Liege World's Fair 1930

Antwerp - Exposition Internationale of Colonial, Maritime, and Art
Liege - Exposition Internationale Liege 1930

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Quick List Info

Antwerp World's Fair 1930 Poster


Dates Open - April 26, 1930 to November 5, 1930.

Attendance - Season tickets 167,127; Railway Season tickets 11,543. Day tickets 3,811,196. Total attendance considering season ticket repeat visitation not known. Colonial section attendance was over 10 million; and Old Flemish Art section 468,323.

International Participants - 27 participating countries, 18 from Europe, plus colonies.

Total Cost - 91.5 million francs. Receipts were 84.5 million. 7 million franc loss (100,000L).

Site Acreage - 170.5 acres.

Sanction and Type - Prior to the Bureau of International Exhibitions. Would be considered a Registered Expo like those on the 5 year of a decade.

Ticket Cost - Day ticket cost 5 francs. Price of season ticket 100 francs.

LIEGE 1930

Dates Open - May 3 to November 3, 1930.

Attendance - Estimated 6 million.

International Participants - 24 nations and colonies.

Total Cost - 64.8 million francs. BF15 million profit..

Site Acreage - 165 acres.

Sanction and Type - Prior to the Bureau of International Exhibitions. Would be considered a Registered Expo like those on the 5 year of a decade.

Ticket Cost - 6 francs for both North and South sections; 5 francs for North individually and 3 francs for South individually.

Photo top center: Poster of the 1930 Liege Exposition, 1930, likely Fair Authority via The Panoramic Dream: Antwerp and the World Exhibitions. Column Top: Official poster of the Antwerp 1930 Exposition, 1930. Column Below: Gate to the 1930 Antwerp fair, 1930.

Antwerp Exhibition 1930

Other Histories of World's Fairs to Check Out

History of the Event

Antwerp City Pavilion 1930

It was a dual fair intended to celebrate the centenary of Belgium's independence. So they built two impressive fairgrounds, in Antwerp and Liege, and pushed Brussels back to 1935 to host the first official BIE fair. Some accounts state that Antwerp was larger and more successful, with colonial exhibits from Belgium and other nations. There were impressive pavilions built along the Avenue de la Colonie for the nations and colonies of Great Britain, France, Holland, Italy, and Portugal. Finland and Norway also contributed impressive pavilions. There was a Decorative Arts Palace, a Pavilion of Antwerp, and Electricity Building, too on the site 2 kilometers from the center of town, part in Luna Park. The fair was opened on April 26, 1930 by King Albert and Queen Elizabeth plus the Duke and Dutchess of Brabant. There was a significant international presence, although Germany and the United States of America did not participate due to the economic crises of 1929. Germany did participate through the Hansa cities of Bremen, Hamburg, and Lubeck. The City of Antwerp was a big supporter, providing the site for free, but no direct financial assistance outside subsidies for the Arts, congresses, and special events. Despite some of those prohibitions, the city spent $35 million francs on its efforts, one third the cost of the exhibition. There were Halls for Navigation and Transport (General Motors and Ford had signed up, but pulled out, leaving the car exhibition over to European companies such as Minerva Motors, N.V. Automobiles Imperia-Excelsior), Feestpaleis, the Centennial Palace, a Hall of Agriculture, and a large amusement section.

Liege focused on Science, Industry, Social Economy, Agriculture, and Music. Known officially as the Exposition Internationale de la Grande Industrie, Science et Application d'Art Wallon in Liege, the fair drew six million visitors to its site, The Parc de Boverie, which had hosted the 1905 exposition, over the six months of the exposition season. There were more than twenty large exhibit palaces built along the River Meuse. Nations with their own buildings included France, Italy, Spain, Egypt, and Czechoslovakia. The fair took on the feel of a modern city and the river included floating hotels. There was a Palace of Glass and Ceramics, Sylviculture (forest and culture), a model farm, Palace of Fine Arts, an Electricity Building, and a new airdrome. A stadium for 15,000 was available, plus an amusement park. There were one hundred small pavilions for individual firms.

Above photo. Antwerp City Pavilion at Antwerp, 1930. Courtesy The Panoramic Dream: Antwerp and the World Exhibitions. Below: Unrealized design for the Celotex Building, 1930.

Antwerp 1930
The Antwerp fair did not turn a profit and cost its guarantors 10% on their money.

The Liege fair drew less attendance than anticipated, about six million versus the ten to twelve million predicted. It was hurt by the economy and bad weather, plus a number of unofficial international pavilions. It's major legacy was in the public works projects done at the same time, including the Pont-barrage de Monsin bridge.

Historian's Perspective

Peter Scholliers - "Antwerp 1930 should be viewed together with Liege 1930 and both were signs of the 'Belgitude, celebrating the 100 anniversary of the Kingdom. 1930 was much more of a mass media event (e.g. large publicity panels.) Antwerp 1930 was organized at the end of a blooming economic period, to celebrate Belgium's 100th anniversary. Antwerp is a major port, and there were railway connections with Holland, France, and Germany. 1930: Antwerp got itself a (small) airport."

Third Antwerp Fair

Liege World's Fair Poster 1930

International Participants
Nations and Colonies

Antwerp - Great Britain, France, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Congo, Finland, Norway, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Spain, Hungary, Japan, la Lettonie, le Grand-Duche' de Luxembourg, Pays-Bas, Persia, Poland, Sweden, Yugoslavia, and Venezuela, Malaya, Gold Coast , Nigeria.

Liege - Belgium, Germany (unofficial), Spain, France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Japan, le Grand Duche' de Luxembourg, les Pays-Bas, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Uraguay, Venezuela, Egypt, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, United States (Exhibitors from U.S.), Peru, Norway.

Note: It is sometimes difficult to tell whether certain nations actually participated in a significant way. Newspaper reports as well as the official documents or secondary sources may indicate participation when actual participation did not occur or occurred minimally. Take the above as a guide, not gospel. Various sources differ on who exhibited.

Expo Tidbits
At Antwerp, 468,323 people attended the Flemish art exhibit, paying 1,870,576 francs.

At Antwerp, the Roman Catholic Church made an agreement to erect an exhibition building that would serve as a church in the new neighborhood after the fair.

The London Times reported on August 1 that the Prince of Wales had visited the Liege exhibition. He was shown the halls of metallurgy, machinery, glassware, and transport. Said both Leige and Antwerp were magnificent, although British had only official participation in Antwerp.

One vestige of these two fairs is the Liege Pont-barrage de Monsin Bridge.

Liege Pont-barrage de Monsin Bridge

Those in Charge

Antwerp - Chairman was Alfred Martougin. Government Commissioner General was Count Adrien van der Burch.

Sources: Les Expositions Universelle en Belgique; The Panoramic Dream, Antwerp and the World Exhibitions; Rapport General du Commiseriat general du government by Leon Michel (Liege 1930); the Official Report of the Antwerp 1930 Exhibition; World of Fairs; London Times; New York Times; Historical Dictionary of World's Fairs by Alfred Heller; Wikipedia Commons.

Photo column top: Poster of the Liege Internationale Exposition in 1930, 1930, Fair Authority via The Panoramic Dream: Antwerp and the World Exhibitions. Middle: Liege Pont-barrage de Monsin Bridge. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

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