Pascal Smet et des membres de la mission bruxelloise entourés de figurants de l’Ommegang
Pascal Smet, Brussels State Secretary for Urbanism, International Relations and Foreign Trade, welcomed by the Ommegang upon his arrival at the Belgian Pavilion.

The Brussels-Capital Region at Expo 2020 in Dubai

A Brussels mission led by Pascal Smet, State Secretary for Urbanism, International Relations and Foreign Trade, visited Dubai from 31 January to 5 February 2022 on the occasion of Expo 2020 Dubai. Several regional economic and cultural players attended the Brussels Days at the Expo.

Flag throwers flanked by actors in the Ommegang
The Ommegang’s flag throwers, in front of the Belgian Pavilion.

On Monday 31 January 2022, Pascal Smet, Brussels State Secretary for Urbanism, International Relations and Foreign Trade, officially kicked off the programme of the ambitious Brussels mission to Dubai. A program that ended on a high note during the Belgian Day at Expo 2020 Dubai, in the presence of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde.

Pascal Smet standing behind a lectern next to a screen presenting Brussels for People
Brussels State Secretary Pascal Smet presents his vision for the sustainable urban development of the Brussels-Capital Region in the coming years. ©
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, Ilham Kadri and an Emirati participant, standing at a display table.
Ilham Kadri, CEO of the Solvay Group, presents the company’s latest innovations in mobility to King Philippe and Queen Mathilde.
The protagonists, standing in front of the logo of Expo 2020 Dubai
Geoffroy Clerckx, Director of External Relations of the Brussels Regional Public Service, with stilt walkers and actors of the Ommegang.
Visitors standing on an escalator
Emirati visitors entering the Belgian pavilion.

A large cross-section of Brussels economy and culture

The representatives of Brussels International and were joined by several Brussels finance, real estate, construction and luxury goods companies on this regional mission. A delegation from the Ommegang, the Jazz Station Big Band and the Brussels designer Charles Kaisin also travelled to Dubai.

Pascal Smet and the designer looking at a display case.
State Secretary Pascal Smet admires the jewellery of the young Brussels designer Ihsan Jadron in the Brussels Corner in the the Dubai Design District, where people from around the world could visit an exhibition of some of the BCR’s more iconic artisan brands.
Les protagonists signing the agreement, seated at a table.
Brussels-based Spentys signed a cooperation agreement with the Zayed Higher Organization. An example of how a business can create a positive social impact, with the support of the Brussels-Capital Region.
Group of musicians of the Jazz Station Big Band during a performance
Toots Thielemans would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2022. The Jazz Station Big Band treated listeners to some career highlights of the famous jazz musician, giving performances in several different line-ups to introduce visitors to the range and depth of his music.
Origami installation hanging from the ceiling of the entrance hall in the Belgian Pavilion
Origami for Life, a work by the artist Charles Kaisin in support of health care workers during the pandemic, was on display in the entrance hall to the Belgian pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The schedule for the Brussels Days consisted of a steady flow of meetings, workshops, exchanges and artistic performances. The highlight was the visit to Expo 2020 Dubai and in particular the Belgian Pavilion, where participants enjoyed a wildly popular programme of events: a concert by the Jazz Station Big Band in honour of the centenary of the birth of Toots Thielemans – the legendary harmonica player and famous jazz musician from Brussels – as well as a smaller-scale Ommegang featuring Emperor Charles V and his court in period costumes, accompanied by dancers, musicians, flag throwers and stilt walkers.

A Belgian Day with a Brussels twist

The Brussels-Capital Region was also well represented on Belgian Day (5 February 2022).

The performance of the Jazz Station Big Band musicians under the dome in Al Wasl Plaza during the official ceremony will go down in the jazz orchestra’s history as one of the more memorable events. The Ommegang provided another excellent opportunity to highlight the Region’s heritage on the world stage. The long historical procession attracted thousands of onlookers as it wound its way through the Expo 2020 Dubai site.

Watch the video of the Belgian Day at Expo 2020 Dubai and the Brussels Corner in the Dubai Design District.