Chronology of Expo.01/02

The chronology of the 6th National Exhibition can be delineated into very different phases of Expo.01/02. 

The simplest division of the chronology is into the following 3 phases: 

Preliminary phase
Years up to 1996: from the first discussions about a new national exhibition to the federal decision on a contribution to the 2001 national exhibition in December 1996.

Expo.01 phase
Years 1997-1999: from the presentation of the Three Lakes Project to the public to the federal decision on CHF 250 million for Expo.02 in December 1999.

Expo.02 phase
Years 2000-2003: from the submission of the feasibility report for Expo.02 to the Federal Council to the dismantling of Expo.02, which took place mainly in 2003.


1964 In their final report, the organisers of Expo 64 express the wish that the next edition should coincide with the 700th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation.
1977 The Conference of the Cantons of Central Switzerland sets up a committee for a national exhibition to celebrate the 700th anniversary.
12.12.1984 Establishment of the CH-91 Foundation by the Central Swiss cantons of Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Lucerne and Zug together with the Confederation. The main objective of the foundation was to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation in 1991 with a national exhibition in Central Switzerland.
05.05.1985 Negative referendum in the canton of Lucerne on the planned CH-91.
26.04.1987 Negative referenda in the central Swiss cantons on the planned CH-91.
06.1987 The Federal Council determines that no National Exhibition can take place in 1991.
01.06.1988 Federal Council message on the 700th anniversary: a national exhibition is to be held in Ticino in the anniversary year 1998 (150 years of the federal state).
End 1989 The Ticino government commissions a study on the feasibility of a national exhibition in Ticino in 1998. After the study was completed, Ticino decided not to apply.
05.-09.1993 After Geneva, the Valais, and suddenly the Ticino again, and finally Neuchâtel, signalled their interest in an Expo in 1998. The Valais finally withdrew because of its Olympic candidacy, while Berne and Fribourg joined the Neuchâtel project.
10.1993 The parliament's conciliation committees propose the organisation of a national exhibition in 2000.
03.1994 The National Council passes a motion instructing the Federal Council to take charge of the organisation of a national exhibition and to submit a corresponding proposal to the Councils.
20.05.1994 Constitutive meeting of the bid committee for the Neuchâtel project.
13.06.1994 The Federal Council decides to hold a national exhibition in 2001, separate from the 1998 celebrations of Helvetia and the Jubilee of the Swiss Confederation. The Federal Department of Economic Affairs is given the lead.
21.06.1994 The cantons of Neuchâtel, Bern, Fribourg, Solothurn, Vaud and Jura as well as the cities of Biel-Bienne, Grenchen, Murten, Neuchâtel, Solothurn and Yverdon-les-Bains submit their candidature.
12.12.1994 The canton and city of Solothurn and Grenchen withdraw from the project.
22.12.1994 The Federal Council cannot decide on a project and postpones the decision.
18.01.1995 The Federal Council in corpore receives representatives of all three initiative committees.
30.01.1995 At the request of the FDEA, the Federal Council decides in favour of the Expo in the Three Lakes Region at the southern foot of the Jura. It prefers this project to the proposals from Geneva and Ticino and instructs the bid committee to have a feasibility study carried out. In addition, it establishes the Interdepartmental Coordination Group (GIC).
14.03.1995 The bid committee forms the Association Exposition Nationale, which is chaired by Neuchâtel State Councillor Francis Matthey. Its strategic body is called the Comité Stratégique and consists of 18 members. The office of the Comité Stratégique comprises 5 people.
03.1995 The Comité Stratégique commissions Rudolf Burkhalter (Aarprojekt) and Paolo Ugolini (Steiner Engineering) to prepare a feasibility study.
09.1995 The head of the FDEA appoints his personal assistant, Daniel Margot, as the Federal Council's delegate for the National Exhibition.
