Liege World's Fair 1905

Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Liege

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Quick List Info

Liege World's Fair 1905 Poster

Dates Open - April 27 to November 6, 1905. Officially closed November 1. Duration 194 days.

Attendance - 6,143,157. Other sources list 7 million visitors.

International Participants - 39 nations and colonies.

Total Cost - 14,451,800 FB ($2.89 million). Receipts were 14,526,900, thus making 75,117 FB profit ($15,000). Contribution by Belgium 8.5 million FB, Liege 8 million FB, subscriptions 1,688,500 francs.

Site Acreage - 173 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 - Admission price 40 cents.

Photo top center: Main building at the Liege 1905 World's Fair, 1905, L'Illustration, French Magazine. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Column Top: Official poster of the Liege 1905, 1905, Fair Authority. Courtesy Pinterest. Column Below: Souvenir of the Liege 1905 Unviersal Exposition, 1905. Courtesy Pinterest.

Liege Universal Exhibition 1905

Other Histories of World's Fairs to Check Out

History of the Event

Liege Exhibition Building Entrance 1905

Belgium had joined the ranks of hosting World's Fair with a flurry and Liege wanted to join the fray. They began to consider hosting in 1892, but put those plans on hold as Antwerp 1894 and Brussels 1897 went forward with their plans in the 1890's. When the Liege proposal went forward, they chose a site at the intersection of the rivers Meuse and the main flow of a rerouted Ourthe. It was decided to hold the exposition on the 75th anniversary of Belgian independence, as well as the 40th anniversary of Leopold II's reign. There would be three main sections; exhibits halls in the former Hall of Jardin d'Acclimatation and Boverie park, on the plain of Vennes, and an amusement section, including Old Liege, past the Ourthe River. There were colonial exhibits galore and over thirty participating nations and colonies with 16,119 exhibits.

Some nations built their own pavilions; Germany (unofficial), Bulgaria, Canada, Montenegro, Norway, Romania, Serbia, and Sweden. There were colonial pavilions representing Belgium's colonial possessions, French Palais de Africa, French Palais de l'Asia, French Palais de las Tunisia, etc. Overall, over ninety pavilions were constructed, including the Machine Gallery with commercial sections in the various halls covering 17 acres. The largest engineering exhibit came from the Liege firm, the Cockerill Company. There was a music building and the Le Balais de Beaux-Arts was built to be permanent.

Above photo. Main entrance to the Liege Internationale Universal in 1905, 1905. Courtesy Pinterest. Below: Serbia Pavilion at the Liege International Exposition, 1905. Courtesy Pinterest.

Serbia Pavilion Liege 1905
The Liege fair in 1905 was well received, turning a small profit, and drawing 54,000 people to buy season tickets. It had been held under the patronage of the King, Leopold II, and the nation was enthusiastic about the event. The King and Queen opened the fair and the King visited four times. The London Times reported on October 9 that the event satisfied its promoters.

Prior to BIE

Liege Expo Map 1905

International Participants
Nations and Colonies

Belgium, Germany, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Spain (unofficial), Congo, United States, France, Great Britain (unofficial), Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Morocco, Mexico, Montenegro, Norway, Pays-Bas (Netherlands), Persia, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay participated. Also mentioned, Congo Free State, Algeria, Tunisia. Japan declined invitation, but came. Germany did not officially participate, although private companies did display German products.

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. Some nations had unofficial exhibits. It is unknown whether some above that are listed as official, actually were. Take the above as a guide, not gospel. Various sources differ on who exhibited.

Expo Tidbits
There was a display of Senegalese swimming, and other ethnological attractions.

The looping the loop (roller coaster with a loop invented in 1883) was one of the new attractions at Leige 1905.

National Cash Register had a pavilion which kept track atop a large cash register of daily attendance. NCR took part in many world's fairs, including New York 1939-40, San Francisco 1939-40, Chicago 1893, St. Louis 1904, Portland 1905, Jamestown 1907, and Paris 1900.

The Fine Arts Building and three bridges over the River Meuse were left to the city after the exposition. The Palais des Beaux Arts building housed the Musee d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporaine. Today it houses a Beaux Arts museum known as La Boverie.

Liege Train Station

Those in Charge

Imre Kiralfy was British Commissioner-General.

Sources: Les Expositions Universelle en Belgique; Les Fastes du Progres; History of Fairs and Expositions; The Panoramic Dream, Antwerp and the World Exhibitions; World of Fairs; London Times; New York Times; Historical Dictionary of World's Fairs by Alfred Heller; Bureau of International Expositions; Wikipedia Commons.

Photo column top: Liege Expo Map 1905, 1905, Expo Authority. Courtesy Pinterest. Middle: Postcard of the Liege Guillemins Train Station taking visitors to the fair, 1905. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

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