By Hermoine Macura-Noble
Special to The Times Kuwait
Welcoming visitors from across the world to experience the ‘Art of Happiness’ – The Finland Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai was officially inaugurated by His Excellency Mika Lintilä, Minister of Economic Affairs, Finland; Severi Keinälä, Commissioner General of Finland at Expo 2020 Dubai and Her Excellency Marianne Nissilä, Finnish Ambassador to the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain.
The pavilion, which opened its doors to welcome visitors on October 1st, takes visitors on an interactive journey through the societal pillars upon which Finland’s happiness are based: continuous development and innovation, sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions, and extensive international cooperation.
“The secret to the Art of Happiness in Finland is achieved through trust and security. When people have trust, security and safety they are able to have a vision for their future which brings a lot of happiness. We also offer all our citizens opportunities not to mention good quality healthcare and education. Everyone has opportunities and possibilities to live their dreams within a good work life balance. I also believe the abundance of nature contributes to a sense of calm and happiness among our citizens as well,” explains His Excellency Mika Lintilä, Minister of Economic Affairs, Finland.
Energy efficiency and how to use fresh water and wastewater efficiently is an area where Finland hopes to add value to the GCC. Finland has over 200,000 lakes and many Finnish companies have a lot of expertise in the area of water management and water technology.
“I see so many possibilities in the GCC and I believe we can do much more cooperation in the sustainability and energy sector – considering that our global challenge is climate change,” adds Lintilä.
Under the central theme of ‘Sharing Future Happiness,’ guests will be introduced to how Finland is pioneering sustainable change, developing digital innovations, and adopting a circular economy model within businesses and society to help alleviate the current strain on the earth’s carrying capacity.
Mika Lintilä, Minister of Economic Affairs, Finland comments on the importance of Expo 2020 Dubai for Finland’s bilateral relationship with the UAE: “The UAE is Finland’s second-biggest export country in the Middle East, after Saudi Arabia. Expo 2020 Dubai provides a vital platform for Finland and our 120 partner companies, enabling us to strengthen our shared goals in areas such as sustainability, education, digitalization, and happiness. Together with the UAE and the global business community, we aim to co-create and innovate agile, sustainable, and smart solutions for future business opportunities and societal development.”
Visitors to the pavilion will instantly feel a sense of calm as they enter the property which is inspired by the snow Winter landscape of Finland the country’s 200,000 lakes – also represented by two freshwater lakes at the entrance.
“The pavilion was inspired by the thin white layer of first snow that covers the Finnish landscape at the beginning of winter. In Finnish, it is called ’Lumi’, which means snow. The main entrance of the pavilion was inspired by a traditional Arabic tent. Two cultures meet in the architectural concept of the pavilion. Hopefully, this will be the best space in Expo 2020 Dubai for meeting face-to-face,” explains Teemu Kurkela, Founder of JKMM architects, the designers behind the pavilion.
Within the exhibition, visitors can immerse themselves in the digital wonders of Finland and experience Finland’s calm nature in the Gorge. Guests are also invited to interact with the KONE DX Class elevator which operates on command. Participating companies will also provide insights into how the future of sustainable energy production lies in the air we breathe utilizing Power-to-X advances, which are demonstrated using a machine that converts air into the power required to brew coffee.
Visitors can also dive into the technology behind the Nokia and Luxturrim 5G Ecosystem smart pole and will be shown how the success of a smart city lies in a collaborative digital infrastructure. The Missing Links interactive art installation shows guests what they can do as global citizens to contribute to a greener world.
Severi Keinälä, Commissioner General of Finland at Expo 2020 Dubai, reflects on the importance of Expo 2020 Dubai for the global business community: “As we reflect on the last year and acknowledge how much countries around the world have overcome, we are proud to come together to celebrate our resilience and look to the future in the spirit of cooperation. We are proud to be part of a moment in history that marks the first World Expo in the Middle East and the first large-scale public event in the region since the onset of COVID-19.”
During the next six months, Finland and its 120 partner companies are planning to share expertise and know-how with the aim of showing how a combination of collaborative change, digital innovations and circular economy thinking can pave the way for the sustainable transition our collective ecosystems need to achieve. Finland is one of the leading countries in terms of innovation and the Finnish pavilion presents globally leading clean technologies, a circular economy with sustainable use of resources, sustainable energy and digital solutions, mobile communications, machinery, education, health and wellbeing, travel and Finnish design among others.
“Expo 2020 Dubai brings the world together in hope and optimism for a better tomorrow. Finland and the host country, the UAE, have outstanding diplomatic and business relations. However, there is still scope for deepening them. We can achieve this through dialogue and learning from each other. Expo Dubai 2020 will act as a platform for this collaboration by bringing together various Emirati and Finnish stakeholders,” explains Nissilä.
Upcoming events in the Finland pavilion include Finland’s national day celebrations on October 31, a visit from Lapland’s Santa Claus in December, and celebrating Finnish happiness on World Happiness Day in March 2022. The Finland pavilion is open daily from from 10am to 10pm until March 31, 2022, and all visitors are welcome.
By Hermoine Macura-Noble
The first Australian English speaking News Anchor in the Middle East. She is also the Author of Faces of the Middle East and Founder of US-based 501c3 charity – The House of Rest which helps to ease the suffering of victims of war. For more from our Contributing Editor, you can follow her on Instagram, here.