Staff Reporter, Gulf Todday
Sheikh Nahyan with the Dutch King and Queen and other dignitaries at the Expo 2020 Dubai.
The Netherlands celebrated its Expo 2020 National Day yesterday, with a visit by the Dutch monarch, King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima, accompanied by a packed programme of cultural highlights and the formal opening of the Netherlands Pavilion.
They were welcomed by Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, General of Expo 2020 Dubai.
King Willem-Alexander praised the UAE’s falcon-shaped pavilion: “It features a quote by Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the United Arab Emirates. The message is, and I quote, ‘Unity is the way to strength, honour and the common good.’ I wish this country, which is celebrating its Golden Jubilee this year, a future filled with strength and honour.”
Sheikh Nahyan said: “The Netherlands’ theme, ‘Uniting Water, Energy and Food’ brings to our attention some of the most critical Sustainable Development Goals, and highlights the importance of an integrated approach to find sustainable solutions for issues like water scarcity, food security and the energy transition. The unique pavilion showcases innovative technologies and solutions to these global issues, and it aims to leave no carbon footprint behind, using local materials and reducing the need for transportation. After Expo 2020, the building materials of the pavilion will be repurposed or recycled locally.”
Sheikh Nahyan explained how the UAE and the Netherlands will continue to work together, partnering with the Netherlands and Jordan as co-hosts of the Water, Energy and Food Summit, in January 2022.
Also in attendance was Tom de Bruijn, Foreign Trade and Development Minister, who is leading a trade mission to the UAE based on sustainable development, involving almost 50 Dutch companies and Hans Sandee, Commissioner General of the Netherlands at Expo 2020 Dubai and Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Dubai.
Sandee said: “Being a part of this Expo provides us with the perfect platform to allow the Netherlands to connect with Dubai, the UAE and the rest of the world, uniting people, knowledge and ideas, while promoting the best innovations and sustainability projects the country has to offer, especially in the fields of water, energy and food.”
The flag-raising ceremony was followed by a cultural performance featuring the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Dutch singer-songwriter Hind Laroussi.
Located in the Sustainability District, the Netherlands Pavilion has its own climate system; and produces its own water from the desert using solar power. In addition, it features a 17-metre tall cone which is a vertical farm, supplying a variety of produce including mushrooms. The fungi form part of The Netherlands’ food and beverage offering, and can also be used in building materials for floor and wall tiles.
One of the cultural highlights of the day was ‘Airman’ by Another Kind of Blue, the multimedia dance group. With members originally from the Netherlands - who have appeared on both Britain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent - the show features shadows, projections and motion capture, combining dancing with the use of drones for an uncanny visual effect, and a startling unison of man and machine. Visitors to Expo had three opportunities to catch the performance during the National Day at DEC, Hall 2A South.
‘Strandbeests’, the walking skeletons made from yellow recycled electricity pipe by Dutch artist Theo Jansen, which patrol the Expo site at various times in the day, once again made an appearance in honour of the Netherlands’ National Day.
The Netherlands Pavilion also hosted events to tie in with its Youth and Economic Programmes, with guest speakers and members of the Dutch business community as well as young entrepreneurs.
National and Honour Days at Expo 2020 Dubai are moments to celebrate each of the event’s 200-plus International Participants, shining a light on their culture and achievements.
Meanwhile, Emirates, the Premier Partner and Official Airline of Expo 2020 Dubai, has welcomed AC Milan legend Daniele Massaro to its Pavilion.
Boutros Boutros, Divisional Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Marketing & Brand for Emirates, hosted the club legend who visited the Emirates Pavilion as part of the club’s “From Milan to Many: Watch Parties” initiative, which saw the club host a screening event for the AC Milan vs FC Porto game in the heart of Expo 2020 Dubai.
The viewing event took place yesterday and brought together local AC Milan fans to help cheer their team on during an important season match. The club will continue with its Watch Parties initiative with a screening event in New York City for the much anticipated Milan Derby on Sunday.
Daniele Massaro, AC Milan legend and Brand Ambassador joined the club during their Expo 2020 Dubai tour, and had the chance to experience the futuristic installations at the Emirates Pavilion. The tour included learning about the basic principles of aerodynamics at the Science of Flight experience, exploring the future of commercial aviation, and embarking on his own personalized aviation journey.
Massaro commented on his visit to Dubai and the Emirates Pavilion, saying, “It is always a pleasure to visit Dubai, but this experience was made extra special by this fantastic event that is Expo 2020 Dubai. It was great to interact with the Rossoneri international fanbase at our Watch Party and also to visit the Emirates Pavilion where I felt like travelling forward in time and experience what the future of aviation will look like — something that proves how pioneering Emirates is as a brand and an experience that I would recommend to anyone visiting the exhibition.”
Emirates is supporting the “From Milan to Many: Watch Parties initiative”, by bringing AC Milan fans closer to their favorite club, and is helping bring Daniele Massaro, as well as iconic club memorabilia, including one of the club’s most recognizable trophies to Dubai.
Located in the Opportunity District, the Emirates Pavilion provides Expo 2020 Dubai visitors a technically advanced, must-see opportunity to experience the future of aviation through its interactive, multi-sensory installations.
Meanwhile, the Dubai premier of award-winning short film, Kimana Tuskers took place on 3rd November 2021 at the New Zealand Pavilion at Expo 2020.
Produced by environmental charity Saving the Wild, written & directed by Saving the Wild Founder Jamie Joseph and narrated by two-time Academy Nominated actor Djimon Hounsou, the short documentary views the earth through the eyes of vanishing giants, the great elephant tuskers of the Greater Amboseli ecosystem in Kenya.
Two years in the making, the film was inspired by Jamie Joseph’s passion to protect the remaining 20 Kimana Tuskers on the planet. The film hopes to inspire people from around the world to help save these modern day dinosaurs that have walked the earth for more than 30 million years.
As well as Jamie Joseph from Saving the Wild leading proceedings, the Dubai premiere will be co-hosted by Comvita, New Zealand’s top producer of UMF Mānuka honey. Jamie started using Comvita honey to treat rhinos and elephants wounded by poachers in 2018 and Comvita’s Mãnuka honey Wound Gel to treat koalas and other native wildlife burned or inured in the 2020 Australian bushfires.
Having established a mutual need to help nature in crisis, the two organisations recently announced a three-year partnership. They plan to work together on important global projects to help protect wildlife and restore ecosystems by working in harmony with bees and nature. Their first major project will see Jamie taking Comvita’s beekeeping expertise to Kenya, where local tribes will be trained in beekeeping and honey production. This programme will support both environmental biodiversity and the local community, through social enterprise development.