Expo 58, Brussels


United Nations pavilionExpo 58, the Brussels World's Fair was held in the Belgian capital from 17 April to 19 October 1958. It was the first major world fair after the Second World War and thus was the image of belief in freedom and prosperity, so significant in the 50s and 60s.


Brussels, which witnessed an economic revival after World War II, represented the happy confluence of all forces of good will, which was reflected architecturally in the arrangement of the pavilions and buildings in the spacious, landscaped park on the Heizel and in the presentation of the individual countries in their own pavilions. It was largely to the merit of the architects that this positive effect was achieved. Aluminium was an important material for the constructions. The Expo was the summing-up of discoveries that the world had known for a century.


Interior of the pavilionIn six months more than 42 million visitors from all over the world visited the 2 kmē site on the Heysel plateau, seven kilometres northwest of Brussels.


For the first time the United Nations participated in a world fair. The UN pavilion was situated together with those of other international organizations around the World Co-operation Square.


The UN pavilion was a blue dome made of concrete designed by the Belgian architect Paul-Amaury Michel. In the dome six arches symbolized the six continents (the Americas were counted as two). The official opening took place on Saturday 26 April 1958.


Post office at the UN pavilionUnder the sphere all the UN Member States were brought together. Several UN organizations presented themselves: ITU, ICAO, UPU, WMO, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, IMF, GATT, ILO, UNESCO, WHO, UNICEF. On the ceiling of the central hall was a symbolic representation of the solar system.


Among the presentations in the UN pavilion was a hydroelectric dam, a cloud atlas used for weather predictions and a presentation on the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Also it had a copy of the UN Charter, a bookshop and projection room


Brochure UN at Expo 58A series of special stamps was issued by the Belgian Post. It was sold as a complete series of sixteen stamps to collectors at Expo 58, the philatelic service in Brussels and at UN Headquarters in New York. Four values could be bought separately. All stamps could only be used on national and international mail posted at the UN pavilion.


The United Nations issued a special brochure with photos of presentations within the pavilion. In a special message in the brochure, Henri Fast, Commissioner General for the United Nations and Specialized Agencies Section wrote: "It is only in an atmosphere of peaceful relations among the peoples and nations of the world that the ideas of the United Nations Charter can be fulfilled. International co-operation can establish that climate which is indispensable if mankind is to achieve the goals of moral and material wellbeing which now lie within its grasp.

By illustrating this theme in the building of the United Nations family at the Brussels Exhibition, we hope to have made our contribution to the presentation of the hopes entertained by the peoples of the world."




Stamp catalogue


Belgium                      17 April 1958









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last revised: 5 October 2008