National exhibition? 10 cities moot national Expo idea

The "cloud", part of the Expo 02


Ten big Swiss cities have joined together to launch the idea of having a joint national exhibition, which would span the whole country.

The theme would be “What is 21st century Switzerland and how can we all live together?" Since the first Swiss national exhibition in 1883 each generation has gathered together for an Expo and discussed the present and the future direction of Switzerland, said a joint statement from the “Ten Cities for an Expo” association on Friday.

Cities can make use their experience of hosting big events and their current infrastructure, the statement added.

The Expo could take place in 10-15 years, the cities said.

The launch comes after the idea for an Expo 2027 in the Lake Constance/eastern Switzerland region was rejected by local voters in cantons St Gallen and Thurgau on June 5. Following the result, there was much debate in the media about whether Expo tradition should be continued.

On Friday evening, Michael Schoenenberger from the Neue Zürcher Zeitung published an editorial external linkabout the ten cities’ idea. He said the cities had basically ignored the verdict on Expo 2027.

"One should first of all think about whether such events are really needed in Switzerland - before setting out on his new course," he wrote.  The country no longer needed an event like this for "nation building" as in former times, he said.

Switzerland’s last national exhibition, Expo 02, centred around three of Switzerland’s major lakes: Neuchâtel, Murten and Biel.

The ten cities involved in the launch of the concept are Zurich, Basel, Bern, Biel, Geneva, Lausanne, Lugano, Lucerne, St Gallen and Winterthur.

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