13.02.1996 Presentation of the project at a press conference attended by Federal Councillor Jean-Pascal Delamuraz.
02.03.1996 Appointment to the offices of the Association Exposition Nationale (Comité Stratégique, Assemblé Générale).
18.03.1996 The Federal Council commissions the Association Exposition Nationale to organise a national exhibition.
01.04.1996 The National Exhibition Association revises its statutes and renames the national exhibition into Expo 2001.
22.05.1996 Federal Council Dispatch (Federal contribution of CHF 130 million)
06.09.1996 Supplementary report to the Federal Council Dispatch of 22.05.1996
05.11.1996 2nd Supplementary Report to the Federal Council Dispatch of 22.05.1996
28.11.1996 The Association adopts new statutes, which come into force on 01.01.1997.
01.12.1996 Referendum in the city of Biel on financial participation in Expo 2001.
10.12.1996 Federal decision on the contribution of CHF 130 million to the National Exhibition 2001 (the feasibility study had assumed a federal contribution of CHF 170 million). After the Council of States, the National Council also approves the credit for Expo 2001 by 126 votes to 25.
31.12.1996 Election of the federal representatives to the Comité Strategique
03.03.1997 Jacqueline Fendt is elected Directrice Générale of Expo 2001 by the Comité Strategique.
21.03.1997 Rudolf Burkhalter (Direction Finances, which also included Transport, Environment, Procedures and Tourism) and Paolo Ugolini (Direction Technique, which also included Security and Logistics) and Sécretaire Générale Alain Becker take office.
04.1997 Launch of the participation campaign.
25.05.1997 The first Expo website goes online.
01.08.1997 Pipilotti Rist is introduced to the public as Directrice Artistique of Expo 2001.
01.1998 Expo 2001 is renamed Expo.01.
01.04.1998 Federal Councillor Couchepin takes over the FDEA from Federal Councillor Delamuraz.
01.04.1998 Contract with the delegate of the Federal Council, Daniel Margot.
05.1998 lnternational architectural competition for the Arteplages is launched (in which no established representatives from Switzerland subsequently participate).
05.05.1998 Federal Councillor Couchepin meets those responsible for the Expo.01 in Neuchâtel.
15.06.1998 The Federal Council approves the federal projects.
17.06.1998 The Comité Stratégique approves the preliminary project of 29.04.1998.
01.07.1998 The office of the Comité Stratégique invites the Direction Générale and the other directorates to a discussion in Murten.
09.1998 Adjusted design and architecture tender for the Arteplages by Ruedi Rast.
11.09.1998 Aloys Hirzel takes over as Directeur Marketing (communication was still integrated in this Directorate).
14.10.1998 The Directeur Technique Paolo Ugolini resigns.
11.1998 Budget 8
18.12.1998 The Directrice Artistique Pipilotti Rist resigns.
01.1999 Federal Council appoints delegation of three (Couchepin, Ogi, Leuenberger).
22.01.1999 Federal Council meets with Expo.01 management.
26.01.1999 The Comité Strategique appoints Nelly Wenger as Directrice Technique and Martin Heller as Directeur Artistique.
02.1999 Decision of the jury in the design and architecture tender for the Arteplages.
02.03.1999 The designs for the Expo.01 exhibition grounds were presented in Geneva.
05.03.1999 Publication of Review of overall project controlling by PriceWaterCooper.
03.1999 Start of construction of the transhipment centre in Cornaux (logistics centre for platform assembly and transhipment from rail to ship for all four Arteplage sites).
22.04.1999 Delegation of three members of the Federal Council meets with representatives of the Comité Strategique and the Direction Générale Expo.01 .
22.06.1999 Delegation of three members of the Federal Council meets again with the Direction Générale Expo.01.
26.06.1999 The ground-breaking ceremony in Cornaux is celebrated.
06.1999 Budget 10
07.1999 The four heads of the Arteplage are appointed.
07.1999 Start of construction at the Arteplages Biel-Bienne, Neuchâtel and Yverdon-les-Bains
05.08.1999 The Directrice Générale Jacqueline Fendt is dismissed by the Comité Strategique, after the four directors had expressed their lack of confidence in her the day before due to an acute crisis of leadership and trust. Nelly Wenger, Directrice Technique, takes over ad interim.
