Friedrichshafen is most widely known for having harboured the Zeppelin airship company. Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who was born in Konstanz (Constance), originally had his airships built in a floating assembly hall on the lake which could be aligned with the wind to support the difficult starting procedure.
Visitors can learn more about the history of Zeppelin airships in a large Zeppelin museum near the lakeshore. Also, in recent years a number of small Zeppelin airships have been constructed using modern technology (Zeppelin NT) and can be booked for sightseeing tours.
Airship construction in the first third of the 20th century attracted considerable industry, which since has contributed significantly to Friedrichshafen's relative prosperity, yet also exposed the city to massive Allied Forces air strikes in late World War II which almost completely destroyed its historical center.
Apart from industry and tourism, various regular commercial exhibitions, such as Aero (aviation technology) and InterBoot (water sports) are important economical factors. Furthermore, the Graf-Zeppelin-Haus culture center has become a popular location for congresses, conferences and other events.