By Gavin Gibbon
Construction of the pavilion started in August 2019 and is 40-50% complete
Over 4,000 people from Luxembourg have already signed up to visit the country’s pavilion during the six months of Dubai Expo 2020.
The Grand Duchy was one of the first to confirm its participation in what is the first expo to be held in the Middle East region, which is set to run from October 20 this year to April 10, 2021.
“We have a connection with the travel agencies and, until now, we have 4,000 reservations to come here from Luxembourg to visit Dubai and the Expo,” said Maggy Nagel, commissioner general to the Luxembourg pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Ground was broken on the 32 million Euro ($35m) pavilion in 2017 and construction began in earnest in August last year. Nagel revealed the project is currently between 40-50 percent complete.
Leading partners Post Luxembourg, the county’s chamber of commerce and SES have each contributed 2.5m Euros ($2.7m) to the cost of the pavilion, which has the theme ‘Resourceful Luxembourg’.
Designed by the architectural studio Metaform, the pavilion, 70 percent of which will be re-used post-expo, is based on a Möbius strip – a band with two surfaces joined to create an object with a single surface. This is to symbolise not only the circular economy, but also dynamism and openness.
Nagel explained: “We want the visitor to take a trip through the five senses, through a ramp of 140m to the second floor and then we have five topics within the ramp, diverse, connecting, sustainable, enterprising and the beautiful atrium of the country with the six regions we want to show.”
She added: “When you arrive on the second floor you have the possibility to slide down (a nod to the ‘Schueberfouer’, Luxembourg’s traditional fair dating back to 1340) and we have captured also the smell of forests and nature of Luxembourg. We wanted to fuse this smell into the pavilion, so after discovering through the ramp new technologies, at the end people come down to earth and they see how green our country is.”
The UAE is Luxembourg’s most important trading partner in the Gulf region – this year the Grand Duchy will celebrate the 40th anniversary of establishing trade relations with the UAE.
UAE imports from Luxembourg for the ten months to October last year, totalled 27m Euros ($29.7m), while exports over the period hit 13m Euros ($14m).
The European nation is renowned as a finance hub – the UAE’s main sovereign wealth funds, including Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Mubadala and the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, have structures in Luxembourg’s financial centre and 60 percent of the foreign investment funds active in the UAE are based in Luxembourg.
However, Nagel stressed the country is much more than finance. She said: “From the beginning we want to come away from the idea of finance, Luxembourg finance, paradise of finance. Finance is also thematic in the pavilion but not only. We want to tell the story of Luxembourg, where Luxembourg comes from and where we want to go now.”