Czechs make their mark at 2010 World Expo in Shanghai


The 2010 World Expo in Shanghai closed its doors on Sunday, having attracted more than 70 million visitors from the world over. The success of the Czech pavilion surpassed expectations, it had more than 8 million visitors and won several awards. Radio Prague called the pavilion’s chief press officer Jiří F. Potužník in Shanghai to ask how happy the Czech representation was with the outcome:

“There are three main criteria of success I would say - the first is without doubt the number of visitors. The Czech pavilion has been seen by more than 8.5 million people, average daily attendance was almost 50,000 people, and I honestly do not know more than 2 pavilions who can boast similar results.

The second parameter is media attention and thanks to the high number and quality of our additional cultural programmes - we had 13 of them – the Chinese media reported on the Czech pavilion throughout the entire period of the expo. If we had had to buy the space given to the Czech Republic by the Chinese media for commercial ads it would have cost us the equivalent of 120 million crowns.

And the last success factor is awards – and I am proud to say that we received a silver medal for creativity from the organizers of the expo, we received a medal from the Shanghai International Youth Culture Centre –also for creativity and we have won the main price of Shanghai Business News and Television for marketing – that will be presented to us in two weeks time but the news has already been made public. So I would say we have good reason to be satisfied.”

What were ultimately the biggest attractions at the Czech pavilion?

“Well, just two days ago we asked for the outcome of a public survey on that point and two exhibits topped the list in popularity. One was the golden tear –which was part of a bigger complex called LacrimAu. This is a giant tear made of one ton of pure gold which was attached to a special sensor which monitored the emotions (brain activity) of visitors looking at it and on the grounds of those emotions a laboratory created a special perfume capturing their mood. That was something unique and it was very popular. The second most popular exhibit was the two reliefs of Jan Nepomucký taken from Charles Bridge and brought to Shanghai for luck - visitors were invited to touch them for good fortune. And, for my part, I think that the interactive exhibits of modern artist Jakub Nepraš also contributed significantly to the pavilion’s success.”

What happens to the pavilion –and to the individual artefacts – now that the expo is over?

“As you may know, the whole Czech exposition was sold. And I would emphasize exposition as opposed to pavilion which is a rented building which we have to vacate. But the exposition “Fruits of Civilization” was sold and is going to be re-assembled by the Farm of Czechoslovak-Chinese Friendship, a huge conglomeration with 170,000 employees situated in the Beijing region, which will run it on its own expenses as of October 1st of 2011. And what is maybe more important than the 33 million crowns we got for the exposition, is the fact that for the first time in the history of our participation at expos will the Czech exposition remain as a complex in the country for which it was created. That is just amazing.”