With 192 countries represented at Expo 2020 Dubai, each with its own pavilion, the choice is mind-boggling. For this reason, most international tour operators are recommending that those attending the event should plan ample time to visit the huge array of displays.

Each pavilion is exceptional in its design and concept, but it’s true to say that some really “stand out from the crowd”. Let’s take a closer look at just a few of the more spectacular among them.

The UAE Pavilion – a one-stop shop for wonderment and innovation

Described at the Expo as “The land of dreamers who do”… the United Arab Emirates of course take pride of place.

Expo 2020 Dubai
The UAE Pavilion

The UAE Pavilion is located facing the Al Wasl Plaza, which lies at the centre of the 200 hectare exhibition zone for the 2020 Expo. It will be the only permanent structure retained post 2020 Expo.

Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and featuring 28 kinetic “wings”, the UAE pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, the largest country showcase at the Expo, is a shining example of the architectural innovation, sustainability goals and storytelling that is at the heart of this global event. 

The 15,000 sq m pavilion stands as a “symbolic interpretation of the flow of movement”, designed with carefully curated lines and spaces that blend with its surroundings of greenery, shaded arcades, and cantilevered wings. The national monument is set to create an immersive, multi-sensory experience for visitors from both an architectural standpoint, as well as cinematic features that introduce them to the emirates’ history, culture, and futuristic innovations.

From its ancient roots as a crossroads for people, goods and ideas, to its transformation into a unified nation, visitors can see the uniqueness of the UAE as a welcoming home to people from over 200 countries.

Saudi Arabia: striking architecture meets with the Kingdom’s past, present and shared future

The second largest pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai with a total area of 13,059 sq m, The Saudi Pavilion offers a glimpse into the Kingdom’s shared future, taking visitors on a journey through the nation’s ambitions across four main pillars: people, nature, heritage and opportunities.

The pavilion is located in the Opportunity District. Its façade represents the Kingdom’s unlimited drive, as well as its welcoming character and deep-rooted culture.


Brought to life by a collective of Saudi artists in the Vision space, a giant, multi-faceted 30-metre diameter globe with an interactive floor takes visitors on an audio-visual journey through the Kingdom’s creative scene.

The 68 square-metre curved LED screen greets visitors as they embark on a technology-enabled journey through five ecosystems, hinting at the Kingdom’s natural spaces, beautiful coasts, vast deserts, surrounding seas, and high mountains.

This pavilion is also the proud recipient of three Guinness World Records for having the largest LED mirror screen display, the longest interactive water feature and the largest interactive lighting display. The digital water curtain is embedded with interactive points, through which visitors can influence the images and displays on the installation. 

Campus Germany: a “forward-looking, optimistic place of knowledge, research and human interaction”

Campus Germany at Expo 2020 Dubai is full of sustainability-themed examples of innovation and ingenuity to inspire, fascinate and thrill visitors young and old: an entertaining, surprising, hands-on and digital showcase of German ideas and solutions in the field of sustainability.

Germany Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Stuart Wilson/Expo 2020 Dubai)

During their visit to Campus Germany, visitors automatically engage with the questions raised by the Expo’s overarching theme. And they can leave with ideas that they can apply in their own lives to help shape a sustainable future.

Campus Germany takes visitors on a journey through the Energy Lab, the Future City Lab and the Biodiversity Lab. Everyone follows this “curriculum”, giving them the opportunity to progressively deepen their knowledge as they go. Once they have become “experts” in these three areas, they will have moved considerably closer to the goal of sustainable living. Visitors will be amazed at how individually the exhibition responds to them and their personal interests during the tour. This customised experience is achieved with the aid of “IAMU” – an intelligent assistance system that acts as the visitors’ invisible companion as they move around the exhibition. Dubai is IAMU’s world premiere in this function.

The German Pavilion is located in the Sustainability district – a conscious decision, as Dietmar Schmitz from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy explains: “Germany is the place where the energy revolution known as the “Energiewende” was born – a place where science, industry and large parts of civil society are actively committed to securing a sustainable future. That’s the message we want to communicate in Dubai.”

Terra – the sustainability pavilion: real life solutions to real world problems

The future of Earth hangs in the balance and there’s no planet B. Will you be an agent of change and help speed up the pace of protecting and preserving the only world we’ve got? These are the questions that are at the base of the breath-taking Terra pavilion (also pictured top of page).

Terra (which means “Planet Earth”) offers an immersive journey through the wonders of the natural world, including an interactive walk through the roots of the forest, where every footstep affects the “wood-wide-web”.

General view of the Under the Forest exhibition as part of Terra The Sustainability pavilion at Expo 2020 site (Photo by Dany Eid/Expo 2020 Dubai)

Uncovering the hidden harmful impacts of our choices, the emotive experience is designed to encourage visitors of all ages, and the younger generation in particular, to consider how their behaviour impacts the environment and break the cycle of consumerism, empowering them to become agents of change.

A playful, exploratory experience, Terra will remain in legacy after the Expo as a Science Centre that will inspire sustainable choices for generations to come.

The iconic pavilion, designed by the world-renowned Grimshaw Architects, sets an example for sustainable building design. Built to be net-zero for both energy and water, it features 1,055 photovoltaic panels arranged on a 130-metre-wide roof canopy and atop a series of “Energy Trees”. The pavilion also uses cutting-edge water-reduction strategies, water recycling and alternative water sources.

These are just a few of the breath-taking experiences to be had at what can rightfully be described as “the greatest show on earth”. It would be a shame to miss it!


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