Press releases

Early booking discount and new, innovative special formats for exhibitors

In cooperation with the Bundesverband für Menschen mit Arm- oder Beinamputation e. V. (BMAB), the trade fair team is planning a themed special "Mobile with prostheses" for the first time and is offering a few exclusive presentation opportunities as part of a specialized exhibition accompanying the CON.THERA therapist congress. The 23rd REHAB Karlsruhe - one of the world's leading trade fairs for rehabilitation, therapy, care and inclusion will take place at Messe Karlsruhe from May 22 to 24, 2025. Further information, registration forms and contact details can be found online at:

Inspiration and the latest technological solutions

After three days of inspiration, innovation and interdisciplinary discussions: REHAB 2023 received positive feedback from both visitors and exhibitors alike. Just one year after the previous event was held due to a pandemic-related postponement, the European trade fair for rehabilitation, therapy, care and inclusion opened its doors at the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre from 15 to 17 June. The three days of the event impressively demonstrated how new technologies can help people with disabilities lead a more active and autonomous life. Around 12,000 visitors came to Karlsruhe, including both industry specialists and disabled people and their families. They came to receive personal advice and discover the latest trends and living aids. Across three fully accessible halls, a total of 300 exhibitors from 17 countries presented a broad range of technical innovations for rehabilitation, orthopaedics and medical treatment, as well as care and therapy. These were complemented by qualified advice services like self-help groups. Eleven marketplaces, each focusing on a different topic, showcased a portfolio of high-quality products. Feedback from visitors was extremely positive, with 92.7 per cent of survey respondents giving the event top marks following their visit. The next REHAB will take place according to the usual cycle from 22 to 24 May 2025.

Britta Wirtz, CEO of Messe Karlsruhe, summed up the event: “REHAB has been an important part of Karlsruhe for over 40 years. This city stands for democracy and the rule of law, and strongly supports equal opportunities. REHAB is like a living stage for participation and inclusion, as it showcases technical innovations that can make a meaningful difference to the lives of people with disabilities. These include products made right here in Karlsruhe. I am delighted at how REHAB gives us a platform here in the Karlsruhe region to offer new opportunities, break down barriers and improve participation.”

Entrance situation at the REHAB trade fair. You can see REHAB letters in the background and at the entrance people with and without disabilities scanning their tickets.

A unique mix of visitors, including many from industry

Senior project manager Annika Gehrmeyer confirmed this: “Our idea for REHAB has been very successful. We managed to increase the proportion of professional visitors by ten per cent to 71 per cent, which exhibitors appreciated. The weekdays in particular saw strong numbers of professional visitors attending. At the same time, we have also been able to create valuable contacts between our exhibitors and end users.” Thomas Gast, Managing Director at Össur Deutschland GmbH, shared the positivity: “This was our first time here at REHAB and we are pleased with the amazing positive feedback. We met a lot of therapists who were very interested in what our products are capable of. But our stand also attracted a lot of users.” Big names in the industry like Ottobock were particularly impressed by the diverse range of visitors to REHAB, and were able to explain complex products and services clearly and in person to both industry specialists and users. Alexander Hardt, Market Manager for NeuroMobility at Ottobock HealthCare Deutschland GmbH, explained: “It was very important to us to present Ottobock at REHAB in Karlsruhe. Together with our experts and users, we were able to present our broad range of NeuroMobility living aids to interested visitors, including many medical and orthopaedic professionals. We showed how they can help people with disabilities gain more autonomy in day-to-day life.”

Top marks for premium product portfolio and innovation showcase

According to the visitor survey, the priorities for many visitors were to discover and test new products, enjoy face-to-face discussions and build their knowledge. 96 per cent of respondents praised the quality of the exhibitors and were satisfied with the broad range of products and services on offer. Countless producers used the event to unveil brand-new innovations to a specialist audience and the broader public. One of these was German wheelchair manufacturer Meyra. “We had an excellent event. This was of course driven in part by our product premiere held yesterday in the forum. Our stand was very busy and we had a lot of excellent discussions across the market with retailers, therapists, institutes and health insurers. We also spoke to many end users, which is of course very important. We were extremely satisfied and will be back again in two years’ time”, said Stefan Schäfer, Managing Director and Head of Sales & Marketing DACH at Meyra.

