Swiss to go "under the sea" at 2008 World Expo

Switzerland boosts in presence in Valencia (Lucyna Koch)

Switzerland aims to present itself as an innovative and environmentally conscious country at next year's World Exhibition in Zaragoza.

This content was published on March 14, 2007 - 21:37

The three-month event in the northern Spanish city focuses on water and sustainable development and follows on from the 2005 World Exhibition in Aichi, Japan.

The Swiss pavilion will feature an installation with a giant sail. It will be used as a projection screen and is also the main part of an energy efficient cooling system, the foreign ministry's promotion agency, Presence Switzerland (PRS) said on Wednesday.

The project, Under the Sea, was designed by the Zurich architect Thomas Fischer and German filmmaker, Saskia Walker.

"The participation of a German artist will give us the chance to take a look at our country from a distance," said Johannes Matyassy, director of PRS.

It includes presentations of Swiss expertise on hydrology and pollution. A special display of water animals is aimed at attracting the attention of young visitors to the Swiss pavilion.

Swiss companies and organisations have been invited to take part in a programme named Water Platform.

"We know that visitors to the World Expo want to give them an impression and a first taste of Switzerland. The sail provides this element. In the pavilion they also get in-depth knowledge of our country," Matyassy told swissinfo.

The government approved a budget of SFr3 million ($2.5 million) for Switzerland's participation in the World Exhibition.

The Swiss authorities hailed the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, Japan, as a success. They said more than a million visitors went to the Swiss pavilion at the time.

Focus Spain

Spain has been the focus of the activities of PRS since 2003 in an effort to promote information about Switzerland and showcase the diversity of the country.

Following an initial programme, MiraSuiza, last year's project started focusing on the city of Valencia. For 2007 and 2008 Switzerland will use the prestigious sailing competition, the America's Cup, and the World Expo to enhance its image abroad.

The Swiss Alinghi team are the defending champions of the Cup.

Swiss president Micheline Calmy-Rey is expected to travel to Valencia for the start of the final round of the competition in June.

Switzerland Tourism has chosen Spain to launch its promotional campaign for the European football championships, co-hosted by Switzerland in 2008.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The first World Expo took place in London in 1851.

The most recent global exhibitions include:
1970: Osaka, Japan
1992: Seville, Spain
1998: Lisbon, Portugal
2000: Hanover, Germany
2005: Aichi, Japan
2008: Zaragoza, Spain

The 2010 World Expo is due to take place in the Chinese city of Shanghai in 2010.

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Key facts

Expo 2008 is to run from June, 18 to September 18, 2008.
The theme is Water and Sustainable Development.
At least 78 countries are due to take part in the exhibition.

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