EXPO 2000 took place in Hanover from 1 June to 31 October, 2000. Germany was the host for the first time in the history of the world exposition. Almost 150 years separate the first “Great Exhibition” in London's Crystal Palace in 1851 and EXPO 2000 in Hanover. During this time, 61 universal world expositions have taken place in 13 different countries, most frequently in the USA, Belgium, England and France. The organizers are expecting a total of 40 million visitors from all over the world, and thus about 300,000 visitors every day. More than 120 countries and organizations have announced their participation, more participants than ever before at a world exposition.
This is the motto by which visitors will see how technical progress can serve new goals: “This new type of world exposition will not be a show of technical superlatives. It is intended to show possibilities of how mankind can arrive at a new equilibrium with nature through a technology that has to serve it,” emphasizes Birgit Breuel, General Commissioner of EXPO 2000.
In comparison with previous exhibitions, the thematic park is an innovation and, at the same time, it is currently the largest public-private partnership enterprise. This “heart” of the world exposition is EXPO 2000's own contribution, transforming the motto of “Mankind, Nature, Technology, Creating a New World” into a three-dimensional experience for the senses. The thematic park offers a platform for international institutions, scientific centers, companies and individuals to present their approaches, suggestions, ideas and initiatives for future living together by mankind in harmony with nature. Sponsors from the economy, including IBM, the exclusive partner of the “Planet of Visions”, are making it possible to realize this multimedia experience landscape. The thematic park is composed of 11 themes, is housed in five halls and is to cover an exhibition area of 100,000 square meters. In terms of its area, it will therefore be twice as large as the Louvre.
The motto of “Mankind - Nature - Technology - Creating a New World” is also binding for the nations' contributions. They will be presenting their approaches towards the solutions to future issues against the backdrop of their own social, cultural, economic and historical situations. Community presentations are planned in addition to these individual contributions. Regionally adjoining nations that are faced with similar problem situations will be showing how they intend to face up to these common challenges. Thus, the countries from the Sahel region will be collaborating to initiate the “Green Sahel” contribution. For one day in each case, the individual nations will be setting the tone at EXPO 2000 with nationally typical events. On Austria's national day, for example, visitors will be treated to a concert by Vienna's symphony orchestra. The cultural and events program during EXPO 2000
Several thousand cultural events will be taking place at EXPO 2000. Cultural events will range from the “Flambée - Human Facets” fire, light and laser show taking place every evening through a giant concert by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra together with the Scorpions to a 21-hour-long performance of Goethe's “Faust I and II”, produced by Peter Stein
EXPO 2000 will be presented on a site measuring 160 hectares. Covering 100 hectares, the Hanover Trade Fair site will account for more than half of the EXPO site. Therefore, EXPO 2000 will be the first world exposition to make use of existing exhibition areas and trade fair facilities. 90 percent of the funds invested in transportation projects will be financing public infrastructure such as urban mass transportation networks, German Rail rapid transit, Üstra urban railway and the airport. A new urban railway line will lead directly to the EXPO east entrance. For the ICE high-speed train, the Laatzen long-distance railway station will provide a stop directly at the EXPO site, and the new high-speed line to Berlin will shorten the journey to the capital to 105 minutes. EXPO Hannover expects about half of the day ticket holders to reach the site by rail, while a quarter of them will arrive by bus and only a further quarter will come by car.
According to a study by Norddeutsche Landesbank, EXPO 2000 will trigger investments to the tune of 6.8 billion German marks. This money will be invested most of all on the site of the world exposition, in the construction of dwellings, expansion of the rail network and road construction. Through EXPO 2000, Hanover in the long term has a big chance to turn into one of the most attractive trade fair sites in the world. The world exposition will have a positive impact on the job market because it is expected to generate more than 100,000 person-years in employment. Thanks to EXPO 2000, more than 100,000 persons will at least find temporary jobs.
The “Planet of Visions” is one of eleven topics in the EXPO 2000 thematic park and is exclusively sponsored by IBM. Located in Hall 9 on 7.500 m² of space, this multimedia world of experiences is focusing on utopias and visions of humankind. The artistic visions of the Belgian scenographer François Schuiten coupled with IBM's sophisticated IT-technologies make “Planet of Visions” a fascinating experience.