1928 Paris convention

The 1928 International Convention put order in the domain of international exhibitions by regulating their frequency and defining rights and responsibilities of organisers and participants. In order to ensure the application of this treaty, the Bureau International des Expositions was created.

Then, two protocols – the first signed in 1948 and the second in 1966 – came to amend the Convention in the critical domain of exhibitions frequency.
In order to consider the jurisprudence issued from BIE's forty years of existence and following the economic new asset (acceleration of progress pace, reduction of traveling time, entry of new countries on the international arena), a deep revision of the 1928 Convention became urgent.

This revision was initiated in 1965 and concluded on November 30th 1972 with the signature of the protocol, which came into force on June 9th 1980.

Finally, two new amendments became necessary in order to update the Convention and mostly to redefine the exhibition categories: they were signed on June 24th 1982 and May 31st 1988.

The 1928 Paris Convention, amended and modified by the different protocols, currently governs the organisation of international exhibitions.

Download the Convention Text


The BIE Library

The BIE Library is a source of high-quality information on Expos, composed of some 5,000 works dating back to 1851 until the present day.

The memory of past Expos is thus conserved by the BIE for the essential purpose of being able to transmit past experiences onto future generations.

The collection of works relates to the organisation of international exhibitions since 1851. It includes books, reports, catalogues, illustrated works of memorable moments, etc.

All the works in the library may be consulted by the general public upon appointment, which can be done by telephone (+33 1 45 00 38 63) or by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

In order to facilitate research at the library, you may consult the reference guide, available below.

The BIE Library

Italy and the BIE

Italy is a historical member of the BIE and has been involved in World Expos ever since they started in 1851 with the Great Exhibition in London. As an active participant and organiser of Expos, Italy was one of the 31 countries that signed the Paris Convention of 1928 that created the BIE. Since then, Italy has participated in most World and Specialised Expos and hosted Expo 1906 Milan, Expo 1953 Rome, Expo 1954 Naples, Expo 1955 and Expo 1961 in Turin, Expo 1992 in Genoa and Expo 2015 in Milan. Since 1933, Italy has also organised 14 editions of the Triennale di Milano under the auspices of the BIE.

The History of La Triennale di Milano

Created in 1933, La Triennale di Milano is the direct child of the Biennale of decorative arts of Monza. It is a major international event dedicated to architecture, design and craftsmanship organised by the Institution that bears the same name. The world's most famous and innovative artists have presented their work there, such as Giorgio de Chirico, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Picasso and more recently Frank Gehry and Renzo Piano. La Triennale, as it was conceived originally, is held every 3 years, lasts several months and invites all countries of the world to participate. These principles matching the BIE's criteria on International Expos have brought the Triennale into the constellation of BIE Expos as early as 1933. After the exhibition of 1996 however, the nature of the event changed. In 2016, the Triennale di Milano's 21st edition marked the rebirth of the original Triennale concept and of the collaboration of La Triennale di Milano and the BIE.

The Experience

Design spread throughout Milan

While all previous editions of the event took place in the historical building of the Triennale - the Palazzo dell'Arte – the 2016 edition extended to the entire city of Milan in several prestigious venues. Participants had over 22,000 m2 spread throughout Milan and Monza to exhibit their works in a wide variety of settings.

Nineteen different locations, mixing historical venues as well as contemporary art centres, were selected to host the exhibition. These included Villa Reale di Monza, the contemporary Ansaldo Museum of Cultures designed by David Chipperfield, the Hangar Bicocca dedicated to the production, display and promotion of contemporary art, the youth centre for cultural production Fabbrica del Vapore, the 150 year-old Politecnico University, the former site of Expo 2015 Milano, and the Bovisa Campus that houses Europe's major school of design.

Design spread throughout Milan

A wide variety of participants

The second novelty of the XX1T compared to previous editions was the nature of its participants. To increase the scope of the event and generate true variety in terms of exhibits, ideas and stimulating discussions, new actors participated in the Triennale, including cities, regions, universities, firms, design centres, art associations, museums, non profit entities, young groups of designers and more.

