Altaplana, world of Francois Schuiten and Benoit Peeters

the impossible & infinite encyclopedia of the world created by Schuiten & Peeters

User Tools

Site Tools

Expo 2000

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.

The motto: "Mankind - Nature - Technology - Creating a New World"

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.

Facts and Figures

The thematic park

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.

Contributions by participating countries and international organizations

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

Construction and transportation planning

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.

EXPO 2000 as an economic factor

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.

Planet of Visions

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.

IBM technology in the "Planet of Visions "

A centrally administered high-speed PC network is the technological basis for the “Planet of Visions” exhibition area. This is what links all technical and audiovisual components and controls all interactive systems belonging to the overall architecture. All scenarios of the exhibition measuring around 7,500 m2 and the approximate number of 100 IBM PCs and servers contained in it will be linked up in this network.

The open books

Visitors enter the exhibition through the pages of an open book. The sound of turning pages can be heard. The idea behind: books preserve the cultural heritage and mediate ideas of the future. The last page of the book features an introduction to the exhibition in the form of a projection, showing a modified real time recording of the next scenario. Once again, graphic conditioning of the video signal and playback of the ambient noises are realized by IBM PCs which, like all other IT components, are linked through the network with a central show controller.

The world around about the year 1000

Exhibits from the time around 1000, for example a tombstone from Kairouan or a colossal Toltec statue, appear on both sides of the path. They document the fact that even as early as at the first turn of the millennium civilizations had distinguished themselves through impressive achievements in science, politics, culture and technology. And, wherever rich media turn the communication of historical facts into an interactive multimedia exhibition, next-generation IBM PCs, presentation systems and highly modern TFT flat screen monitors are not that far away.


The path leads across a wooden bridge over an artificial lake, in which a garden of paradise is reflected. When looking up, visitors will notice that the garden has grown out of the ceiling above their heads. The whole scene is enlivened by animated animals, the sounds of singing birds, the rustling of leaves in the wind and the murmur of a stream. Elaborate lighting, underwater projections and real time computer-mixed audio signals ensure an appropriate atmosphere. Precise to a fraction of a second an IBM Systems Management Solution is also at work here.

The Corridor of Writings

Visitors leave paradise through corridors in whose walls inscriptions have been incorporated in various ancient languages. With the aid of controlling IBM computers, it is possible to illuminate these writings applied to induction walls by touching markings and to synchronously listen to a translation of the inscriptions spoken by diverse voices. This turns the message into living language.

The Tower of Babylon

Visitors emerge from the space in between and realize that they have just left the Tower of Babylon.

Panorama of visions

The semicircular panorama, the heart of the exhibition, is integrated into a rhythmic spectacle of light, a cycle of day and night that alternately immerses the images in a utopically radiating and an apocalyptically dim mood. What visitors get to see from the edge of the Esplanade is perhaps the most spectacular sight in the “Planet of Visions”, a panoramic image of incredible depth and width, to some extent three-dimensional, to some extent two-dimensional, generously outfitted with exhibits and animatronics. In the core of this unique Esplanade panorama platform, visitors will find the names of pioneers of their times (including that of the IBM “Deep Blue” computer, for instance) and, on the edge of the Esplanade, completely novel information terminals which will bring visitors closer to the diversity of the exhibits with the aid of the most up-to-date IBM “Pervasive Computing” technology.

The Crystal

The crystal manifests a further highlight of the “Planet of Visions” exhibition. Below the Esplanade and just before the end of the exhibition tour, the visitor suddenly sees one of these crystals which is several meters high and seems to have shot out of the floor, surrounded by 12 smaller ones. Above them, there is an enormous flying ship, the Gigantic. Visitors can leave their own personal traces on the twelve smaller crystals in the form of their own personal visions which they can generate on the input surfaces which seem to hover over the solid crystal. These are sent to the Gigantic and at the same time are transmitted to an IBM text mining system that was specially created for this purpose. Thus, the crystal serves as a medium for various thoughts and ideas, the text mining database becomes their memory and pervasive computing serves as the enabling technology for the interactive acquisition of information.



All wallpapers are 1600×1200 pixels. Click on the following images for the originals.