Credit: Jazmin Campbell

The organisers of the Luxembourg Pavilion at the Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), announced their first six sponsors at a press conference on Tuesday.

The Pavilion has concluded three “Diamond” (€500,000) sponsorship contracts with ArcelorMittal (paid in kind), Cargolux (cash and in kind) and RAK Porcelain (cash and in kind), the latter of which has signed an exclusive partnership with the Luxembourg Pavilion. In addition, there are three confirmed “Silver” (€50,000) sponsorship contracts to date with Garden Glass (in kind), MCM steel (cash) and the official tourist agency of the Expo, ULT (cash sponsorship), which also benefits from a VIP package including a private visit of the Pavilion. So far, there are no confirmed “Gold” sponsors (€250,000).

Concerning the budget, the initial proposed government budget of €25 million has been raised to €32 million to provide for unexpected costs. Indeed, the Pavilion organisers revealed that construction costs in Dubai were 30% higher than in Luxembourg. However, this is just the maximum possible budget and the Pavilion’s partners (€7.5 million), such as Post, as well as money from the liquidation of “Luxembourg for Business” (€5.8 million), will contribute to these costs.

Regarding the development of the Pavilion itself, the Expo 2020 organisers approved the final design in March 2019 and construction will begin on site in Dubai in July 2019. Led by architects Metaform, winners of the Pavilion’s contest in 2017, in collaboration with general contractor Nüssli Adunic AG, employees from across Europe and beyond (Austria, Germany, Pakistan, etc.) will carry out works until the expected end date of July 2020. There will then be a three-month test phase prior to the start of the Expo in October 2020. There are also plans for an Economic Mission and a “Fête du bouquet” in January 2020 as the project develops. It should be noted that the organisers have set up a charter protecting workers’ rights.

In terms of content and themes, the Luxembourg Pavilion will reflect both the theme of the Expo 2020, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, and the nature of Luxembourg as a country. The confirmed main themes are thus diversity, connectivity, sustainability, entrepreneurship and beauty (of nature). Working groups are continuing to meet to offer insight into each of the topics and the organisers already have an idea of how they want these to materialise at the Expo. For instance, the entrepreneurship section will offer a space-like atmosphere and there is discussion of using a green colour palette for the beauty (nature) section which will also offer a journey through the different regions of Luxembourg. The next steps include the development and finetuning of the final scenography which will also reflect the Nation Branding concept.

Indeed, the Pavilion will be spread out across 3,648m2 and on two floors with a 500-person capacity. It will also offer a multifunction room for 50-70 people and a restaurant (with a terrace and a shop opposite) with space for 80 people.

Finally, the provisional programme of the Pavilion during this six-month World Expo (July – April 2020) will include gastronomic, economic and cultural activities. Regarding the former, the Pavilion is developing a culinary concept for the restaurant in partnership with Ecole d’Hôtellerie et de Tourisme du Luxembourg. This partnership will also offer internships to students of the school. In addition, six Luxembourg chefs are working with the Pavilion to develop a Luxembourg-inspired menu for the duration of the exhibition.

Concerning, economic and cultural activities, the Pavilion will host a “Made in Luxembourg” week to highlight Luxembourg products in partnership with the Chambre de Commerce, whilst a group of eight artists are working together to showcase Luxembourgish culture. One highlight on the agenda will be Luxembourg Day on 23 January 2021 and the Luxembourg Week, although there are plenty of other activities being planned by the various ministries, sponsors, businesses and associations.