Royal couple opens Netherlands pavilion for Expo 2020 in Dubai

His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and her Majesty Queen Máxima today opened the Netherlands pavilion for the 35th World Expo which is held in Dubai this year. Minister De Bruijn for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation also attended the opening. The Netherlands pavilion embodies the central Dutch theme of ‘uniting water, energy and food’. It shows the connection that our country is able to make between various innovative solutions for sustainable energy, water management, agriculture and circularity.

The Royal Couple attended the official ceremony and was informed by V8 Architects about the concept of the pavilion and the cross-sector collaboration with various Dutch companies. Afterwards, there was room for a tour around the building. The Royal couple and prominent representatives from the UAE were shown how Dutch innovations have been integrated into the pavilion both technically and aesthetically, and together form an inseparable whole. The innovations, such as extracting water from the desert air, the transparent, organic solar panels and textiles made from biomass, are not separate product presentations, but have a concrete functional purpose in the pavilion. Therefore, the entire pavilion itself forms the exhibition. That makes it a showcase for sustainability and circularity. It shows the connection between inventive solutions with which the Netherlands can contribute to global issues in the field of water, energy and food.

“In our pavilion, visitors and companies can experience what the Netherlands has to offer in the areas of water, sustainable energy and food security”, says Minister Tom de Bruijn of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation: “This is our response to the ambitions of the countries in the Gulf region. They want to move away from oil and gas, want to produce more food locally and try to cope with climate change. Dutch companies, governments and knowledge institutions have the knowledge and expertise to contribute to this.”

150,000 visitors
One month after opening, 150,000 people have visited the pavilion. This makes the Netherlands pavilion one of the best visited country pavilions. More than 190 countries and organisations are taking part in the world exhibition.

Biotope in the desert
In an environment with a dry desert climate, V8 Architects designed a biotope. A temporary, circular climate system in which hundreds of litres of water are harvested from the air, energy is obtained from the sun and more than 9000 edible plants and dozens of kilos of oyster mushrooms are grown. For visitors, it is designed as a completely sensory experience.

Circular construction
The pavilion is located in the ‘Sustainability District’ and was built using locally rented sheet piles and steel tubes. Inside, it is finished with bio-based and reusable materials, such as biodegradable textiles and floor and wall finishes based on mycelium. Bio-based materials offer an alternative to the polluting finishing materials used in the construction industry. Afterwards, the materials are returned, recycled or given a new purpose. With this approach, the ecological footprint of the pavilion is reduced to a minimum.

The Netherlands pavilion won the ‘Sustainable Construction Project of the Year Award’, as part of the renowned Big Five Construction Impact Awards.