REHAB Karlsruhe gave visitors the opportunity to try out and compare the latest products. The feedback from this helps further product development. It also aids the development of prototypes that are showcased increasingly frequently at REHAB, as Dr Stefan Schulz, CEO at Vincent Systems GmbH, explained: “We are based in Karlsruhe and make high-tech hand prosthetics and now also orthotics. REHAB is the perfect opportunity for us to tell users and the market about our new products. We focused on direct discussions between users and developers, as we intend to keep developing our new exoskeleton after its launch.”

Beate Frères, Director at Messe Karlsruhe, summarised: “The event format, the live experience and the personal discussions at many levels are irreplaceable for both our exhibitors and visitors. Following the pandemic, events like REHAB have become an important way to re-establish direct contact with customers and expand networks.”

Two men are talking in the background, two wheelchairs are displayed in the foreground.

Two thirds of visitors only attend REHAB

REHAB Karlsruhe has been an important date in the calendar for over 40 years. It is a meeting place for the various disciplines of the living aids sector, enabling interdisciplinary discussions. According to the visitor survey, more than two thirds of visitors attend only REHAB and no other trade fair. Dr Raphael Ujlaky, Vice President Sales, Permobil EMEA, emphasised the event’s importance: “Time after time, REHAB is a vital meeting point for many important stakeholders in the market, including retailers, purchasing groups, therapists, health insurers, the press and political figures. It gives us the chance to speak to them all directly and in person. The busy scenes at our stand prove this. We look forward to using this platform in the coming years too.”

In 2023, REHAB is the leading platform for premium living aids for children and youngsters. Torsten Schuchmann, Managing Director of Schuchmann GmbH, a leading provider of children’s rehabilitation equipment, summarised: “Our products have gone down very well. The trade fair attracted lots of visitors, including therapists, specialist retailers and insurers. As things currently stand, we intend to return to REHAB in 2025.”

Trade visitors sit in the CON.THERA conference room and listen to a speaker at the lectern during his presentation.

Major interdisciplinary industry events held alongside trade fair

Two major industry events, the CON.THERA conference and the 47th professional development conference of the German Association of Bobath Therapists, took place alongside REHAB. They attracted over 300 experts from across Germany and neighbouring countries to Karlsruhe. Therapy in particular relies on close networks and collaboration between disciplines, in order to achieve a holistic success. The combination of leading certified and interdisciplinary professional development with an exciting overview of the market at the trade fair was tailored precisely to the needs of therapists attending. Anna Engel, a physiotherapist at the German Stroke Foundation, praised the event: “The interdisciplinary combination of academia and therapeutic practice is what makes the CON.THERA conference so special. It was the deciding factor that made me want to come. REHAB was also an important factor of course, as it allowed me to find out about the latest insights in the provision of life aids and related topics. Combined with the conference, it was the perfect event.”

REHAB to return according to schedule in 2025

REHAB Karlsruhe will now return to its usual two-year cycle, with the next trade fair taking place from 22 to 24 May 2025 at the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre. Many repeat exhibitors even registered for the next REHAB while this year’s event was still ongoing, including Marco Hessler, Managing Director of the Danish company Wolturnus: “We are very pleased with this year’s REHAB and the visitors. This is our fourth time here, this year with a larger stand and expanded product range. We have already signed on the dotted line to come back in two years.” Senior project manager Annika Gehrmeyer is delighted with the strong demand for 2025: “Trends like IT-based digital aids and customisation will become more important in future, and will receive even greater attention at REHAB 2025. We have never seen so many companies sign up to return, which shows the success of this year’s trade fair.”

Artificial intelligence, e-mobility and digitalisation

Karlsruhe, 3 May 2023 – New technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), e-mobility and digital assistant systems have become indispensable in many areas of life. Now, they are also becoming increasingly common in the living aids sector. The products presented by exhibitors at REHAB will reflect this. New technologies are helping people with disabilities move, express themselves and participate in life.

