Swiss innovation at the heart of Stuttgart: The Swiss Pop-up House
The closure of the border between Switzerland and Germany during the first wave of the corona pandemic in 2020 put the close economic, cultural and personal ties between Baden-Württemberg and Switzerland to a severe test. In the pandemic’s aftermath, Switzerland aimed to strengthen the diverse contacts with its neighbor and give these exchanges a new dynamic. For this purpose, Switzerland ran a Pop-up House of Switzerland from July to October 2021 in the city center of Stuttgart.
Organized by Presence Switzerland and the network of Swiss representations in Germany, it invited visitors to reflect on how to shape the common future during several exhibitions and over 150 public events and panel discussions. These focused on the topics of sustainability and innovation. Numerous Swiss research institutions, among them the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) and Lausanne (EPFL), EMPA, the University of Zurich, ZHAW and Innosuisse used the Pop-up House as a platform to showcase their research and innovations in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain or food production. The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation contributed to the program with a panel discussion on how to find the best talents for vocational education and training.
Over 20’000 people visited the Pop-up House altogether. On 6 October, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Guy Parmelin, honored it with a visit. Together with Winfried Kretschmann, Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, he took part in a panel discussion titled "Future prospects for the economic area Baden-Württemberg - Switzerland". The discussion focused on bilateral research cooperation, Horizon Europe (and the Swiss association to it) as well as the management of the Corona crisis in the region. The Pop-up House of Switzerland was the first of its kind to be set up in a neighbor country. Despite the difficult conditions imposed by the pandemic, it managed to create an inspiring environment for discoveries, joint reflection and the creation of new connections. The next stop of the Pop-up House of Switzerland will be in spring 2022 in Milano.