08.08.1999 Message for a supplementary credit
11.08.1999 Establishment of the lDA Expo.01 (Interdepartmental Working Group on Expo.01) by the Federal Council. The IDA Expo.01 had the task of accompanying the work of the company Hayek Engineering AG and to show the Federal Council various options for action with regard to the national exhibition and to prepare a message for a supplementary credit from the Confederation. It reviewed the organisational structure of the Expo 2001 Association and the federal projects.
16.08.1999 Top-level meeting Federal Council / Economy / Expo.01 management in Murten-Morat.
27.08.1999 Credit Suisse makes CHF 10 million available to the National Exhibition to bridge a liquidity bottleneck that would otherwise have led to the cessation of work.
27.08.1999 Revision of the association's statutes
08.1999 Resignation of Kurt Aeschbacher as chairman of the jury of the participatory campaign.
09.1999 Stop of construction work leads to a loss of motivation.
23.09.1999 In the expert report provided free of charge by Hayek Engineering, Nicolas Hayek believes that it is possible to hold Expo.01 on schedule - if the management is changed and extreme efforts are made. Moreover, the national exhibition will cost between CHF 380 and 550 million more than assumed.
27.09.1999 Alois Hirzel and Rudolf Burkhalter resign; the Direction Générale now has only two members, Nelly Wenger and Martin Heller.
29.09.1999 The Comité Stratégique of Expo.01 hands over power to the newly created Comité Directeur. Its members will not sit on this new body.
30.09.1999 The Departement Partenariat is attached to the Direction Artistique.
04.10.1999 The Federal Council postpones the National Exhibition by one year to 2002. It also proposes a supplementary Expo credit of CHF 250 million to Parliament.
07.10.1999 The President of the Direction Générale ad interim creates a new organisation with 16 task forces.
15.10.1999 ln Neuchâtel, the Expo-02-Comité Directeur is officially launched. FDP President and National Councillor Franz Steinegger is President and representative of the Confederation; other members are Alois Sonnenmoser, Riccardo Gullotti and the former cantonal councillors Peter Schmid (Bern, SVP) and Pierre Dubois (Neuchâtel, SP). Amendment of the Statutes.
20.10.1999 The Comité Directeur takes up its work; the former Strategic Committee becomes the Assemblé Générale.
04.11.1999 The major bank Credit Suisse makes its head of staff, Rolf Dörig, available to Expo.02 as Directeur Finances for three months.
05.11.1999 The Environment, Energy, Transport group (consultative body) will be dissolved.
17.11.1999 According to Steinegger, CHF 300 million must be raised and another CHF 290 million must be saved.
29.11.1999 Amendment of the Articles of Association
01.11.1999 Rainer Müller to head the Direction Marketing ad interim
16.12.1999 In the winter session, the National Council and the Council of States approve a further CHF 250 million for Expo.02 (with certain conditions).
12.1999 The lDA Expo.01 completes its mandate
11.+14.12.1999 The results of the 16 task forces are available. The publications Expo.02 - Part A: Optimal project and concept and Expo.02 - Part B: Advice on "no limits" scenarios appear.
19.01.2000 The Federal Council approves the budget rupture of CHF 1.4 billion. which does not contain any reserves.
20.01.2000 Publication of the Rapport au Conseil fédéral. In its feasibility report, the Expo management declares Expo.02 to be feasible, but demands a deficit guarantee of CHF 320 million from the Confederation and the cantons.
26.01.2000 Credit release (CHF 250 million) by the Federal Council, although the conditions were only partially fulfilled.
02.02.2000 New appointments to the Direction Générale: Nelly Wenger Directrice Générale, Martin Heller, Directeur Artistique, Walter Häusermann. Directeur Finances, Rainer Müller Directeur Marketing,
11.02.2000 After a five-month interruption, construction work on the Arteplages continues.
23.02.2000 Federal decision on deficit guarantee of CHF 338 million.
29.02.2000 Appointment of Tony Burgener as Responsable of the Department Information/Relations Publiques
02.2000 The Direction Générale decides to create an internal legal service.
01.03.2000 Start-up Strategic Controlling,
06.03.2000 Ruedi Rast takes over as Directeur Technique.
06.03.2000 The Direction Exploitation is created.
09.03.2000 Two 50 m long metal support piles on the Arteplage Neuchâtel break and sink. This construction failure, for which Expo.02 is not responsible, has a drastic effect on further work.
