Grand Opening of Population Europe’s Interactive Exhibition at the Allianz Forum in Berlin
Ageing is not just for old people – this was a core message at the joint opening of Population Europe’s interactive exhibition and the 3rd Berlin Demography Forum. In his opening speech Professor Wolfgang Schön, Vice-President of the Max Planck Society, reminded the more then 300 invited guests that "ageing already begins before we are born and continues to happen every time a body-cell divides. So, we are all in this together." Professor James W. Vaupel, Founder and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, also presented the amazing research findings about the increase in human life expectancy over the recent decades: "A child born in Germany this year has a 50% chance to celebrate their 103rd birthday". And these gained years should not be framed as a prolonged period of frail old age, but rather as "6 hours gained every day of our life – compared to someone born 70 years ago."
Stefan Müller, Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, took up the optimistic tone set by Professor Vaupel and presented demographic change as a process that every age group can and should get involved in. The exhibition “How to get to 100 – and enjoy it” is a good starting point, as it takes the visitor on a fascinating tour through the future in an ageing society. In interactive games, quizzes, photos, interviews and easy to understand graphs and texts, the latest research results on demographic change are only a few clicks away.
The importance of young generations in ageing societies was also highlighted by a selection of ten international young experts who were part of this year’s Berlin Demography Forum. They formed the centre of attention at the reception following the Exhibition Opening. Wolfgang Ischinger (Allianz SE), as well as Cornelia Rogall-Grothe (German Federal Ministry of Interior), Jutta Allmendinger (Berlin Social Science Centre) and Axel Börsch-Supan (Munich Centre for the Economics of Ageing) encouraged the experts and their contemporaries to raise their voices and get involved in society in order to defend the interests of the young in ageing societies.
The interactive exhibition will be shown in different cities throughout Europe within the next year.
Sigrun Matthiesen for Population Europe