In total, over 30 countries participated in XX1 Triennale. Click here to see the list of international participants.

A cross-disciplinary and engaging event

The XX1T consisted of many events on photography, film, new media, architecture, urban planning, ecology, design, fashion, communication, graphic design, art, theatre as well as temporary exhibitions, conferences and lectures. Visitors were able to participate in training courses, workshops, master courses and seminars organised with international training centres, design teams and top-quality manufacturing facilities.

The programme included 23 exhibitions; 11 of which were curated by the Advisory Committee of the XX1T and 12 which were organised in cooperation with external institutions (museums, public authorities, institutions and companies).


Information and Communication Committee

9 Members nominated for two years:

  • Albania
  • Czech Republic
  • Gabon
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Palau
  • Pakistan
  • Togo
  • Turkey (Presidency of the Committee)


Administration and Budget Committee

9 Members nominated for two years:

  • Algeria
  • Angola (Presidency of the Committee)
  • Belgium
  • Chile
  • Cyprus
  • Kazakhstan
  • Mauritania
  • Romania
  • United Republic of Tanzania

Rules Committee

12 Members nominated for two years:

  • Argentina
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bangladesh
  • France (Presidency of the Committee)
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Lithuania
  • Russian Federation
  • San Marino
  • Spain
  • Tunisia

Executive Committee

12 Members nominated for two years:

  • Belarus
  • China
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Iran (Islamic Republic of)
  • Madagascar
  • Monaco
  • Morocco
  • Republic of Korea (Presidency of the Committee)
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates

For participants : Expo allows international outreach and economic opportunities

Expo hosts invite countries, international organisations, the civil society and companies to participate to the event and be a part of the exhibition through their own pavilions and dedicated spaces. This gives participants a unique stage to present their achievements, culture, products etc. to an international audience. This has an impact on their international image but also on the development of their activities.

Expos allow countries to strengthen their cooperation ties with the host country and other participant countries, as well as promote their local products. Companies can expand their markets by participating to the organization of the event, meeting with other companies and investors and engaging with a new audience. Expos also offer a stage to International Organizations and the civil society to raise awareness on the causes that they defend.

For the host country : Expo is a tool for nation branding and development

Because an Expo is one of the few events able to attract world leaders and decision makers as well as millions of visitors, it is a unique opportunity for a country to strengthen its international image and position itself as a key player in the international arena. In 2000, Hanover Expo allowed Germany to present to the world the new face of the unified country. With Expo Astana 2017 dedicated to the theme Future Energy, the 23 year-old Republic of Kazakhstan aims at increasing its international appeal and affirming its key role in the development of sustainable energies.

An Expo is also an extraordinary way to foster development. The event boosts the improvement of infrastructures, transportation networks and housing capacity. It generates employment and job creation and improves the global business and investment environment of the country.

This local and national development is also boosted by an accurate re-use of the Expo site. After the event, the site is transformed to fit with the economic, social and cultural needs of the area. In Lisbon for example, Expo 1998 allowed an abandoned area to become an important economic center of the city, and Shanghai is turning the site of Expo 2010 into a major cultural and entertainment sector.

For the general public : Expo is an educating and entertaining experience

An Expo is an experience that combines entertainment and education and offers a wide variety of exhibitions, activities and shows. With its innovative architecture, the Expo site is an attraction in itself. But the interactive exhibitions, the ground-breaking technologies that are showcased and the Expo's intense cultural program ensure a truly unforgettable experience.

A typical day at Expo would be: navigating over the Arctic Ocean thanks to digital technologies (Russian pavilion, Expo Yeosu 2012), seeing a robot play the flute (Expo Aichi 2005) and engaging in a debate on energy efficiency in cities (Expo Astana 2017) during the day, and listening to a concert of Santana (Hanover 2000) or seeing a performance of the Cirque du Soleil (Zaragoza 2008) in the evening.

