What are International Exhibitions?

International Exhibitions, also known as Annual International Exhibitions, are public global events on a grand scale, in which nations demonstrate some of their greatest achievements.


Three Eras of International Exhibitions

There have been three main eras in the history of these events. The first started with the original event, the 1851 Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations held in London, England. This first event, attended by over a million visitors, demonstrated the best technologies of the time in the hope of gaining important chances for international trade. It could be seen as an event of its time, in the age of the industrial revolution.


The second era, beginning in 1939, was more focused on the cultural and cultural achievements of different eras. These International Exhibitions were more idealistic in character, based on finding solutions to common problems facing all of humanity.


Finally, the third era of exhibitions was concerned with creating positive national images. The pavilions are a famous features of these events, with some renowned internationally for their stunning architecture. Nations put a lot of time and money into these buildings, as they allow them to project a positive public image to the rest of the world.


Do all countries build national pavilions?

The cost of both building and designing national pavilions for international exhibitions, which are often complex and intricate structures, is high. To cope with this problem, the host nation builds extra pavilions which can be rented by participating countries.


How is the host chosen?

Countries place bids with a body called the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), which has a membership consisting of 160 countries. This membership no longer includes the United States, which lost its membership in 2001 after a series of non-payments. The reason for this is probably the declining popularity of international exhibitions in the country, a drop seems to have been taking place since at least the 1980s.


The members of this body vote for one of the countries that has placed a bid. This takes place many years in advance. For example, the country and theme for Expo 2015 has already been settled on – Expo 2015 will be in Milan, Italy, on the theme of ‘Feeding the planet, energy for life’. The details for Expo 2020 are still being decided, but bids and themes from a number of countries have already been submitted.



In the series of International Exhibitions happening every 5 years, 2020 will be voted upon shortly by the BIE who oversee all sanctioned and registered exhibitions.