Why Germany's pavilion is one of the most talked about at Expo 2020 Dubai

The 'surprise' hit with visitors, built around a campus theme, offers multiple interactive attractions

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The Germany pavilion is one of the most talked about at Expo 2020 Dubai, continuing to attract curious crowds and repeat visitors as the world's fair enters its final days.

Hundreds of people queue outside the pavilion, sometimes for more than three hours, to be part of the entertainment and excitement it offers.

Outside, attendants distribute water and even offer impromptu craft classes, teaching people to make paper hats as they wait in line.

Many are revisiting the pavilion, which is built around a campus theme, for the pure joy of sitting on swings in the final zone called the “graduation hall”, moving in synch with glowing bulbs.

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People are surprised Germany is so cool, no one was expecting that from Germany
Sebastian Rosito, Germany pavilion

Others head back for a closer look at the interactive exhibit that shows how to capture energy from the ocean or watch an lift mock-up that moves horizontally.

Sebastian Rosito, director of the pavilion, said the fun element came as a surprise to visitors.

“It’s a different art of storytelling that people are loving,” he told The National.

“Entertainment and education when combined is popular. We are witnessing this every day with the crowds.

“People are surprised Germany is so cool. No one was expecting that from Germany. We even got this reaction from Germans who visit.”

Here is a selection of attractions that people are keen to see before Expo ends on March 31.

Charged with energy

From the moment a visitor is enrolled with a name tag, it’s the start of unusual methods of learning.

Parents dive in behind their children into a large pit filled with 100,000 yellow recycled plastic balls.

Outside the pit, each ball when placed in a special scanner tells a story about green efforts in Germany.

Visitors inside a yellow ball pit in the German pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

These balls will be given away to nurseries and schools in the UAE and Germany once the Expo ends.

Visitors can move a lever to watch how energy from waves sparks electricity. This exhibit shows how a generator placed on the ocean bed uses the movement of waves to capture and supply electricity for a year to more than 600 households.

Then tug on a rope that manoeuvres a kite on a screen, for a quick lesson on harnessing wind energy.

In another cubicle, children yank a chain that rattles into a deep hole to depict geothermal energy from deep within the Earth that the city of Munich aims to channel for district heating by 2040.

Fun with learning

Visitors maintain their balance on moving discs for a lesson on the steady supply of electricity at the German pavilion at the Expo 2020 site in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

Being part of the experience, and not a spectator reading display boards, is attracting people back to the pavilion more than once.

Helen Nevis, a tourist from South Africa, has visited the pavilion three times in two weeks.

“I like how we each get a name badge and our names are put up on the walls with information about our country’s environmental efforts,” she said.

“It’s a real eye opener.”

Families gather around a large table to navigate a ball through chambers where it picks up make-believe bacteria replicating a German research project to treat waste water.

Another group of three struggle to maintain their balance on discs that constantly move as part of a game about intelligent systems to control electricity.

Ms Nevis said she took dozens of videos to show friends the lessons she learnt about sustainable construction in a separate room on megacities.

In here, models of sky scrapers show elevators using magnets instead of ropes, vertical farming and building facades made of clay and crushed glass.

Swing along

Visitors swing in the graduation hall, the final room in the German pavilion at the Expo 2020 site in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

A crowd favourite is the final space filled with swings.

The name of each visitor is beamed on the wall as they enter and settle on a swing.

When the group swings back and forth and hits a synchronised rhythm, their movement controls the gleaming bulbs at the centre which dip and soar in tandem.

Adults and children clap and cheer during the finale that comes with a message of working together.

“People have got emotional as they are very happy in this room,” said Mr Rosito, the pavilion director.

“It was a way to spread awareness that we really need to work together to solve the big issues of today.”

Updated: March 24, 2022, 5:13 AM
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