The success of these events can be expressed in the number of visitors. 19 million people visited Hanover 2000, 22 million went to Aichi 2005 and Expo Shanghai 2010 broke the record with 73 million tickets sold.

For the international community : Expo is a dialogue platform for progress and cooperation

An Expo brings the whole world together to find solutions to a fundamental challenge of humanity. This challenge is the theme of the Expo. In Milan 2015, the theme will be "Feeding the planet, energy for life" and Astana 2017 will be dedicated to "Future energy."

In practice, how is this theme adressed? First, all participants are either given an exhibition space or the opportunity to build a pavilion. In these spaces they can showcase their experience, innovations and ideas regarding the theme. In addition, conferences, workshops, debates as well as diplomatic and professional meetings are organized. This allows participants to exchange ideas, come up with solutions and develop new cooperation ties.

Thanks to this intellectual stimulation, Expos set guidelines for the future. For example, Expo 2010 Shanghai, dedicated to improving quality of life in cities, issued the "Shanghai Manual - A Guide for Sustainable urban development in the 21st Century". In 2012, Expo Yeosu gave way to the "Yeosu Declaration for a living ocean and coasts" to encourage the International Commmunity to take action.

7. Post-Expo

The host city develops its post-Expo plan

The closing of the Expo is the beginning of a new life for the area. A team is created to ensure the good management of the post-Expo plan and make sure the site is transformed to fit the development needs of the region.

The BIE accompanies countries in this post-Expo phase and verifies that the plan presented during the preparation of the Expo is being properly implemented.

6. The Expo

The Expo opens

The Expo lasts up to three or six months according to its category. The scope of the event and its millions of visitors require very tight logistics, careful coordination and an extremely busy calendar of events and activities. During this period, the organising team may be composed of several thousand people, including volunteers.

5. Preparation and implementation of the Expo project

The host country implements its Expo project

It is only after the registration or the recognition of an Expo project that the host country officially begins preparations for the event, including:

  • Planning, building and operating the site
  • Sending out, through diplomatic channels, official invitations to governments and international organisations to participate to the Expo
  • Working with participants and establishing the Participation guide. The host country will be in regular contact with the BIE Member States in order to optimise their participation to the Expo.
  • Developing the theme and implementing related activities
  • Planning and organising the programs related to city development, culture, and events
  • Finalising special regulations and implementing them
  • Finalising communication and promotion plans and implementing them


During this phase, Expo organisers are required to report regularly (twice a year) to the BIE:

  • The Executive Committee, to present the advancement of Expo preparations
  • The Rules Committee, to present the special regulations of the event
  • The Information and Communication Committee, to present the Expo communication strategy
  • The General Assembly, to present an overall progress report. BIE Member States may make recommendations or ask for certain measures to be taken in order to ensure the smooth running of the Expo.

4. Registration or Recognition of the Expo project

The BIE "registers" or "recognises" the Expo

After the vote, the future host country must formalise its Expo project by submitting a complete and definitive implementation plan for the Expo. This formalisation is called "registration" for World Expos and "recognition" for Specialised Expos.

For World Expos, the registration dossier must be submitted to the BIE at least five years before the opening date. For Specialised Expos, the recognition dossier must be submitted at least four years before the opening date.

The registration or recognition dossiers must address:

  • Legislative and financial measures
  • The legal status of the Expo organisers
  • The development of the theme (theme selection, its definition, its development, applications)
  • The duration of the Expo
  • The master plan of the site
  • The financial plan
  • A preliminary promotional and communication plan (national and international)
  • Post-Expo plan
  • The commercial strategy of the organisers

The dossier must be accompanied by the Expo's general regulations, the participation contracts that will be addressed to the future participants, the documents establishing and guaranteeing compensation in case of cancellation and any special regulations regarding the theme, the financial and material conditions for participation and the measures to minimize participation costs.

3. Election

BIE Member States vote for the host country

At the end of the bidding phase, BIE Member States vote for the host country by secret ballot during the BIE General Assembly. Each Member State has one vote and priority is given to candidatures submitted by Member States.

