Netherlands Consul General Envisions 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo as Rallying Point for Global Unity

The Japan News
Marc Kuipers, the Consul General of the Netherlands in Osaka, speaks at the embassy in Tokyo on Thursday.

The consul general of the Netherlands in Osaka, who also serves as the head of the country’s pavilion at the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo, expressed his hope for the Expo to serve as a platform for the world to unite in addressing global challenges.

In an interview with The Japan News on Thursday at the embassy of the Netherlands in Tokyo, Marc Kuipers emphasized the Expo’s significance in today’s world, saying it serves “as a platform for the world to come together to talk about solving global challenges in a constructive way.”

Kuipers noted that, given the current circumstances where virtually anyone can explore the world online or by traveling, the traditional appeal of expos as a means to showcase and discover global innovations has evolved. He said that modern-day expos, unlike those of more than half a century ago, which focused more on presenting innovations and inviting people to explore different countries, now emphasize collaboration and constructive dialogue on global issues.

“We live in a world that’s dealing with many of these global challenges. There are more conflicts than ever before … polarization, radicalization … [and] climate change. We have suffered the COVID-19 pandemic, also concerns about food security [and] aging societies. In our opinion, those are global challenges that no single country can solve alone,” he said. “Our participation at the Expo is all about solving global challenges together.”

The Netherlands, which will construct its own pavilion for the 2025 Expo, known as a Type A pavilion, conducted a groundbreaking ceremony at the venue in Yumeshima, Osaka, on March 5. The pavilion features a design with a sphere located at the center of a rectangular building. The exterior walls will be decorated with a water motif, expressing clean energy generated from water. Following the theme of “common ground,” the pavilion will underscore the Netherlands’ commitment to fostering mutual understanding necessary to address global issues and showcase the latest environmental technologies involving renewable energy.

Kuipers said the reason for featuring water in the pavilion is to express the country’s characteristic low-lying land, with about 25% of it being below sea level, and its long-standing expertise in managing floods even in the face of climate change. Referring to hydrogen as an energy source, he said: “We are so dependent on fossil fuels, and we need to get rid of that. We have a lot of experience with water.”

The consul general also said that the Expo is “not just like an expensive event” that will last only six months. He said the event will “update the overall image of the Netherlands in Japan.”

Furthermore, the country has “many priorities on global challenges that we work on together with Japan.” He added there are “new opportunities to talk together and to expand the relationship. And that’s what the Expo offers. The whole world’s falling apart and Japan is hosting an event where, during six months, the whole world comes together to talk in a constructive way about solving global challenges. That’s good news.”