These include eye controls or head-foot steering systems for electric wheelchairs, the use of AI to adjust personal settings, or assistive technologies that support communication. REHAB Karlsruhe, to be held from 15 to 17 June 2023 at the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre, will showcase a wide range of new technologies that visitors will be able test live. More information about the trade fair, the exhibiting companies and products can be found online at

Living aids with artificial intelligence

CoMoveIT uses artificial intelligence to help people with severe motor disabilities who find it difficult or impossible to use a joystick. The company’s CoMoveIT Smart is a head-foot steering system for electric wheelchairs that is a suitable alternative backed up by evidence. It uses pressure sensors that are activated with the minimum of force. What makes the system special is the way it uses artificial intelligence to continuously adapt to the user.

It allows a wheelchair to be steered without a standard joystick or other conventional methods. This opens up opportunities for people who have little or no control over their movements. The product further supports the user through the intelligent algorithm that “interprets” these movements. “The fact that people can see our product at our stand and test it out will really help them see the benefit”, says Managing Director Frederik Vervenne.

Mobile screen with app inContAlert
inContAlert: Sensor device for monitoring the bladder filling level of incontinence patients

inContAlert, a sensor that monitors the bladders of incontinent patients, also uses AI. An algorithm calculates how full their bladder is and displays this on an app, which also warns if the level gets too high. Patients with neurogenic bladder dysfunction can use the app to know when they need to go to the toilet and avoid involuntary urination or a potentially dangerous overstretching of the bladder.

The technology used in inContAlert lets patients conveniently monitor their bladder around the clock. “This is our response to the increasing digitalisation of healthcare and greater patient autonomy. The product can help reduce the use of aids like catheters, nappies and pads, or do away with them altogether”, explains CEO Dr Jannik Lockl.

Achieving greater autonomy through e-mobility

Electric vehicle technology is helping patients live more autonomously and participate more in life. That is why electric living aids like electric wheelchairs, braking and traction aids for wheelchairs, additional electric drives or electric scooters have become an essential part of REHAB. A number of exciting product launches are expected in 2023.

The Gladiator - three-wheeled e-scooter with large footprint
Gladiator: combination of a classic rollator and an e-mobile - three-wheeled e-scooter with a large footprint.

One of these is the Elator, a cross between a conventional walker and an electric scooter. The walker can be converted easily into an electric scooter for longer journeys or if the user gets tired. Micro Mobility Systems will unveil its electrically powered Gladiator: a three-wheeled electric scooter with a large standing area and special suspension to ensure stable and comfortable mobility.

“We want to use REHAB to show that our products are not just fun to use, but are also extremely helpful and practical for both therapy sessions and everyday life”, says Pascal Joos, Managing Director of Micro Mobility Systems D GmbH.

Visitors can also look forward to new wheelchair power attachments and hybrid handbikes. Fabian Frank, Head of Marketing and Communication at R & E Stricker, points to two new products that will be presented at the event: “At REHAB, we will present a pair of systems for the first time that set new benchmarks in the world of adaptive devices.” Visitors will also be able to test the new products: “Users can attach our units to their own wheelchair in just a few minutes. They can therefore test them without even having to get off.”

Supporting communication with eye control

Assistive technologies can help people with conditions like cerebral palsy, ALS and spinal injuries communicate using their own voice, develop reading and writing skills, and live more independently. Tobii Dynavox will use REHAB to present communication tools controlled via touch and the user’s eyes. These will include an iPad-based communication device with eye control and communication software, as well as a range of apps for aided communication, such as the first browser specially designed for eye control users. Visitors can also have a keyring fob with PCS communication symbols made for them.

A man rides an electric wheelchair along a lake.
The special wheelchair control MyEcc Pupil allows to operate all functions of the wheelchair even in sunlight.

HomeBraceGermany will present the latest version of its wheelchair control system MyEcc Pupil as a communication device. The product is due to be launched this summer. Through a combination of eye movements and individually assignable speech output fields, it allows people with muscle conditions to communicate with no need for a display and therefore even in direct sunlight.

According to the manufacturer, the use of eye movements captured via a sensor to control a wheelchair is unique. Users can operate all of the wheelchair’s functions, even in direct sunlight. These include driving, adjusting the seat, changing the speed and using robotic arms. The new expandable software lets users spell or select previously saved words. It is fully customisable and can be configured freely.