Voting procedure:

  • In the case of one or two candidates, the right to host an Expo is awarded to the country that obtains a simple majority of votes for or against.
  • If there are more than two candidates, then a proposal must receive a two thirds majority in order to win in the first round. If no proposal receives a 2/3 majority in the first round, the proposal that receives the least amount of votes is eliminated. This procedure carries on until there are only two candidates left. The host country will then be elected by simple majority.

This procedure applies to Member States only; a two thirds majority is required for a non-Member State candidate to win the right to host an Expo.

Selection criteria:

  • The feasibility and viability of the Expo project, as assessed by the Enquiry Mission.
  • The appeal of the theme: BIE Member States will assess the quality of the theme according to its universal interest and whether it will allow them to participate actively to the Expo.
  • Consideration of bilateral relations: the relations between the candidate country and the BIE Member State (not only existing relations but projected relations as well) can influence a Member State's decision.

After a country wins the right to host an Expo, it continues to work closely with the BIE to formalise the Expo project.

2. Project Examination

Candidates present and promote their projects

Bid Dossier

At the end of the six-month period followign the submission of the first application, call candidates present a full bid dossier based on defined specifications. These bid dossiers will be used as the basis for the work of BIE Enquiry Missions that will be carried out in candidate countries.

Enquiry Mission – project assessment

Enquiry missions are carried out by the BIE in each candidate country. They assess the feasibility and viability of the Expo project, the political and social climate of the candidate country and city and the support of the government for the project.

The following elements are evaluated:

  • The proposed theme (its definition and its content)
  • Date and duration
  • Location
  • Area of the Expo site
  • Number of expected visitors
  • Proposed measures to ensure financial feasibility and financial guarantees
  • Indicators that will allow the evaluation of the participation costs for countries and the proposed financial and material provisions to minimize this cost.
  • Attitude of relevant authorities and interested parties
  • Citizens' support
  • Environmental impact of the project
  • Plans for the communication and promotion of the project

The results of these missions are compiled in a report, reviewed by the Executive Committee of the BIE and forwarded with advice to the General Assembly. The General Assembly then decides which proposals the BIE will further investigate. Once approved, the report forms the basis of evaluation by the BIE Member States during the vote.

International campaign - project development

As soon as they submit the initial application, candidate countries carry out international campaigns to garner support for their project. They organise international symposiums, forums and other activities and travel the world to meet with representatives of BIE Member States.

During each General Assembly of the BIE held between the submission of the bid and the final vote, candidate countries have the opportunity to present their Expo project to delegates.

1. Submission of candidature

Candidates submit their application

The Government of the State wishing to organise an Expo must submit a letter of candidature to the BIE mentioning the proposed theme, the proposed dates, the duration of the Expo and the legal status of the organisers. The letter must guarantee the full support of the government.

To apply for World Expos, candidates must submit their applications between 6 and 9 years before the proposed opening dates of the Expo.

To apply for Specialised Expos, candidates must submit their applications between 5 and 6 years before the proposed opening dates of the Expo.

After one country has submitted its application, any other government wishing to organise an exhibition for the same period has six months to submit its own application to the BIE.

There must be at least 15 years between any two Expos organised in the same country. If the Government submitting the application is not the organiser of the Expo, it must officially recognise the organisers and guarantee the fulfilment of their obligations.

The Triennale di Milano

The Triennale di Milano 

The Triennale di Milano is the only BIE-regulated Expo that is always organised in the same city: Milan. It is a unique global meeting place for the key players of the design industry and the general public. As the nature of the Triennale matched the criteria set by the Convention of 1928 to describe an Expo, it was brought under the scope of the BIE's regulatory activity as early as 1933.

It takes place every 3 years, with a break between 1996 and 2016.

Sustainable development and education at the heart of Expos

Over the years, the BIE has adapted Expos to the needs of an ever-changing world. With the growing concern of international organizations for social and economic inequality and a new environmental awareness, simply showcasing industrial progress could not be enough, and Expos, by bringing the international community together, became a unique platform for education and development.

