United Arab Emirates: EXPO 2020 in Dubai


published on 11 June 2021 | reading time approx. 4 minutes


​2020 was a difficult year. Due to the pandemic, everyone had to live with restrictions and fundamentally change their daily lives. Events were canceled or postponed, including the EXPO 2020 in Dubai, which will take place from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. 190 countries are going to present themselves and introduce new innovations under the motto “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.




EXPO and Covid-19

Thanks to the approximately 230,000 workers, after ten years of construction, the completion of the EXPO site is in its final stages. The World Expo in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the first in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region. Despite some people concerns, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the organizers are sure that this EXPO will also be a great success. The most essential reason for this are the high vaccination rates in the UAE. The UAE is the second most vaccinated country, after Israel. Visitors will therefore feel more comfortable and safe and will travel to Dubai. The success of the EXPO project and with it the progress in the UAE's economy and cultural activities, gives people hope for life after Covid-19, said Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai.

UAE Pavilion

The so-called “UAE Pavilion” will be one of the largest and most eye-catching pavilions. Among several submissions the concept of the Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava has been chosen. The pavilion is located in the “Opportunity District”, next to the “Mobility District” and the “Sustainability District”, one of three thematic areas of the EXPO in Dubai. In the “Sustainability District”, visitors can discover advanced technologies from around the world and witness what countries are doing to promote sustainability. On the tour through the “Opportunity District”, visitors will realize that they can help shape the future and that our lives and actions are often closely related. The “Mobility District” focuses on how the real and digital world can be connected to share ideas, information and goods more efficiently. The building has a central location in the heart of the two-square-kilometer site. The pavilion has four floors and a total of 15,000 square meters of exhibition space, showcasing innovations and exhibitions that highlight Emirati culture and achievements. The design of the pavilion reflects the wings of a falcon in flight and is a symbol of the UAE's bold and daring spirit. After the EXPO, the site will continue to be used and renamed “District 2020.” The goal is to develop a modern and sustainable city in which to research, learn and live. UAE Pavilion will be the only pavilion that will be preserved in its original form.


Out of the 25 million expected visitors, 70 per cent of them from abroad, up to three million are expected to visit the German pavilion, the so-called CAMPUS GERMANY. It is located in the “Sustainability” section, one of the three thematic areas of the EXPO. The other two themes are “Mobility” and “Opportunity”.

The Idea

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and Koelnmesse are working with facts and fiction GmbH, NUSSLI Adunic AG and LAVA on the concept of CAMPUS GERMANY. Sustainability is very important in Germany. Not only the business community, but also civil society is committed to creating a better, more sustainable future. To convey these values, the team developed the idea of presenting the pavilion as a research center where people can exchange ideas with each other and find a solution for a sustainable future. The different rooms and exhibits are therefore designed to allow visitors to interact and be involved. For example, the intelligent, modern rooms respond to visitors' opinions, creating unforgettable moments. Each visitor also receives his or her own name tag upon entering, so that everyone can be addressed, thus creating a personal connection

The Architecture

During the development and construction of the building, it was important to reflect the motto of the EXPO. CAMPUS GERMANY consists of many individual vertical structures and forms, an open coherent building, which symbolizes unity and team spirit. The numerous structures simultaneously represent Germany's federalism and the diversity of society but also of business and research. The building itself thus becomes a part of the exhibition and a tool to connect people and content. CAMPUS GERMANY has an excellent location, directly on the main path that connects all three thematic clusters in a circle and can even be admired from the Al Wasl Plaza in the center of the EXPO-area.

The Tour

Visitors will start their tour of the pavilion with an introduction session that presents the motto of the campus and the scientific basis for it: Anthropocene. This is the proposal for naming a new geochronological epoch, the Age of Mankind. The introduction makes it clear that humans have become the major influencing factor of the world, for good but also for bad, and that we can work together for a sustainable life in the future.
In the “Welcome Hall”, Germany presents itself as an international hub for sustainability. This is staged by a black-red-gold ball pit, consisting of 150,000 balls. Each ball represents a fact or portrays a person in Germany who is committed to sustainability.

Visitors will then enter the main part of the building, in which they will explore three themed rooms that play an important role in the context of sustainability:

  • In the “Energy Lab”, they will learn about new solutions for energy supply in the future. The atmosphere is enhanced by dark, pulsating energy lines.
  • In the “Future City Lab”, visitors stand in an all-surrounding urban landscape and discover innovations for the city of tomorrow.
  • In the “Biodiversity Lab”, visitors experience nature up close and are shown how beautiful and vulnerable it actually is.

Between these "labs" there are exhibits, many of which can only be operated by several people. This also corresponds to the basic ideas of cooperation and exchange of the German Pavilion.

In the “Graduation Hall”, the final location of the tour, visitors experience a show on swings. They realize that far more unites combines them than divides them. If humanity acts together, in this case swings together, it can achieve much more than many give themselves credit for. An emotional finale that raises hope for the future.

An opportunity for German companies

German companies have been involved in the EXPO since construction began. They were a big part of the actual completion of the site, but also as official partners, companies like Siemens or SAP were able to support the organizers. With the World Expo, however, there are also opportunities for German companies to gain further footholds in the Arab market and establish themselves in the UAE. Sustainability and renewable energies are proving to be promising sectors for German investments. CAMPUS GERMANY embodies exactly these characteristics and will also attract national companies to German partnerships.

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