Another new product on show will be munevo Home. Users wear smart glasses and slightly nod and tilt their head to control an electric wheelchair with accessories such as tablets or a robot arm, and now even smart home systems.

Humanelektronik specialises in eye control systems, supported communication, special wheelchair controls, environmental controls and custom products, as well as individual solutions for people with impaired motor and cognitive abilities. They will present two highlights at REHAB. HEsports is a series of individual, inclusive solutions for active and passionate gamers. They help people with severely impaired motor ability to play on various platforms via smart controllers and individually adjustable buttons and sensors. They can also use iPad apps thanks to Hiru, an innovative eye control system from Irisbond for windows or iPadOS.


About REHAB Karlsruhe

Since 1980, REHAB Karlsruhe has been one of the world’s most important events for rehabilitation, therapy, care and inclusion. Following last-year’s catch-up event after the pandemic, REHAB will take place again this year before switching back to its normal cycle every two years from 2025. The event covers the latest trends and innovations in rehabilitation and assistive technology, as well as new methods of therapy and care provision. It is aimed at professional visitors like therapists, doctors, professional carers and experts from retailers, service providers and associations, as well as people with disabilities and their families.

More information, such as the event programme, visitor information and ticket shop, can be found at

How finding the right aid can enable participation and greater quality of life
Young girl sits in a wheelchair with three wheels and talks to an exhibitor at REHAB
At REHAB 2023, special aids for children and adolescents will be a focal point of the exhibition. Baby walkers, rehab buggies, standing devices, children's wheelchairs, therapy bikes, gait trainers and seat shells will be on display (REHAB Karlsruhe/ Behrendt und Rausch)

Karlsruhe, 26 April 2023–The 22nd edition of the European trade fair for rehabilitation, therapy, care and inclusion (15 to 17 June 2023 at the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre) will focus in part on special aids for children and young people. Youngsters with disabilities in particular need aids from an early stage in order to develop properly. Things like the right baby walkers, rehabilitation buggies, standing aids, pushchairs, therapeutic bicycles, walking trainers or seats are essential.

“For people with disabilities, rehabilitation is an anchor that forms the basis for participation and quality of life. It’s great to have events like REHAB that convey the latest insights quickly to people”, says Jürgen Dusel, Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Matters relating to Persons with Disabilities and patron of REHAB Karlsruhe.

Around half of the 300 companies expected to exhibit at the event are producers. They will use the event format to present their innovations and new products to both a broad audience of industry specialists and the users and their families. More information is available online at

A selection of innovations for children and young people at the trade fair

Child rehabilitation specialists will present their latest products in Karlsruhe: Schuchmann will present “mats”, a brand-new recumbent tricycle that grows with the child. This is all thanks to an adjustable wheelbase. An ingenious asymmetric frame allows for transfer, and lets the user get on and off easily and independently.

“REHAB gives us the ideal opportunity to present our smart products to both industry visitors and families with disabled children from southern Germany. We look forward to discussing the latest industry news and letting people try out our products. They always give us inspiration for further developments”, explains René Althaus, Field Service Manager at Schuchmann.

Wolturnus will showcase its walker Grillo. It can be used as both a posterior and anterior walking aid. Available in four sizes, it is suitable for small children, teenagers and adults. The patented frame helps maintain the user’s centre of gravity when adjusting the height, so that they can walk stably both indoors and outdoors.

The recumbent trike that grows with you
Schuchmann presents the growing recumbent trike "mats" at the REHAB. (Photo Credit: Schuchmann)
The open-frame chair Airon
The open-frame chair Airon is now also available from seat width 28 and seat depth 32. (Photo Credit: SORG Rollstuhltechnik)

SORG Rollstuhltechnik will use this year’s event to present new versions of its Dynamis range of wheelchairs for persons with spastic conditions, as well as the Airon active open-frame chair. Two of the three models are also available in new, smaller sizes.

Ottobock will present its Exopulse Mollii Suit at REHAB 2023. This is the first neuromodulation suit in the world and can help people with neurological diseases enjoy a more active life. A total of 58 electrodes fitted in the suit emit signals that relax the muscles. This reduces pain and spasms, while activating certain muscle groups, with just an hour of stimulation time per day. The suit is available in various sizes and is even suitable for young children.