03.2000 The Partner Presentation Programme (PPP) for sponsors is developed.
03.-05.2000 Design of the organisation of Expo.02. Development of a new macro-structure.
17.04.2000 The contract with the delegate of the Federal Council, Daniel Margot, is terminated prematurely as of 30.06.2000.
15.05.2000 Expo.02 is back on track, announces Nelly Wenger, Director General.
14.06.2000 1st quarterly report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel).
16.06.2000 After the Council of States, the National Council also approves a deficit guarantee of CHF 338 million. With a budget of CHF 1.4 billion, the Confederation's total commitment amounts to around CHF 700 million.
30.06.2000 GPK of the Council of States decides on an investigation.
06.2000 According to an opinion poll, only just under half of the Swiss population has a positive image of Expo.02, while at the same time 9 out of 10 respondents expressed high expectations.
07.2000 Introduction of the Pilotage opérationnel department.
07.2000 Review of liquidity planning reveals insufficient coverage of CHF 220 to 260 million.
08.2000 Publication of the Overall evaluation of the project.
26.08.2000 Publication of 159 jours côté Suisse.
01.09.2000 2nd quarterly report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel).
10.10.2000 Construction work also begins in Murten as the last location.
12.10.2000 With the election of the Directeur Exploitation, Frédéric Hohl, the Direction Générale is complete. It also consists of Nelly Wenger (Directrice Générale), Walter Häusermann (Directeur Finances), Martin Heller (Directeur Artistique), Rainer Müller (Directeur Marketing), Ruedi Rast (Directeur Technique).
30.11.2000 3rd quarterly report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel).
19.12.2000 The Steering Committee adopts a basic project with 37 exhibitions - 11 fewer than planned.
23.01.2001 The Direction Partenariat is founded, René Stambach becomes Director. Event sponsorship is transferred to this Directorate (until then it had been independent of the Direction Events).
23.02.2001 After several sponsors such as Orange, Diax/Sunrise and Swissair withdraw, the banks agree to provide CHF 150 to 160 million in liquidity until the end of June.
02.2001 Start of ticket sales via indirect channels
28.02.2001 4th quarterly report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel).
27.03.2001 Report of the CPC of the Council of States entitled Probleme bei der Vorbereitung und Organisation der Landesausstellung 2001 (Expo.01).
04.04.2001 The Federal Council in corpore attends a presentation by the Direction Générale on the content of Expo.02.
04.2001 The site visits project is launched (for the local population and future visitors).
14.05.2001 One year before the opening of the national exhibition, the Directrice Générale Nelly Wenger launches the public campaign.
19./20.05.2001 Open days on the four Arteplages with 66,000 visitors.
28.05.2001 5th quarterly report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel).
05.2001 As a result of the slow receipt of sponsoring contributions, a shortfall of CHF 20 to 40 million is expected for June.
13.06.2001 Following the Council of States, the National Council also converts CHF 300 million of the federal deficit guarantee into a loan.
06.2001 Damage to the floors of the Neuchâtel and Biel-Bienne platforms.
07.2001 Jean-François Roth, member of the Council of States for the Jura, becomes an ambassador for Expo.02.
09.07.2001 The events are merged into a separate Direction Event headed by Daniel Rossellat.
21.08.2001 6th quarterly report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel).
09.2001 Pilotage operationnel carries out a general review of the project.
10.10.2001 Publication of the 1st issue of the Expo magazine 02.News.
11.10.2001 Expo ticket sales begin at the Olma in St. Gallen.
16.10.2001 The Comité Directeur puts together a new savings package of CHF 40 million in view of the lack of sponsor contributions.
08.2001 The VIP project is cancelled for financial reasons; the product EasyAccess is created.
01.11.2001 The Protocol Department is created.
14.11.2001 7th quarterly report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel).
