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Company News, 2006-05-28, 04:01 PM

Ideas Park 2006: Well over 200,000 visitors show enthusiasm for technology

After nine days, the Ideas Park staged by ThyssenKrupp AG ended in Hanover on Sunday. "Well over 200,000 visitors from all over Germany show that we succeeded in raising enthusiasm for technology and innovation," said initiator Dr. Ekkehard Schulz, Executive Board Chairman of ThyssenKrupp AG.

More than 50 partners from the worlds of politics, science, education, the media and sports joined ThyssenKrupp in staging the Ideas Park, including numerous technical universities, the Max-Planck Society, the Fraunhofer Society and the Deutsches Museum (German Museum). ThyssenKrupp was also partnered by the state of Lower Saxony, whose Premier Christian Wulff was so enthusiastic about the idea that he took part in several discussions himself and gave children a tour of the exhibition. Numerous schools in Lower Saxony took the opportunity to swap the classroom for the Ideas Park for a day.

Over 150 exhibits encouraged families with children to discover technical innovations and develop their own ideas for the future. This one-of-a-kind exhibition - divided into three main themes "Mobility", "Life and environment" and "Creativity" - offered hands-on technology. Visitors were able to try out new car drive systems, acquaint themselves with new materials, or find out how seawater desalination plants or robot snakes work.

Numerous events accompanied the technology show. The general opinion was: "I never thought technology could be so exciting." On several stages there were talk shows and panel discussions with more than 80 prominent guests. Topics of discussion included the pros and cons of stem cell research and questions regarding future energy supplies. The central theme was education and the question of how to persuade young people to take up technical occupations.

"The Ideas Park is far more than just an exhibition. It is intended to raise enthusiasm for technical and scientific occupations and attract people to them. In the future, we will need more engineers if we are to compete not only with countries such as the USA and Scandinavia, but also China and India," said ThyssenKrupp Executive Board Chairman Dr. Ekkehard Schulz. At the end of the nine days, he rated the Ideas Park a complete success: "We wanted to get people enthusiastic about technology, and that's just what we've done in Hanover. We need the creative minds of tomorrow to get Germany fit for the future. That's why we staged the Ideas Park." The Ideas Park cost ThyssenKrupp around ten million euros to organize. Admission for visitors was free.

German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel was also impressed by the Ideas Park. Following a tour, the Chancellor said that to move forward Germany needed ideas which could also be put into practice, and the Ideas Park provided excellent examples of this. Above all she encouraged girls to take more of an interest in technical occupations. There were still far more boys than girls deciding to become engineers. "I'm convinced that girls' brains are just as suitable for technical professions as boys'," said Merkel.

In a message of greetings, Germany's President Horst Köhler wished all participants at the Ideas Park "an exciting journey into the future". Two years ago, the President attended the first Ideas Park in Gelsenkirchen.

The Ideas Park was accompanied by several evening events. At a major gala on the opening evening in the nearby TUI Arena, star guest Neil Armstrong assured the audience he would love to fly back to the moon. Compered by German TV presenter Günther Jauch, the show thrilled around 3,000 guests. In addition, TV station ProSieben presented its first "Knowledge Award" as part of the "Grosse Galileo Show". On Saturday, ThyssenKrupp was joined by friends and partners of the company for a special concert by the pop group PUR. On the closing day, Germany's Minister for Family Affairs Dr. Ursula von der Leyen visited the Ideas Park with her family. The nine-day show was brought to a close with an open air concert by Austrian pop singer Christina Stürmer.

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