Ottobock also offers Kiddo rigid-frame wheelchairs from Veldink4kids, which grow with the user and provide the ideal transition from rehabilitation pushchairs to adult wheelchairs.

Plenty to see, touch and try out at the trade fair

At the special marketplace for children and youth rehabilitation, both industry visitors and parents will find a broad range of aids from leading manufacturers like Berollka and HOGGI, or specialist service providers such as Storch & Beller, 3Hmed, elomed and SC Sanitätshaus Carstens. Child bed producers like KayserBetten or FreiStil will also be there. Further providers with wide product ranges, like Sunrise Medical or Paravan, will be exhibiting in other areas of the trade fair.

The adjacent forum will invite visitors to find out more about important topics and trends in the aids sector and rehabilitation for youngsters in a series of talks, workshops and product presentations.

About REHAB Karlsruhe

Since 1980, REHAB Karlsruhe has been one of the world’s most important events for rehabilitation, therapy, care and inclusion. Following last-year’s catch-up event after the pandemic, REHAB will take place again this year before switching back to its normal cycle every two years from 2025. The event covers the latest trends and innovations in rehabilitation and assistive technology, as well as new methods of therapy and care provision. It is aimed at professional visitors like therapists, doctors, professional carers and experts from retailers, service providers and associations, as well as people with disabilities and their families.

More information, such as the event programme, visitor information and ticket shop, can be found at

More orthotics and prosthetics on show
Picture shows a consultation between a couple and a man at the booth of a prosthesis exhibitor at REHAB 2023. Various models of orthoses can be seen in the background.
2023 visitors can look forward to a larger and more varied range of products from the field of orthotics and prosthetics than in previous years.

Karlsruhe, 29 March 2023 − REHAB Karlsruhe, one of the world’s leading trade fairs for rehabilitation, therapy, care and inclusion, will welcome visitors again to the fully accessible grounds of the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre from 15 to 17 June 2023, just one year after the previous event. The exhibition will present the latest therapy devices, along with living, care and orthopaedic aids, across a total of eleven marketplaces in the three exhibition halls, the Atrium and the outdoor exhibition area. This year’s event will see more orthotics and prosthetics producers exhibiting than in previous years.

Those who have already registered include MOWA Healthcare AG from Switzerland, albrecht GmbH, Seifert Technische Orthopädie GmbH, INNTEO GmbH, ProthetikKA GmbH and Otto Bock Healthcare Deutschland GmbH, together with their co-exhibitors Orthopädie Brillinger and Pohlig, as well as Vincent Systems. Even though it has only been one year since the last trade fair, REHAB remains an important date in the calendar for the industry. This is illustrated by the fact that around 50 per cent of exhibitors are manufacturers. More information and tickets can be found at

High proportion of manufacturers showcasing high-quality products

REHAB 2023 will offer premium products and a full overview of the market in one place. It will revolve around the “Mobility & Daily Living Aids”, “Children & Youth Rehabilitation”, and “Therapy & Practice” marketplaces. REHAB lets both industry professionals and ordinary users discover the latest innovations. They can also try out countless living aids like wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, handbikes, specially adapted cars, and aids for children and young people. Over 300 exhibitors from 16 countries are expected.

Woman watering flowers with the help of an orthosis that supports her hand and arm muscles
Orthoses like this bionic hand orthosis (Carbonhand from exxomove) will be presented at REHAB 2023. It offers new strength and endurance for weak hands. (Credit: exxomove)

About REHAB Karlsruhe

Since 1980, REHAB Karlsruhe has been one of the world’s most important events for rehabilitation, therapy, care and inclusion. Following last-year’s catch-up event after the pandemic, REHAB will take place again this year before switching back to its normal cycle every two years from 2025. The event covers the latest trends and innovations in rehabilitation and assistive technology, as well as new methods of therapy and care provision. It is aimed at professional visitors like therapists, doctors, professional carers and experts from retailers, service providers and associations, as well as people with disabilities and their families.

More information, such as the event programme, visitor information and ticket shop, can be found at

Press release for download

High-caliber continuing education program for therapists

You can find the press release in German version here!

