Since the works on the construction of the new fair complex in Surčin, where EXPO 2027 will be held, have already begun and the enormous work that lies ahead should be completed before the deadline in less than five years, it is no longer news that Serbia has been officially chosen as the host of the international exhibition EXPO 2027, but it is worth mentioning once again that in June we won in all four rounds of voting at the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) General Assembly in Paris. In all four rounds, Serbia received the most votes, and Spain was its only opponent in the final round. Along with the USA, Thailand, Spain, and Argentina, Serbia was one of the five competitors for this exhibition. With 81 votes, BIE members selected Serbia as the host nation, defeating Spain's 70 votes. Serbia was the only country from Southeast Europe that applied to be the host country of this prestigious exhibition.
Central plaza of the future fair complex / Photo: City of Belgrade
Serbia will have a great opportunity and a flywheel for development as the host of EXPO 2027, especially in the construction and tourism industries, as a whole complex with supporting infrastructure should be built for the exhibition's purposes in addition to the National Stadium, which is anticipated to welcome about three million visitors during the exhibition itself.
FAIR COMPLEX IN SURČIN AMONG THE LARGEST IN EUROPE
"Right now, we may not even be aware of how important this is. It's about thousands of new jobs, a unique opportunity to attract hundreds of thousands of people who have never been to our city, to create new jobs for our companies," said Marko Čadež, president of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIS), who stated earlier that the net value of the investment necessary for the realization of EXPO 2027 amounts to 300 million euros.
According to him, the specialized exhibition EXPO 2027 will bring ten times greater benefit to Serbia than the income itself because, in addition to the employed construction operatives and tourist capacities, foreign investors and future business partners of domestic companies will come.
"The real value of this event is the companies that will come and invest in Serbia and our companies that will create new businesses; that opportunity is priceless. It is something that will remain forever," said Čadež, stating that numerous international companies are already announcing their arrival at EXPO 2027.
As the president of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce pointed out, many domestic workers will be employed in the organization and infrastructural equipment of this world exhibition.
The new fair complex will be among the largest fairs in Europe / Photo: City of Belgrade
"The new fair complex in Surčin will be among several of the largest fairs in Europe, and we must take advantage of that. After that, people will recognize Belgrade as the place where the biggest fairs will be organized. This is what remains when it comes to infrastructure. But much more remains. Companies that will come during the preparation of the EXPO and during the exhibition have great potential. To bring them to Serbia, to bring new investments, and to already see how Belgrade is developing. Some of them want to move their centers to Belgrade", said Čadež.
CONSTRUCTION OF TRAFFIC INFRASTRUCTURE
EXPO 2027 will be held in Belgrade from May 15 to August 15, 2027, with the theme "Play for Humanity: Sport and Music for All". For the purposes of the exhibition, it is planned to build a number of fair halls, pavilions, accommodations, and commercial facilities next to the National Stadium in Surčin.
The EXPO 2027 complex will cover 167 ha / Photo: City of Belgrade
The EXPO 2027 complex will cover approximately 167 ha. 113 ha are planned for the construction of the EXPO 2027 complex: 83.1 ha for the exhibition space, 6.9 ha for the accompanying accommodation facilities, and 22.9 ha for the accompanying commercial facilities. This makes up almost 70% of the planned 167 ha. The rest refers to traffic areas, water areas, green areas, and infrastructure areas.
Work on the construction of the EXPO 2027 complex, which is located south of the National Stadium, between the Belgrade ring road and the Miloš Veliki highway, has already begun, confirmed Marko Stojčić, the city's chief architect. More precisely, the terrain was cleared, and the construction of the traffic infrastructure began.
"Some access roads have already been built; some are under construction. Basically, it's a five-year job. What follows is further clearing and filling of the ground, since the level on which the facilities will be built, that is, the National Stadium complex, the future fair space, and the area where the EXPO will be held, needs to be raised," explained Stojčić.
The EXPO 2027 complex project includes the building of seven facilities / Photo: City of Belgrade
The city's chief urban planner pointed out that it is of the utmost importance that this space be as well connected to the city as possible.
"This is something that we proved during our candidacy, in front of the authorities that awarded us this EXPO. We proved that the location is well connected with the city, and above all, we will be able to complete the work by the deadline. This is a very big event, and we can't play around with whether we will make it or not. So, compared to other competitors, we were at an advantage because we had already started the work," said Stojčić.
As for the traffic network, it will consist of several different types of traffic. It is planned to connect with the existing Vojvodjanska street and make connections to the section of the E-75 road, the Belgrade ring road, as well as the Novi Beograd-Surčin section as part of the E-763 highway.
The spatial plan also plans to connect this area with the Nikola Tesla airport via the route of line 4 of the BG train, and the possibility of connecting with the center of Belgrade via water transport is also open.
ENERGY-EFFICIENT AND SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS
As part of the EXPO 2027 complex, the construction of seven buildings on approximately 70,000 square meters is planned. The initial project is signed by the Spanish architectural studio Fenwick Iribarren Architects, which was also the author of the reconstruction of Savski Trg in Belgrade. What follows is the further development of the project and possible changes in accordance with the received suggestions.
