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The Netherlands looks back on a successful Expo in Dubai

Dubai, 31st March 2022 – Today, six months since its opening, Expo 2020 Dubai has reached to its finest end. This also marks the conclusion of the Netherlands’s contribution to this 35th world exhibition.

Last week, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Liesje Schreinemacher visited the Netherlands Pavilion: “With its focus on the themes of water, energy and food, the Netherlands was able to showcase some of its strengths at Expo 2020 Dubai. Thanks to our pavilion and the participating organizations and companies, we left a memorable impression on visitors and enhanced our trading position, particularly in the Gulf region.”

A platform for businesses

Over the past six months, the Netherlands Pavilion has hosted over 125 events for companies and knowledge institutions from the Netherlands and the Gulf region. In addition, dozens of trade missions from the Netherlands dropped by, two of which were led by a minister.

These Dutch companies were drawn from a variety of sectors like water, sustainable energy, horticulture and urban development. “The activities we organized at the Expo are extremely valuable. The Dutch business community has a lot to offer, and the Expo was a chance to show that to the Gulf region and the rest of the world. We’re innovative, we provide smart solutions and we deliver quality. There’s a lot of call for that in many countries in the Gulf region. It’s something I noticed in discussions during my recent visit.” said Minister Schreinemacher.

The fifty companies that took part in the trade mission in November have indicated that they expect a collective sales increase of over €100 million. Encounters at the pavilion also generated unexpected business opportunities. For example, an entrepreneur from India is now looking forward to upscaling his agricultural business in his country by incorporating Dutch vertical farming methods. “This shows that we can deploy Dutch knowledge and technology in the areas of water, energy and food anywhere in the world,” continues the minister.

Pavilion as an award winning sustainable ‘biotope’

The pavilion received over 950,000 visitors including the Dutch royal couple, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima as well as UAE royals including His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth, and Social Development, Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimi, Director General Expo 2020 Dubai and many more.

At the pavilion, Expo visitors experienced a thought-provoking journey through a climate-controlled mini-biotope, where edible and non-edible plants were grown, water extracted and solar energy generated, all in a circular manner. Dutch innovation formed the heart and soul of the concept. The SunGlacier Technologies by the Dutch artist Ap Verheggen was one of the key attraction of the pavilion with its capacity to produce 1,200 litres of water from the desert air every day. Designed by Marjan Van Aubel, the lightweight, organic and reusable solar panels on the rooftop provided the much required sunlight for the plants to grow and continue the process of photosynthesis along with the water produced.

During the recent BIE Awards Ceremony held at the Jubilee Park, the Netherlands Pavilion was honored with two significant accolades – Gold winner for the ‘Best Architecture & Landscape’ in the self-built pavilion category at the Sustainability District and UAE Innovates Award 2022 for the ‘Best Sustainability Innovation’ in creating the vertical farm. H.E Carel Richter, Commissioner General and Niels Bouwman, Pavilion Director proudly received the awards on behalf of the Netherlands Pavilion. In total during the course of six months, the pavilion has won ten different international awards for various sustainability initiatives and innovations that will create a change. A change for a better, sustainable future.

Legacy : back to nature with minimal footprint

The pavilion built with a sustainable, circular thought process right from the beginning incorporated raw, recyclable materials that were commonly used locally and easily accessible. The consortium of V8 Architects, Kossmanndejong, Witteveen+Bos and Expomobilia purposefully chose materials that could be given a new lease of life after the conclusion of the Expo. For example, the 2000 tonnes of steel sheet piles were leased locally so they could be reused in future construction projects in the region. The mycelium tiles made from mushroom and biodegradable curtains will be reused or recycled. The in-house mushroom nursery from the pavilion will have a new life of its own as it will be taken over by a local entrepreneur in Dubai and will continue with the production of mushrooms and mycelium products.

“We will be leaving the place behind as we found it: a patch of ground in the sand. Our physical footprint will be minimal.”

Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation

For media enquiries, please contact:

Shabana Unni | Communications Manager, Expo 2020

Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

shabana.unni@minbuza.nl | +971 50 242 5992

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