REHAB Karlsruhe 2023: where the market meets
(Messe Karlsruhe / Jürgen Rösner)

Karlsruhe, 18 January 2023 – There are still five months to go until the halls of the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre open their doors for the 22nd REHAB, one of the leading trade fairs for rehabilitation, therapy, care and inclusion, to be held from 15 to 17 June 2023. As the new year begins, the event organisers have announced their plans to once again hold the event across three exhibition halls.

“We are pleased that so many market leaders will be exhibiting at REHAB 2023. These will include producers from the event’s core focus areas, the renowned names in specialist retail and several interesting newcomers”, says Project Manager Annika Gehrmeyer.

“Among those who have already registered are major players in the wheelchair and accessories sector like Ottobock, Alber, Meyra, Invacare and Schuchmann, alongside dealers like Storch & Beller and SC Sanitätshaus Carstens to name just a few. REHAB Karlsruhe will showcase the full breadth of the sector. It is an important meeting point for visitors who want to find out about the latest developments in the daily living aids market.”

Jürgen Dusel, Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Matters relating to Persons with Disabilities, will once again act as patron. The specialist trade fair will once again take place every two years from 2023. The current list of exhibitors, as well as information about the coming event, can be found online at

In the picture one can see the dm-arena of the trade fair center Karlsruhe. Foreground of the picture is the booth of Meyra, where visitors can inform themselves about the latest aids.
REHAB 2022: A look inside the dm-arena (Messe Karlsruhe / Behrendt und Rausch)

REHAB: where the industry meets

Returning companies like Invacare make the event even more valuable for visitors. Invacare will use REHAB to present its Küschall wheelchairs for active users. Another company taking part in the trade fair is Alber, the top specialist for wheelchair accessories and active drives. The return of Ottobock has a signal effect. The company is one of the leading providers of wheelchairs, orthotics and exoskeletons, and is the world market leader for prosthetics. Philipp Hoefer, Director Sales & Marketing DACH at Otto Bock HealthCare Deutschland GmbH, explains: “We cannot wait for REHAB in Karlsruhe. Being able to share ideas at the trade fair is vital to the industry. In 2023, we will be focusing on holistic treatment for patients with neurological indications. We will present our aids and new products in this area, such as the Exopulse Mollii Suit. REHAB represents the ideal platform for in-person meetings, networking and inspiration.”

Stefan Schäfer, Managing Director and Head of Sales & Marketing DACH at Meyra, emphasises the importance of REHAB to the market and praises the event’s successful format: “After three years without a trade fair, REHAB 2022 was a massive success for us as an exhibitor. Our newly designed stand attracted lots of visitors and allowed us to have the one-to-one discussions with users and dealers that we had missed so much. The event is well organised and attracts plenty of visitors from both southern Germany and the neighbouring countries. These factors are extremely valuable to us, which is why we are looking forward being involved again at REHAB 2023."

Among the companies that will be exhibiting for the first time is Topro. This premium Norwegian manufacturer of rollators is aiming to use the trade show to support its expansion into the German, Austrian and Swiss markets. “I have always been impressed by just how important REHAB is in this region. The proximity to Switzerland gives customers there the chance to discover the latest products in an incredible atmosphere. I’m looking forward to taking part together with our German and Swiss teams for the first time”, says Norbert Jahnke, Interim Managing Director of Topro GmbH.



REHAB Karlsruhe has been one of the world’s biggest and most significant trade fairs for rehabilitation, therapy, care and inclusion since 1980. Specialists from all over Germany and the neighbouring countries come to Karlsruhe every two years to bring themselves up to date with the latest trends in rehabilitation technology, innovations in the assistive aids industry and new therapeutic options as well as to take advantage of further training opportunities.

REHAB has been a firm fixture in the industry´s timetable for more than 40 years and has established itself as THE most important platform for high-quality mobility aids and children´s aids from Germany and other European countries every second year.

More information is available at

Interview with Simone Fischer, Officer for Persons with Disabilities for the state of Baden-Württemberg on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

REHAB: Ms Fischer, you opened REHAB 2022 and saw for yourself the sheer variety of living aids and services for people with all kinds of support needs. What did you think of the products and services on show?

