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Retro Perspective of the first European Bamboo Expo

With less than a month remaining until the next European Bamboo Expo unfolds its splendor in Dortmund, Germany (May 16-18, 2024), it’s the perfect time to reflect on the inaugural event that captured the hearts and minds of bamboo enthusiasts worldwide. From June 2nd to 3rd, 2023, the first European Bamboo Expo emerged as a beacon of sustainability and innovation, uniting global minds under the verdant canopy of nature’s most versatile material.

Video: Main Hall European Bamboo Expo

This is the YouTube Playlist of all the European Bamboo Expo 2023 videos


Organized by the visionary Iraklis Kalamenios of WeProductions, with indispensable support from Andres Baeppler and Ulla Schuch, the event shimmered with promise and purpose. Sponsored generously by Bamboo Logic of NL, Only Moso of Italy, and the World Bamboo Organization, among others, the European Bamboo Expo beckoned forth a gathering of global minds, united under the banner of sustainability and innovation.

Lets begin with a ThinkBamboo Video Podcast with the brain of the European Bamboo Expo himself – Iraklis Kalamenios.

A Confluence of Pioneering Minds

As the sun rose on the first day, Dortmund’s event halls thrummed with anticipation, as attendees found themselves amidst a whirlwind of activity. Within the Expo grounds, the scene unfolded in a kaleidoscope of events, each one a testament to the diversity and vitality of the bamboo community. To say that the official Program was packed is a total understatement.

Read the full report of the European Bamboo Expo 2023 or you can review and download all the bamboo speaker presentations as PDF.

Outdoor Workshops and Presentations

In front of the main entrance of the European Bamboo Expo, a bamboo construction workshop buzzed with activity, serving as a vibrant focal point for attendees as they entered the event. Expert instructors guided eager hands, imparting age-old techniques alongside cutting-edge innovations, as bamboo structures rose from the ground, a testament to human ingenuity and ecological harmony.

The workshop featured the Vinc Math Bamboo Workshop Hyperbolic Structure, where participants experienced the dynamic potential of bamboo in constructing hyperbolic structures. Under the guidance of skilled instructors, attendees immersed themselves in the art of bamboo weaving, witnessing firsthand the remarkable flexibility and strength of this remarkable material.

Not far away, students like Jane Gliessman and Silvanus Nangolo the very next generation of bamboo builders, from the RheinMain University embarked on a monumental task: the construction of a Bamboo Pavilion, right there on site. Armed with determination and ingenuity, they embarked on a journey of creation, transforming raw bamboo into a stunning architectural masterpiece. Step by step, they wove together strands of bamboo, weaving a tapestry of innovation and sustainability that captured the imagination of all who beheld it.

As the workshop progressed, the Bamboo Pavilion took shape, its elegant curves and organic lines a testament to the beauty and versatility of bamboo. With each joint meticulously crafted and each beam expertly placed, the Pavilion emerged as a symbol of human creativity and harmony with nature.

International Bamboo Speakers

Simultaneously, the main stage played host to an array of international bamboo speakers, each one a luminary in their field. Among them was Hans Friederich, whose impassioned address stirred the hearts and minds of attendees. As the former Director-General of the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR), Friederich brought a wealth of experience and insight to the Expo, highlighting the pivotal role of bamboo in sustainable development initiatives worldwide.

Another standout speaker was Tono Aguilar from CASSA Guatemala, whose innovative approaches to bamboo cultivation and utilization captivated the audience. Aguilar’s presentation showcased the transformative power of bamboo in addressing socio-economic challenges, particularly in rural communities, where bamboo-based livelihoods offer a path to prosperity and resilience.

The event also featured several dynamic round table discussion with the speakers, offering attendees the opportunity to engage directly with these thought leaders. Led by moderator Sarah Jones, one of the discussion delved into pressing issues facing the bamboo industry, from regulatory barriers to market access, sparking lively debate and fostering collaboration.

On-site Main Hall Exhibitors

Exhibitors of The European Bamboo Expo in 2023

The European Bamboo Expo featured a diverse array of participants, ranging from industry leaders to innovative startups, academic institutions, and advocacy groups. Platinum sponsors like BambooLogic and Vivai OnlyMoso showcased their expertise in bamboo cultivation and utilization.

Gold sponsors, including the Asia Bamboo Society and branches of the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR) in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, demonstrated bamboo’s global impact on sustainable development. Additionally, silver sponsor Natbam® and media partners like ThinkBamboo Podcast, Bambu Batu and Frogeex provided vital support and visibility to the Expo.

Innovators like my Boo GmbH and Smart Grass Bicycles contributed cutting-edge solutions, while supporters such as Wübu-PermaGuate and CASSA Central America enriched the event with their unique perspectives. Academic institutions like RheinMain University of Applied Sciences and University of Applied Sciences Kaiserslautern furthered the discourse with their research and educational initiatives.

Organizations like GROW Colourful Ghana, European Bamboo Society Sektion Deutschland e.V., BluoVerda Deutschland e.V., and Organizations like European Bamboo Society Sektion Deutschland e.V., BluoVerda Deutschland e.V., and Bamboo World Map added depth to the Expo’s discussions on bamboo advocacy, horticulture, and global mapping. With each participant playing a crucial role, the Expo fostered collaboration and innovation across the bamboo community.

Additionally, the Expo welcomed exceptional attendees such as Johan Gelis, Gema Diaz-Matthias, and Everest Holmes, Lorena Nolte, Raphaël Ascoli, Boy Dominik Heemskerk, Thomas Quirynen, further enhancing the diversity and expertise present at the event. With each participant playing a crucial role, the Expo fostered collaboration and innovation across the bamboo community.