After setting Education as the primary goal of Expos in 1972, the BIE issued a resolution in 1994 that stated Expos must address crucial problems of our time and tackle the challenge of environmental protection. Ever since, Expos have made sustainable development their main objective.

The success of Expos brings new Member States to the BIE

Since 1931, the BIE has regulated over 50 Expos, each attracting millions of visitors. In 2010, Shanghai broke the record with 73 million visitors.

The success of these events, the independence of new countries and the era of globalisation have opened the world of Expos to Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Today, 170 countries are members of the BIE.

Horticultural Expos

Horticultural Expos

Horticultural Expos were brought into the scope of the BIE in 1959, a year before the first Expo of this kind. They are held under the joint auspices of the BIE and the Association of International Horticultural Producers (AIPH). Due to their international character, their duration (3 to 6 months), their size (50 ha minimum), their millions of visitors and the importance given to innovation and education, Horticultural Expos are in a way the World Expos of Horticulture.

At least two years must separate two Horticultural Expos.

The Convention of 1928 and the BIE: created to ensure the quality of Expos

The idea to set a common organizational framework for Expos started to emerge as early as 1867 when the Commissioner General of the British pavilion at the Parisian Fair issued a memorandum which was signed by his counterparts from Austria, Prussia, Italy, Russia and the USA. The memorandum set 3 main objectives: to control the size and duration of Expos, set a rotation system between States, clarify the different types of Expos and guarantee the quality of the exhibits.

However, it wasn't until 1928 that the project turned to reality. The German Government had taken an important step in 1912 but the First World War put a halt to the discussion. The governments took up the matter again in the 1920s, and in Paris, on November 22nd 1928, 31 countries signed the International Convention regulating the organisation of international exhibitions.

The Convention of 1928 applied to all International exhibitions that were of non commercial nature, that were not fine arts exhibitions and that lasted over 3 weeks. This meant that all exhibitions that matched these criteria and that were held by a signing party of the Convention had to respect its rules. The Convention indentified different (non-exclusive) types of Expos, established their frequency, set a regulatory procedure for host and participant countries and created a governing body dedicated to guaranteeing the proper application of the Convention: the BIE.

Today, the BIE oversees 4 types of Expos

The Convention and the creation of the BIE marked a true change in the organization of Expos. However, 1928 was only the beginning of a long process led by the BIE of redefining, clarifying and specifying the characteristics of Expos and their regulation which the Convention had left open to the interpretation of countries.

After many previous amendments to the Convention, the amendment of 1988 was an important step in the history of the BIE. It clarified the difference between 2 types of Expos, General and Special, whose characteristics had been amended many times since 1928, and created World Expos and International Specialized Expos.

World Expos last up to 6 months, are not limited in size, participants can build their own pavilion, and the theme of the Expo has to be of universal concern.

Specialised Expos are limited to 25 ha, can last up to 3 months, are dedicated to a more specific theme and hosts provide participants with a space inside a pavilion. They were created to limit the organisation costs for hosts and participant countries.

In addition to these two Expos, the BIE also regulates the organisation of two other international Exhibitions whose characteristics match those of Expos in terms of international participation and duration: the Triennale di Milano regulated by the BIE since 1933 and Horticultural Expos co-organised with the International Association of Horticultural Producers since 1959.

Learn more about the 4 types of Expos.

Specialised Expos

Specialised Expos 

Specialised Expos as we know them today were established by the BIE in 1988. They are global events dedicated to finding solutions to precise challenges of humanity, such as ocean protection (Expo 2012 Yeosu) or the future of energy (Expo 2017 Astana). Their entertainment and intellectual ambition is the same as World Expos but the event is smaller in size and participant countries don't build their own pavilion but can customise a space provided by the organiser. They were created to allow a maximum number of countries to host and participate to an Expo.

They take place between 2 World Expos and last up to 3 months.

1851 – 1928 : a multiplication of Expos that threatened their image and quality

Even though World's Fairs were international exhibitions, each organizing country set the rules of its event alone, without discussing them with other countries.