Simone Fischer: We live in a world that is not designed for everyone. It is designed according to standard measurements and norms that attempt to satisfy the majority. But this presents a barrier to many people. Official standards on accessibility do not help all of them. That is one of the reasons why REHAB is so essential in terms of raising awareness and showcasing options. It was fantastic to be part of REHAB 22 after a break of three years.

The event was incredibly well organised, with 350 exhibitors from 18 countries, 40 per cent of those being manufacturers, all spread across 35,000 square metres of space. At the same time, the organisers were still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, which presented many challenges, difficult decisions and a lot of responsibility. For me personally, REHAB 2022 is an occasion that will live long in the memory. Both exhibitors and visitors alike told me how excited they were to be there.

After such a long break, it was finally possible to once again enjoy face-to-face conversations, experience innovations up close, celebrate new product launches, contribute ideas and find inspiration. REHAB combines several topics and offers the perfect platform for discussing them. It creates and opens up opportunities for people to live an autonomous and independent life, and participate in the community. I’m already looking forward to the trade fair in 2023.

State Commissioner for the Disabled, Simone Fischer together with Jürgen Dusel, Federal Commissioner for the Interests of People with Disabilities at REHAB 2022
Zur Eröffnung der REHAB 2022 angereist: Landesbehindertenbeauftragte Simone Fischer zusammen mit Jürgen Dusel, Bundesbeauftragter für die Belange von Menschen mit Behinderungen, beim VIP-Messerundgang der 21. Fachmesse für Rehabilitation, Therapie, Pflege und Inklusion in Karlsruhe. (Credits: Messe Karlsruhe/Jürgen Rösner)

REHAB: The pandemic caused many people with disabilities in particular to be especially isolated. This often led to psychiatric problems. Are there plans to prevent this should there be another wave of infections?

Fischer: We have learned a lot from the last years of dealing with the pandemic and were able to gain valuable experience at many levels and in all kinds of areas. Having a secure and high-quality connection to other people is important for mental well-being. We have to keep emphasising that just because someone has a disability, it doesn’t automatically mean they are more vulnerable to the virus. Instead, we have to take a closer, more differentiated look.

REHAB: Given this context, how do you see the outlook for exhibitions and congresses going forward?

Fischer: As far as events like this are concerned, I am confident for the future. The virus is becoming endemic. Should it be necessary, we can always fall back on the best practices gained from experience and scientific expertise.

Getting to know innovations at the trade fair: Simone Fischer takes a look inside the Tesla converted by PARAVAN.
Getting to know innovations at the trade fair: Simone Fischer takes a look inside the Tesla converted by PARAVAN.

REHAB: You travel a lot throughout Baden-Württemberg and post about your activities on social media. What are your priorities for 2023?

Fischer: We need to make sure that legislation takes the interests of people with disabilities into account from an early stage. We cannot neglect our responsibility for making sure that existing laws and regulations are implemented with the needs of people with disabilities in mind. When you look at regulations for accessibility in construction and residency, digitalisation or public transport, I think there is plenty of room for improvement.

In the cities and municipalities in Baden-Württemberg, we need better access to education, work and healthcare, as well as more consideration regarding living arrangements, recreation and everyday life. We have to make it easier for people with disabilities to participate in society. It is this that creates communities, visibility, acceptance and normality. This is what I want to achieve in my time in office.

The next REHAB will take place from 15 to 17 June 2023 at Messe Karlsruhe.
The next REHAB will take place from 15 to 17 June 2023 at Messe Karlsruhe.

REHAB: Why are more specific measures for inclusion so important?

Fischer: The issues of work, education and healthcare, as well as the situation of women and children with disabilities, are very close to my heart. Representing people with disabilities in social, political and economic matters in Baden-Württemberg is extremely important. It makes us visible and calls on society to consider the rights of people with disabilities and take them into account from the very beginning.

This is what I am committed to, whether it be in meetings, specific measures and projects, my work with the public and in my statements on laws and projects at state level. If we make inclusivity the guiding principle for our society, we will succeed in creating good and just living conditions for everyone. We want to create a society that is accessible in every regard.

Thank you for this discussion, Ms Fischer!