30.11.2001 The Dirction Finances presents the post-Expo.02 concept.
31.12.2001 Slightly more than 1 million tickets are sold; the advance sales target is thus already exceeded more than 4 months before the Expo opening.
30.01.2002 Message on a 2nd additional credit (sponsorship shortfall).
31.01.2002 The Direction Technique launches the idea of Reflexpo; finally, more than 20 exhibition partners take part in this evaluation.
14.03.2002 Federal decision on the 2nd additional credit of CHF 120 million and the conversion of the deficit guarantee of CHF 58 million into a loan (against the opposition of the SVP, the Greens and parts of the CVP). The parliament's room for manoeuvre was very limited at this point.
27.03.2002 8th quarterly report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel).
01.04.2002 Publication of The official guide to Expo.02.
04./05.05.2002 Preview Days/Media Days on the four Arteplages with 550 Swiss and foreign journalists.
14.05.2002 President Kaspar Villiger opens the National Exhibition 2002. 15,000 people attend the opening on the four Arteplages.
15.05.2002 Expo.02 opens its doors.
21.05.2002 The Arteplage Mobile du Jura opens for business.
14.06.2002 9th quarterly report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel).
31.07.2002 The Sécretariat Générale is dissolved.
01.08.2002 The 1st August celebrations are held on all four Arteplages and attract a record 110'000 people.
05.08.2002 Expo.02 takes stock of the first half of the year. Admissions have reached 4.4 million.
20.08.2002 10th quarterly report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel).
07.-08.2002 Sales of the season pass and subsequently also the 3-day pass collapse, which very quickly has a negative impact on average price and ticket revenue.
02.09.2002 Message 3 Additional credit of CHF 90 million within the framework of the 2003 budget (to cover the insufficient ticket revenue).
09.09.2002 Last minute tickets offer advantageous all-inclusive prices.
12.09.2002 The Comité Directeur appoints Marc Stucki as the person responsible for the dismantling work.
20.10.2002 Closing ceremony with 500 invited guests. Expo.02 closes its doors and records a daily record of 180,000 admissions. Expo.02 records a total of 10.3 million admissions and 4.2 million tickets sold.
21.10.2002 Start of dismantling work.
31.10.2022 An opinion poll shows that 4 out of 5 people would welcome another national exhibition in the next 25 to 30 years.
20.11.2002 Publication of L'impact économique de l'exposition nationale Expo.02. Report on the economic effects of Expo.02 prepared by the University of Neuchâtel.
26.11.2002 Publication of the PwC report Vérification du décompte final provisoire.
11.12.2002 Federal decree on the 2003 budget, 3rd supplementary credit of CHF 90 million (loss of revenue). The Confederation thus made a total of CHF 928 million available in loans and contributions.
13.01.2003 11th Quarterly Report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel) - Provisional final account.
28.02.2003 12th Quarterly Report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel) - Décompte provisoire.
01.04.2003 Publication of the Weisungen für die Durchführung von Grossanlässen.
15.05.2003 Publication of the Rapport final d'Expo.02.
28.05.2003 13th Quarterly Report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel).
24.09.2003 14th Quarterly Report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel).
12.01.2004 15th Quarterly Report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel).
31.08.2004 16th Quarterly Report Expo.02 to the Finance Delegation (FinDel).
29.11.2004 The following resolutions were passed at the General Assembly: Delegation of its tasks and duties to a group reduced to three persons (Hans Stöckli, Francis Matthey and Erwin Götschmann). Election of KPMG SA Berne as liquidator and PwC Neuchâtel as auditors, both as of 01.01.2005.
31.12.2004 Resignation of Marc Stucki, Liquidator
01.05.2005 Publication of the Expo.01/02: Un mandat à responsabilité illimitée.
13.05.2008 Publication of Expo.02 in Liquidation: Abschlussbericht.
15.05.2008 At the General Assembly, a decision was taken to apply for the deletion of the association Exposition Nationale en liquidation from the Commercial Register of Neuchâtel.