This created 3 major problems that threatened the quality and image of World Expos:

  • A lack of transparency and information regarding national laws, regulations and taxations, which were said to sometimes favour the organizing country
  • A multiplication of Expos, as each country wanted to overdo the last event. This cost host and participant countries important sums of money.
  • The apparition of new types of Expos such as colonial, sectorial or much smaller expos that didn't match the nature of World's Fairs but were held under their name

World Expos

World Expos

Like the World's Fairs of the pre-BIE era, World Expos welcome tens of millions of visitors, allow countries to build extraordinary pavilions and can transform the landscape of a city for years to come.

However, the main difference with the Expos of those times is that World Expos are no longer solely dedicated to showcasing industrial progress and showing off national prestige. They have become discussion platforms aimed at finding solutions to universal challenges of our time, such as urbanism (Expo Shanghai 2010) or nutrition (Expo Milan 2015).

They take place every 5 years and last up to 6 months.

Expos : over 150 years of history

The first World Expo took place in London in 1851. Many other cities followed and held memorable exhibitions such as Paris, Vienna, Chicago or Brussels.

Intrinsically linked to the Industrial Revolution, these Expos, also known as World's Fairs, allowed countries to showcase their culture and their power and display their architectural and technological prowess. They unveiled inventions such as the telephone, the typewriter or the elevator, as well as the latest architectural technologies in the form of the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty.

1867 PARIS

The Paris exposition of 1867 is the second universal exhibition which took place in Paris after 1855, decision made once again this time by the Emperor Napoleon III, marking the peak of the Empire II.  
The main idea of this exhibition was the better understanding between nations and the bringing peace through this Exchange.

This exhibition was not given as a goal to bring produce from foreign countries and expose them but also to make their way of life known to the French public and to allow a better interaction between different cultures through the pavilions. The invention of the concept of pavilions is the most important innovation of this exhibition. This concept was taken up at all shows after 1867.

Very innovative products appeared at this exhibition as for example the new diver to swim under water, but also one that resists fire, hydraulic elevator, reinforced concrete, machinery manufacturing soft drinks and many others. It is on the occasion of the exhibition in 1867 that the “bateaux-mouches” as a means of tourist transport made their first appearance on the Seine.

As no other World Exposition before it, the Exposition Universelle 1867 attracted the regents of the whole world. For the first time, even a Turkish sultan left his country to take part in the meeting of nations´ representatives. This unbroken parade of princely visits went on for six months, a parade which was popularly known as the "Nations´ Ballet". And even the rulers of the three continental powers who had fought against Napoleon I up until the year 1814 returned for the first time to Paris: the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I, the Prussian King Wilhelm I with his chancellor Bismarck and the Russian Tsar Alexander II. 

The Promenade, the park with its rest rooms, restaurants of different nations, pavilions and different designs ranging from chapels to the lighthouse, passing by the Egyptian Palace and the Russian village also constituted a set of new giving to this exhibition look worthy of a world's fair size and diversity.

1855 PARIS

The exhibition of Agriculture, industry, and the Fine Arts of Paris 1855 was born from the Decree of March 8, 1853, of Napoleon III, who inspired by the first Universal Exhibition held in London in 1851 had decided to organize a similar event in Paris. First an exhibition relating to the industry and agricultural products was created but later an exhibition of fine arts became part of the first one residing in a separate building.
This exhibition was very important at the diplomatic level because of the visit of the Queen Victoria of England. She recognized the rise of Napoleon III to power, showing solidarity between the monarchs and established a very close relationship with him that lasted until the death of Napoleon III.

During the exhibition a big number of machines made their first appearance before a large audience. Indeed the visitors discovered for the first time the lawn mower, washing machine of Moore, sewing machine 'Singer', the speaking doll, the six-shooter (revolver) and one of the first vehicles running on oil. The Saint-Gobain factory exposed the biggest mirror in the world with a surface of 18,4 sq. m.


