Antwerp has been selected as the host city for the World Tunnel Congress (WTC) 2027. Set to run from April 23 to April 29, 2027, the event will mark the first time the Congress is held in Belgium, spotlighting the nation’s growing influence in the global tunnel and underground construction sector.

Last week, the announcement was made at the World Tunnel Congress 2024 in Shenzhen, China. The Belgian Tunnel Association (ABTUS-BVOTS), in collaboration with the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA), will be the event’s primary organisers, whilst AIM Group Belgium has been appointed as PCO. 

The WTC 2027 will bring together more than 2,700 leading experts, researchers, policymakers, and companies from various sectors, including civil engineering, construction, transportation, and infrastructure. Participants will gather to share knowledge, showcase innovations, and discuss the future of tunnelling and underground technology.

Antwerp Convention Bureau’s CEO, Tadeja Pivc Coudyser, said: “We are thrilled to host the World Tunnel Congress 2027 here in Antwerp. This event not only underscores the strategic importance of our city in the global tunnel and underground construction industry but also highlights the effectiveness of our Convention Bureau in bringing international attention to our region.

Antwerp Convention Bureau will provide ongoing support for the event in 2027, ensuring they maximise all opportunities the city has to offer as Pivc Coudyser explains: “Through Antwerp’s new brand, ‘The City is Your Venue,’ we aim to integrate the vibrancy and cultural richness of our city into every aspect of the congress. Delegates and organisers will experience a seamless blend of professional engagement and urban hospitality, truly showcasing that in Antwerp, the entire city transforms into your venue. This congress will be a perfect example of how effectively our bureau can facilitate major international events, making them a memorable experience for all participants.”

ITA President Arnold Dix expressed his anticipation for the event, stating: “I look forward to participating in the congress in Antwerp. A blend of historical heritage, modern technology, innovative engineering, and cultural significance characterises Belgium’s underground infrastructure. I am confident that this event will contribute to furthering underground construction worldwide.”

Johan Mignon and Bart De Pauw, speaking on behalf of ABTUS-BVOTS, shared their enthusiasm: “We are extremely excited about the decision to choose Belgium. The Oosterweel project, with its various tunnel complexes, has certainly been an asset in our candidacy. Numerous examples elsewhere in our country of underground infrastructure have enabled our region to develop into a prosperous and thriving area over the past decades.”

Antwerp’s selection underscores Belgium’s critical role in the tunnel industry, backed by its impressive infrastructure projects and expertise in tunnel construction. The Congress will highlight Belgian underground projects, such as the ongoing Oosterweel project, demonstrating the country’s commitment to innovation and development.

Antwerp’s Deputy Mayor Koen Kennis concludes: “I am immensely proud that we will welcome the World Tunnel Congress to our city in 2027. Hosting this significant event reflects our city’s capacity and readiness for large-scale international gatherings. It complements our strategic vision of showcasing Antwerp as a prime destination for global professional events. Considering that Antwerp is currently at the stage of some of Europe’s biggest roadworks, the World Tunnel Congress comes at a perfect time and place. The congress aligns perfectly with our commitment to advancing industry knowledge and technological innovations across various sectors. We are eager to demonstrate how Antwerp serves as a host city and a partner in progress and innovation for industries worldwide.”

Antwerp Convention Bureau will be exhibiting at IMEX 2024 on Stand E135, where attendees can learn more about the city as well as the Bureau’s support of events like the World Tunnel Congress.