thing in the mornings and return in the evening.


Finally on the camping side, the 'entertainment' can only be described as laughable compared to that found at outdoor shows here. The campground is massive but with only one small marquee you have to get there pretty early to enjoy the meagre offering.


Inside the show it is true to say that it is probably the BIGGEST show covering something like thirteen halls. However, probably half of these are caravans, then there are many more filled with caravan awnings, tents and hiking/walking equipment etc. A couple of the halls are filled with huge RV's so that really cuts down the amount of motorhomes we were going to see. Of the motorhomes there only one british company (RS Motorhomes) were represented - and these were large RV's over £120,000. Most, if not all, continental converters were there though but many do not have UK importers so that really left the marques like Hobby, Hymer, Knaus, Laika, Dethleffs and so on.


Undoubtedly, if you are in the market for one of these it is a great place to see and compare all the models in one place. Having said that, we were looking at twin (fixed) bed layouts and found a couple that we liked but went to see if Hymer (who have a hall all to themselves) had a suitable model. Yes, they did so we found a helpful sales chap to point it out to us but, lo and behold, it was the only model they didn't have on display! It's a long way to go to get to see all the various converters but would be worth it if, in fact, you could see them all.


Finally there was the accessories. In one hall just about everything that goes to make up a motorhome (bed bases, entrance doors, windows, end panels, roof pods - I could go on) can be seen and is a great place for the self build enthusiast or for the design teams of converters but of little consequence to the average motorhome buyer. The other accessory hall was, again, pitiful compared to the range of trade stands usually found at UK shows. There were many stands selling solar panels, satelite dishes etc but with such high value electrical equipment I would be averse to buying abroad just in case there were subsequent warranty issues arising. Reimo, with a large stand offering all the useful bits and pieces, was about the best but there was little else on offer. If you were in the market for a vacuum cleaner however, there were about six stands selling these and another three or four selling massage chairs and cushions.


Would we go again - err, no. It is a long way to go just to see a show but my expectations were raised by the reviews in the motorhome press but the show at the NEC offers just as much I feel and the outdoor shows here are, I believe, better organised and executed.


Regards, David

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We have always rated the Dusseldorf show and in the main have found that the organisation has been excellent with modern "kneeling" busses running efficiently and regularly to take you to the show.


The entertainment is not to everyones taste but we have found it a bit of fun.


The prices for camping and for the exhibition are a fraction of those at UK shows.


Brit convertors don't show there as in the main they can't stand the competition on quality and price. Autotrail did do for a while but only under the CI banner.


The hall with all the fancy stuff in is in fact intended as a show piece for converters and the public with many of the big firms like Thetford and Dometic etc showing their new products for the following year.


Yes many of the hook up pitches are for the people showing their wares at the show. Remember though they are there for up to 10 days and under trees so not much chance of a solar charge. And unlike many brit converters and sellers are actually using their motorhomes and not just staying in a local hotel.


And I bet the marshal you spoke to answered in English - try getting anyoned to speak a foreign language at a UK show.

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Guest JudgeMental

For the sake of some balance my experience is completely different then yours. I have visited a few shows here and been to Dusseldorf twice and consider it a brilliant event and find your comparison with British shows laughable.


as for entertainment if you consider being charged an additional fee to watch sad old bands and ex TV entertainers going through the motions all well and good. also the food at UK shows is expensive and unedible.


I prefer my experience in Germany where the fast wood is at least edible the "Alt" beer excellent, and sitting at wooden tables with trad jazz or um pa music playing in the background, whilst chatting to friendly Germans a far better experience then I have had here.


there was nothing stopping you driving to the sanitation point at any time during your visit. most visit on entering and when leaving. what UK show have motorhome service stations lol


only used the showers/bathroom once in 2006 and they where immaculate, heated, new and had hot water.


we where there for the first two days of the show last year and although busy never any difficulty or delays on free bus service to the show or at show itself.


As for the NEC, it is a fraction of the size of Düsseldorf and when we went in 2005 both of us got doggy tummy's from a lunch we had there. and failed to see vans we where interested in a they where not on show.



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Depends what you are looking for/expecting. I certainly wouldn't go all that way just for the show, same reason if I lived abroad I would come all the way to the UK just for a show either. We incorporate it as part of our holiday when we go.


We've been twice now, the first times we went into the show for two days, the second time just the one day as we knew what we wanted to do, where to go etc. The show does have caravans as well as motorhomes, but so does the NEC. The only thing I would say is not as good generally as the UK shows is that there are not quite as many accessory stalls but other than that there isn't much difference overall in the 'content' side. Obviously you get different makes of motorhomes on show there, it's be pretty boring if you didn't to be honest as you might just as well go to a UK show instead. As for the prices - in many instances much better than in the UK and that's for a UK specified van!


The showers were very good in the area near to the info etc office and everyone was very friendly. The organisation was very good. The free buses into the old town were also a nice touch. We got chatting to quite a few people as we pottered around the camping area/car park, of all nationalities.


We couldn't go to this year's show as we couldn't get the time off work but will probably visit it again next year all being well.

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HI everyone


Didn't mean to cause offence to anyone who likes the show and tried to bring out what I felt were the good points too.


However, like making the choice of motorhome or caravan, we all have different views, requirements and expectations and the main point I make is that my expectations were raised, in recent reviews of the show, to a level that I subsequently found to be not quite as high.


Best regards, David

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Well I appreciate your comments David. Like you a visit to the show has been a long term "must do" and all the reports I've read have only been positive. Facts are that we all have different needs, priorities and preferences and it would be very odd if we all came away delighted.


I think your detailed account does cover some pretty significant downsides that might help give prospective visitors a more balanced picture.



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We enjoyed the show, the company, the camping and the local hospitality in the evening via the free bus every 10 minutes into town.

Seeing the underside of various jumbo jets on a frequent basis was an added "interest" which thankfully did not go on all night or all day.


Travelling in convoy from Dover with a couple of other UK campers all with two way radios added to the fun.


We went to see European vans, not UK vans. Perhaps David will find what he wants at the NEC.

If so, see you there David





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