The First World Exhibition came in response to the demand for creating new economic links between nations in face of the triumph of free trade policy. As a result of the efforts of Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, and the inventor Henry Cole it was successfully organised in London, the capital of the State that was at the head of the technological transformation and leader of the mid-nineteenth century economic boom.

A special commission headed by Prince Albert designated the famous Hyde Park as the exposition site and announced a competition for the best project for the building to house the exhibits. More than 250 projects were submitted and the preference was given to the project of Joseph Paxton, later called the Crystal Palace. It became the architectural masterpiece of the epoch and even now its dimensions are impressive: length - 563 metres, width - 124 metres,

floor area – 7,18 ha, height of the main nave - 19,5 metres
, height of the cross nave - 41 metres. (Some time after the exposition closed, the construction was transferred to Sydenham Park; right up to 1936, when it burnt down, the building was the site of exhibitions, sporting events and musical festivals).

“I’m not saying there’s nothing to see, but that there’s too much to see,” – Charles Dickens said after visiting the exhibition. The most impressive section was the machinery section, notable for the railroad equipment from UK and Germany, steam engines and American farm equipment, which was almost unknown in Europe. Stereo photographs by the Scottish physicist David Brewster, vulcanized rubber by the American inventor Charles Goodyear, the so called “Viennese chairs” by the Hungarian furniture-maker Tonet, the 1,720-kilogram ingot of crucible steel produced by the Krupp’s plant and many other new products attracted nearly 6 millions visitors and allowed to the organizers of the exhibition to generate an impressive profit – about 186,000 pound sterling. This money was used to found a number of enlightening and educational institutions such as Geological Museum, Museum of Science and Natural History, Museum of Manufactures (known now as Victoria and Albert Museum) and Imperial College of Science.
As a whole, the First World Exhibition summed up the achievements of the industrial revolution and promoted the accelerated propagation of its results.



The Expo

Under Construction

International Horticultural Exhibitions

Under Construction

CRYSTAL BIE MultiMedia Exhibition and Training Centre

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Crystal CG, one of the world’s leading Visual Communication and Design Services company, entered in 2011 in an exclusive Strategic Partnership contract with the BIE. The objective of the exclusive partnership was to build the world’s first “Multimedia Information Center” for the BIE opened in 2012 in Paris. This project, a 100% funded by Crystal CG, had the mission to entertain, inform and educate present and future BIE Member delegates, Expo organizers, candidates and participants concerning Expo history and the BIE organizational infrastructure and background.


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By using interactive visual solutions and cutting-edge multimedia through Christie, one of the major visual display solutions partners of Crystal CG, the center offers a wide range of options to help BIE offer solutions to its members and partners. The center houses a permanent exhibition highlighting BIE’s and Expos accomplishments with additionally interactive multimedia area, a major conference room to discuss Expositions and large-scale promotional events and most importantly a comprehensive digital research library for delegates, scholars, students and future Expo organizers.


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Cristal’s creative visual solutions have powered such notable events as the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, the 2011 Shenzhen Universiade, the Yeosu Expo 2012 and the 2012 London Olympics.


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For more information : www.crystalcg.com

For visits of the Multimedia Information Center, please, contact the BIE Secretariat (+, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

2010 Better City, Better Life

2010 shanghai ENG


May 1 – October 31, 2010


At a time when more than half of the world’s population lives in urban environments, China and Shanghai welcomed in 2010 more than 73 million visitors and 246 participating governments, international organizations, and NGOs to their World Exhibition on the quality of life in cities.


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EXPO Shanghai: Largest International Platform to Explore the Future of Urban Life2010-shanghai-carte-eng

EXPO Shanghai 2010 – Better City, Better Life invited the international community to re-evaluate the way we live in cities and to act upon the full potential of urban life in the 21st century as humanity faces a historic turning point: more than half of the global population is concentrated in cities and towns, with the majority living in Asia and Africa.




China as a Host: Bridge Between Two Worlds

With its understanding of the needs of developing nations, China, through the Expo, aspires to serve as a bridge between the developed world and the developing world. Lacking the resources to cope with the scale and pressures of urbanization, developing countries are most severely affected by it. China’s goal for the Expo is to provide a global rallying point for innovation in urban best practices to be shared by all.



