Groundbreaking Ceremony Expo 2020 Dubai (video)

Groundbreaking ceremony Netherlands Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai: Netherlands harvests water from desert air in Dubai as an ode to innovation.

Videoboodschap minister Kaag Expo 2020 Dubai

This morning, the Kingdom of the Netherlands kicked off construction of the Expo 2020 Dutch Pavilion in Dubai with an innovative groundbreaking ceremony giving a sneak preview into Dutch innovations. As a symbol of innovation and connection, Dutch Consul General and Commissioner-General, Hans Sandee, presented on behalf of the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, a bottle of water harvested from air in the Netherlands to Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, Executive Director of Expo 2020 Dubai. The presentation of the harvested water embodies the theme of the Dutch participation ‘Uniting Water Food and Energy‘, reflecting Dutch innovations and knowledge in these areas.

“It is important to realize our responsibility towards our planet and future generations. By showcasing home-grown solutions that link the issues of water, energy and food, we are keen to contribute to Expo 2020 Dubai” said Minister Sigrid Kaag, in a speech recorded from the beach in the Netherlands.

The speech was broadcast at the Pavilion’s groundbreaking ceremony in Dubai, in the presence of high level representatives of EXPO 2020, V8 Architects and Dutch companies contributing to the Expo 2020.

“Today’s groundbreaking ceremony and this unique bottle of water harvested from air reflects the Netherlands’ innovative approach to Expo 2020 Dubai. We look forward to continuing to work with the Dutch team and seeing what other exciting technologies will feature in the Dutch pavilion at Expo 2020”, according to Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, Executive Director of EXPO 2020 Dubai.

Dutch innovations

The unique biotope, designed by V8 Architects, which the Netherlands is going to construct as the Dutch Pavilion showcases the Dutch prowess in innovation, inventiveness and openness. The biotope connects water, energy and food in a circular way. The production of water from desert air powered by solar is one of the impressive inventions that will be on display from 20 October next year in the Dutch Pavilion. Dutch artist-innovator-entrepreneur Ap Verheggen and his team are the people behind the SunGlacier technology that makes this feat possible: “Our solar-powered water-from-air technology will enable us to produce food in the future without being dependent on rainfall, rivers or other traditional sources of water.” Holland Water will also be providing innovative water systems to the Dutch pavilion of Expo 2020. Their systems prevent biofilm building up in water pipes and cooling towers. Smart doses of very low concentrations of copper and silver ions prevent bacteria like Legionella from gaining a foothold, even in the warm Dubai climate.

Other Dutch companies present at the ceremony also have a strong presence in our Pavilion and in the United Arab Emirates. The Dutch marine contractor, Van Oord, for example, has also recently decided to become one of our first national partners of the Dutch Pavilion. They are a renowned company in the United Arab Emirates, being involved in projects such as the Palm Island and Bluewaters Island, and are currently working on the new Dubai Harbour project, a waterfront development featuring a cruise terminal and a 1,400-berth marina. Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), will be supplying the Dutch Pavilion with solutions in connected lighting, design and integration. Signify has contributed to some iconic projects, including Dubai Lamp, Dubai Frame, Hamdan Bin Mohamed Smart University and others, offering great added value and driving enhanced energy efficiency.
“These companies prove the strength of sustainable Dutch technology and solutions,” according to Dutch Commissioner-General Hans Sandee at the ceremony.

Springboard for ‘Uniting water, energy and food’

During Expo 2020 Dubai, the Netherlands and Dutch businesses are showcasing themselves under the Dutch theme ‘Uniting water, energy and food’. Some 250 Dutch businesses are active in the United Arab Emirates, with Dutch exports to the Gulf region totalling more than €11 billion. Gulf countries are major consumers of water and energy and the majority of food in the region is imported. The challenges faced in the Gulf surrounding sustainable water, food and energy are also present in many other places across the globe. In fact, a majority of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) touch on these issues in some way. Dutch businesses, knowledge institutions and civil society organisations have a great deal of expertise and know-how in this area and are able to not only make the most of the opportunities that the Gulf presents, but can also play an important role in finding solutions outside the region and globally.

“Expo 2020 will provide an extraordinary springboard for Dutch business and trade in the region well beyond 2020,” said Minister Kaag.
In total, around €19,4 million has gone into the Dutch participation. A range of Dutch companies will also act as partners within the Dutch pavilion, with Rotterdam-based Van Oord among the first to announce their decision to become a national partner.

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