Entrance building of the EXPO 2027 complex / Photo: City of Belgrade
"Now we will beautify the architecture a bit to work out the projects for each of the buildings. There are seven of them, and each of them has an area between 9,000 and 11,000 square meters. That's a total of about 70,000 square meters of fair space, where EXPO 2027 will be held. We expect the participation of about 100 countries that will have their own exhibition spaces within those facilities. At the end of the complex, there will be four pavilions related to the theme itself and the central Serbian pavilion, which will, of course, deal with that theme," said Stojčić.
The initial EXPO 2027 project is signed by the Spanish architectural studio Fenwick Iribarren Architects / Photo: City of Belgrade
Between all these buildings, there will be a large promenade with cafes, restaurants, and installations, which will be located in that outer space and all of which should later serve as perhaps the most important fair space in the Balkans. According to Stojčić, the buildings are planned to be energy-efficient and sustainable and to be used even after the big event, since it happens that such complexes lose their functions after the exhibition. In essence, the EXPO 2027 complex is planned as a multifunctional space that, after the exhibition, should grow into an important economic and tourist center for the city of Belgrade and the Republic of Serbia.
At the World Congress of Chambers in Geneva, Marko Čadež spoke with the new president of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Ali Rashid Lutah, about support for the organization of EXPO 2027.
"We made an agreement based on which they will provide us with professional and technical support for the organization of new services of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for this exhibition. Given the extensive experience and the role of the Dubai Chamber in the organization of EXPO 2020 Dubai, we will try to learn as much as possible," said Čadež.
EXPO 2027 in Belgrade is expected to be visited by around three million people. The total estimated economic effect of EXPO 2027 is 1.1 billion euros (estimated direct economic effect is 600 million euros, estimated indirect economic effect is 500 million euros, and estimated net profit is 9.82 million euros).
EXPO 2027 in Belgrade is expected to be visited by around three million people / Photo: City of Belgrade
"We expect more than 100 participating countries, a dozen international organizations, and five to ten corporate pavilions. Also, we expect that around three million people will visit Belgrade and Serbia during that period. We all know that the geographical position of our country is very favorable. We are in close proximity to a huge market of 460 million people. Or, divided into two segments: the regional market of 66 million people within a radius of 500 kilometers, i.e., a maximum of six hours' drive, and the international market of 400 million people within a radius of 1,250 kilometers, i.e., a two-hour flight by plane", said Siniša Mali, Minister of Finance and President of the Working Group for the preparation and submission of a candidacy for the organization of the International Specialized Exhibition EXPO 2027.
THE FIRST EXPO IN SOUTHEAST EUROPE AFTER 30 YEARS
According to the minister, we have enough time, but we will not waste it, because the realization of this big project, which will bring our country an influx of money, investments, further development of tourism, catering, and new jobs for our economy, has started immediately.
The EXPO 2027 complex will be built next to the National Stadium / Photo: City of Belgrade
"The EXPO means greater economic growth and an even stronger economy because our country will be in the focus of the world public during this specialized exhibition. We will send a positive image of Belgrade to the world; we will show that we are a city and a country of opportunities that are developing, progressing, and unstoppably moving forward. This is important news for the entire region, considering that we are bringing the EXPO to the region of Southeastern Europe after more than three decades", stressed the Minister of Finance.
The last specialized EXPO of this type was held in Astana, Kazakhstan, in 2017, and it significantly changed the image of that city in the world, which thus positioned itself as an important world metropolis and where many world leaders stayed. Previous hosts of such exhibitions were Zaragoza, Lisbon, Vancouver, Brisbane, New Orleans, Berlin, Munich, Rome, Paris, Helsinki, and Stockholm, which is another confirmation of the importance of this manifestation.
The capacity of the National Stadium should be 55.000 seats / Photo: City of Belgrade
Given that the last exhibition of this type in the region of Southeast Europe was held in 1991 in Plovdiv, Belgrade is bringing EXPO to the region after more than three decades. It will also be the first organization of such a manifestation on the territory of the Western Balkans.
THE PROMENADE AND CENTRAL SQUARE
The seven main buildings of the fairgrounds will be located next to each other along the central promenade. The planned width of the promenade is 40 m, and it widens to 60 m to create a central square in front of the main entrance building. The promenade is planned to be decorated with greenery, and a water channel will flow through it. Rest areas and pop-up kiosks will also be planned, which will facilitate movement between the halls.
The halls will be connected by a 30-meter-wide corridor at the back, which enables communication between them. Between the halls and next to the main promenade, there will be smaller, more intimate outdoor landscaped squares that provide pleasant, terraced areas for food and drink offerings.
The National Pavilion of the Republic of Serbia will be located at the end of the central promenade / Photo: City of Belgrade
Along the central promenade, there will be supporting facilities and facilities on the first floor (meeting rooms, etc.), which will be connected by bridges across the central promenade. All halls will be serviced from the rear via the service ring, with small warehouses and workshops.
The National Pavilion of the Republic of Serbia, which will be the focal point, will be located at the end of the central promenade. The main thematic pavilions and other independent international pavilions will be located in the side areas.
A landscaped and covered circular path will frame the main pavilion and the central lake immediately in front of the central outdoor amphitheater, where a whole range of sports, music, and entertainment activities will be held.
Suitable externally decorated and adapted spaces are planned around the circular path for the organization of a wide range of activities and events that will further direct visitors to the external pavilions.
By: Jovana Nikolić
Photo: City of Belgrade