Shanghai: A Window Into a New Urban Future

A booming cosmopolitan city in the most populous country in the world, undergoing one of the most dramatic economic expansions of our age, Shanghai’s engagement takes part of a worldwide mobilization to create cities that are better equipped to meet the challenges of our urbanized age.



The theme:

Better City, Better Life

2010 shanghai 5Today, with more than half of the planet’s population living in urban environments, humanity is at a historic and critical juncture: the unprecedented concentration of populations and resources in cities and towns have opened doors to a host of both new possibilities and challenges for development.  

Cities have historically served as fertile grounds for human innovation and advancement, thanks to the infrastructure, resources, outlets, and opportunities in place that encourage research, creativity, or entrepreneurship.

At the same time, unfortunately, cities have also been known to give rise to a number of problems: pollution, unmanaged population growth, excessive waste generation, and unsustainable energy consumption, for example. When poorly managed, cities become incubators of conflict and human suffering, generating poverty, environmental deterioration, exclusion, and negligence of human rights, among others.2010 shanghai 3

It is precisely for this potential of cities—to benefit and harm humanity’s quest for a better and healthy future—that effectively dealing with urbanization today represents a priority in the global public agenda. As such, urban development has been the object of numerous international conferences and movements in recent years.

At the dawn of a new millennium and faced with an entirely different set of challenges and opportunities than that from our “pre-urbanized” era, the way we manage our cities will make all the difference in not only our present ability to prosper and make choices freely but that of our future generations.


The 5 sub-themes of EXPO Shanghai 2010:

  • “Blending of Diverse Cultures in the City”
  • “Economic Prosperity in the City”
  • “Innovation of Science and Technology in the City”
  • “Remodelling of Communities in the City”
  • “Interactions Between Urban and Rural Areas”



Shanghai Declaration

One of the most pressing questions of our time then is this: how can we act upon the enormous potential of cities for development, while meeting the challenges posed by them? The Shanghai Declaration of the World Expo 2010 which was jointly issued by participant nations, regions and international organizations at the Summit Forum on the sidelines of the Expo tryed to give an answer.

It calls upon the world to pursue the efforts were undertaken in the Shanghai Expo: to promote sustainable urban development, to foster cooperation and exchanges among cities and regions, and to share experiences and lessons in urbanization.

The Declaration proposes to undertake initiatives for knowledge sharing and capacity building for cities around the world as they tackle the economic, social and environmental challenges of the 21st century. One such initiative will create educational materials for future city planners and managers by compiling the intellectual contributions of the Shanghai Expo.

October 31st, the day of the closing ceremony of World Expo 2010 Shanghai China, has been nominated as World Better Cities Day, so that the ideas and practices of the Shanghai Expo will be recalled, renewed and advanced in the future, inspiring humankind in its enduring pursuit of urban innovation and harmonious development.

Download the Shanghaï Declaration - 31.10.2010 (chinese, english, french)


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For more information: http://en.expo2010.cn/

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Who we are

The BIE is the Intergovernmental Organisation in charge of overseeing and regulating all international exhibitions that last more than three weeks and are of non commercial nature ("Expos"). Today, 4 main types of Expos are organised under its auspices: World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano. 

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Our mission is to guarantee the quality and the success of these world events, protect the rights of their organisers and participants and preserve their core values of Education, Innovation and Cooperation. We do this by:

  • Choosing the host countries of future Expos
  • Providing candidate and host countries with our expertise in event management, national branding and public diplomacy
  • Regulating the organization of the event and making sure the host country and all participants respect the Convention of the BIE and the rules of the Expo

Learn more about the process of organising an Expo

From the 31 countries that created the BIE in 1928, the Organisation has grown to 170 Member States, as a result of the success and the appeal of Expos. The BIE Member States take part in all the decisions of the BIE and they strive to continually improve the quality of Expos. The headquarters of the BIE are located in Paris.

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