Twenty years ago today, Expo 2000 Hannover welcomed visitors to envision what the theme “Humankind – Nature – Technology” could mean in the 21st century. Here are a few interesting facts about this World Expo:
1. 155 nations: inclusive participation for the 21st century
The World Expo that brought in the new millennium gathered 155 nations – higher than any previous Expo and symbolising a new era of global cooperation. Developing countries accounted for around two-thirds of participants, with the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supporting the participation of the least developed countries (LDCs). The pavilions of these countries proved particularly popular at Expo 2000, receiving a total of more than 5 million visitors out of the 18 million who visited the Expo during its five-month duration.
2. From paper to bamboo, pavilions imbued by sustainable design
In line with the Expo’s theme of “Humankind – Nature – Technology”, Expo 2000 placed great importance in sustainability of its designs and construction. Japan’s pavilion, designed by Shigeru Ban, was made primarily of paper tubes, allowing it to be easily dismantled and almost entirely recycled, as was Switzerland’s Peter Zumthor-designed pavilion, made out of stacked wooden beams. The ZERI pavilion (Zero Emission Research Initiative) designed by Símon Vélez only used Guadua bamboo, which not only has a low carbon footprint, but is also more resistant to earthquakes.
3. A theme song that reached the singles charts
The official jingle and song of Expo 2000 was created specially by celebrated German electronic band Kraftwerk. Featuring the lyrics “Expo 2000” sung in German, English, French, Russian, and Japanese, the full-length synthpop song also paid tribute to the theme and reached the singles charts in a number of countries.
4. A half-year cultural fest, from rock concerts to a 22-hour play
More than 15,000 cultural events took place on the Expo site over five and a half months, with the visitors able to soak up a wide variety of spectacles ranging from rock concerts to movie screenings and dance theatre. The Expo 2000 Music Programme featured concerts by artists including Carlos Santana, Lionel Richie, Ray Charles, and Patricia Kaas, as well as the iconic ‘Moment of Glory’ concert programme of hard rock band Scorpions in collaboration with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Among the many theatre performances, the most epic was undoubtedly Peter Stein’s full and unabridged rendition of Goethe’s Faust, lasting an impressive 22 hours.
5. An eco-friendly neighbourhood, part of the Expo 2000 living legacy
The theme of the Expo was also translated in Hannover’s urban planning, most notably via the Kronsberg neighbourhood which was developed alongside the Expo site. The project was conceived as an ecological housing development, rooted in the principles of sustainable development and the Agenda 21 action plan. Created with renewable energy systems, urban agriculture, multi-modal transportation links and ecological landscapes, the development was a showcase for the message of Expo 2000 – even housing many of its employees during the event – and serves as a sustainable, living legacy.
Find out more about Expo 2000 Hannover.
The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is the intergovernmental organisation in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.