Dioramas, films, presentations of live animals, and world record and special trophies helped to raise awareness of the unique wildlife of our planet. For example, the country’s largest exhibition aquarium featured fish measuring up to 2 metres and 110 kilograms. Equestrian and hunting dog shows also awaited visitors.
This was the exhibition area for foreign guests, where countries and organizations that had accepted Hungary’s invitation set up their own stands. This was the venue for the World Conservation Forum (WCF), one of the World Exhibition’s important initiatives. During the 20-day WCF, visitors to the World Exhibition were able to see fascinating presentations by 153 Hungarian and international experts. In addition to international participants, the pavilion also hosted Hungarian exhibitors – such as Hungarian state forestry companies – and a VR gaming area of almost 1,000 square metres. In the latter, visitors could try their hand at hunting in virtual reality, and get a glimpse of the unique atmosphere of European forests and African savannahs.
Virtual tour of the International Hall:
Two trade fairs were open to the public during the World Exhibition. The FeHoVa weapons, fishing and hunting exhibition was cancelled in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, further increasing the importance of FeHoVa PLUSZ, held as part of the World Exhibition. The Hungarian Agricultural and Food Industry Exhibition and Fair (OMÉK) is the largest, oldest and most traditional agribusiness event in Hungary, and this time it was held as part of the World Exhibition. In addition to representatives of the domestic agricultural and food industry, many foreign professionals also attended.
Conference Centre and Innovation Showroom
A total of five world conferences were held in Budapest during the World Exhibition, with many international speakers travelling to Hungary to give presentations, hold congresses and assemblies on hunting, game management, sustainability and biodiversity. The World Exhibition’s professional programme was brought together by the World Conservation Forum.
We hosted the General Assembly of the International Council on Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), the General Assembly of the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE), the Congress of the International Union of Game Biologists (IUGB), and the Wildlife Forum of the Collaborative Partnership for Sustainable Wildlife (CPW). In addition, we were the main organizers of the International Hunting and Game Management Conference, which presented the sustainability of hunting and its benefits based on ancient traditions. Our distinguished speakers used their decades of research and professional experience to shed light on current issues from a practical viewpoint.
In addition to conferences, this pavilion also hosted the Future of Nature Innovation Showroom. The aim of this timely initiative was to provide an opportunity to showcase Hungarian start-ups, companies and developments that have created and are creating value at an international level in the fields of sustainability, hunting and nature conservation.
Fish, Water and Mankind
In this pavilion visitors had the chance to learn about Hungary’s characteristic wetlands. The organizers aimed to present the country’s lakes, rivers and wetlands in a spectacular way. For example, the country’s largest exhibition aquarium featured fish measuring up to 2 metres and 110 kilos in weight.
Virtual tour of Fish, Water and Mankind:
Visitors were taken on a guided tour through the history of fishing, which today is an increasingly popular pastime. The exhibition area provided a tremendous opportunity to learn about different fishing methods, with hundreds of square metres of water teeming with fish in settings designed to reproduce natural habitats. This offered a unique environment for presentations by renowned professionals and successful sport anglers.
A large part of the vast exhibition area was covered with water, in the form of a monumental aquarium system. Walking alongside this, visitors were able to view at close quarters the representatives of the Carpathian Basin’s fish fauna – native there in both the present and the past. The spectacle was given an authentic feel by the following: unusual dioramas filled with water; live waterfowl; powerful giant sturgeon; thousands of tiny fish; special, rarely seen protected species; taxidermy specimens; nature films projected in the background and huge printed panoramic photographs.
Expressed in numbers, this was hundreds of square metres of living water, nearly half a million litres of aquarium volume, and almost 2,000 fish from almost 50 species. It is safe to say that never before has the public seen such a unique aquatic display at an exhibition of this kind.
Traditional hunting methods
Pavilion F was the venue for an exhibition on traditional hunting methods: hunting with sighthounds, falconry, bowhunting and hunting with muzzleloader weapons. In addition to this, a major role was given to the presentation of the relationship between horses and hunting. There was also a continuous series of demonstrations of traditional techniques in the pavilion’s outdoor area.
Virtual tour of Traditional hunting methods:
Hungary’s “youngest” traditional hunting method is the use of muzzleloader weapons. The historical background is provided by the former workshop and store of József Kirner, a member of a dynasty of craftsmen who achieved major success with their products in the 19th century. Every branch of hunting had its own community space, and here there was a 10-metre indoor firing range, enabling visitors to try out muzzleloader weapons in safe conditions, using indoor target-shooting percussion ammunition and special anti-ricochet rounds.
To find out more about bowhunting, visitors were able to step into a village from the age of Prince Árpád. Here there were presentations of the preparation and use of the traditional Hungarian bow. People had the chance to learn about modern techniques and equipment, as well as those from the period of the Magyar conquest of the Carpathian Basin. In open-air presentations linked to the hall, a host of equestrian shows provided an insight into the past and present of hunting with horses.
In relation to hunting with sighthounds, visitors “jumped back in time” to the late 18th and early 19th centuries, to the age of romanticism, and to the hunting park of the Kismárton Hunting Mansion. They were able to find out about falconry with a glimpse behind the scenes in a mediaeval knight’s castle, visiting the garden, the farmhouse and the kitchen. In addition to this, fantastic dioramas provided visitors with a special experience.
Hungarian and International Trophy Exhibition, 12th Open European Taxidermy Championships, Hunting in the 21st Century Exhibition
Both the Hungarian and international trophy exhibitions were extremely popular. In addition to the best Hungarian trophies, especially valuable and rare pieces from around the world were also on display.
Virtual tour of the pavilion:
An important part of the presentation was international trophy judging, which occurred in two ways. In a specially dedicated part of the hall, the public was able observe in real time how points were awarded. In addition, visitors were also able to witness a unique novelty: exploiting the possibilities of virtual reality, they could become part of the judging process in an unprecedented way, using a VR headset!
Another of the Exhibition’s internationally important events worth highlighting was the European Taxidermy Championships. This was also held in this pavilion, in cooperation with the European Taxidermy Championships®(ETC), in its capacity as an independent organization.
The pavilion also hosted the Hunting in the 21st Century Exhibition, which focused on hunting rifles. Famous historic brands such as Mauser, Rigby, Sauer, Blaser, Minox and Limke were showcased in a spectacular exhibition space covering 2,000 square metres.
Central Hungarian Exhibition
Pavilion H was the location of the Central Hungarian Exhibition. This multilingual exhibition took visitors on a one-thousand-year walk around the Carpathian Basin, during which they experienced how the history of the Hungarian people has been made “one with nature” through disciplines that are close to nature. Taxidermy specimens presenting Hungarian large and small game were showcased in the pavilion over an area of almost 1,200 square metres. The various eras were conjured up using videos, art and applied art installations – for instance, through creating sculptures of Hungary’s twelve most famous hunters and nature lovers.
Virtual tour of Central Hungarian Exhibition:
Treasures of the Carpathian Basin
The exhibition space had a floor area of 180 square metres. When viewed from above the plan resembled a cross, which was both a reference to Saint Hubertus – the patron saint of hunters – and to the four points of the compass. In essence there were four linked hunting cabins with shingle roofs, each facing one of the four cardinal points. These evoked the mountain hunting lodges so beloved of famous Hungarian hunters such as Zsigmond Széchenyi, István Fekete, Kálmán Kittenberger, Herbert Nadler and many others.
The concept of the exhibition was developed and realized by a team of creative experts and professionals specializing in interactive museum exhibitions, using Hungarian hunting memorabilia from eight countries, including in the Carpathian Basin.