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October 28, 2020

First virtual Smart Country Convention attracts 10,600 attendees

With 10,600 attendees and more than 150 speakers on three stages, the first 100 per cent virtual Smart Country Convention came to a close today. Highlights included keynote speeches by Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Thierry Breton and Finland’s Minister of Education Li Andersson. Also present were State Premier Armin Laschet of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Federal Government Commissioner for Digitalisation Dorothee Bär, Federal CIO Dr. Markus Richter, Minister for Digital Strategy and Development of the state of Hesse Prof. Dr. Kristina Sinemus, and London’s CDO Theo Blackwell. “In this year of the pandemic the Special Edition of the Smart Country Convention had to find new ways of exchanging knowledge and networking“, was how Jens Heithecker, executive vice president of Messe Berlin, summarised the previous two days. The event for the public sector taught the organisers many things. Thus, the technical services provider initially had difficulty keeping the streaming server stable due to unexpectedly high data traffic. The entire programme of events was recorded and can now be accessed on demand. Registering on the event website is still possible. “Germany has a backlog where digitalisation is concerned. That became very clear these last few days“, said Dr. Bernhard Rohleder, managing director of Bitkom. ”The digital transformation of the public sector is a task that political decision-makers, local government, business and science must take on together. The Smart Country Convention showed how we can make up lost ground quickly, both in major cities and rural regions.“

The aim of the Smart Country Convention is to speed up digitalisation in local government and the public sector and to implement it according to people’s needs. In addition to the Federal Ministry of the Interior the event is supported in particular by the three leading organisations representing local government – the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, the Association of German Cities, the German County Association, as well as the Association of Municipal Companies (VKU). The Premium partners taking part were Accenture, Bechtle, Bundesdruckerei, BWI, Google Cloud, Huawei, SAP, Telekom and Smart City Berlin. This demonstration of joint support by the representatives of the public sector and the digital economy is unparalleled.  “Markets are not something one creates alone, but together. To do so one needs strong partners. In Bitkom, the leading organisations representing local government and the industry the Smart Country Convention has those strong partners“, Heithecker said.

The Smart Country Convention will be back from 26 to 28 October 2021

In 2021 the Smart Country Convention will be gathering representatives of local government, politics, the digital economy, associations and science for the fourth time. The event is the platform for the digital transformation of local government and the public sector and targets representatives at federal, state and district level, cities, municipalities and local companies. Additional information on the event is available at

Print-quality press photos of the Smart Country Convention can be downloaded here.