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Barack Obama to visit Antwerp in March

10:16 09/02/2024

Former US president Barack Obama will visit Antwerp to speak at a technology festival at the end of March.

A conference on Sunday 17 March, called "An Evening With President Barack Obama", will take place at the Studio 100 Pop-Up Theatre in Puurs as a prelude to the Antwerp tech festival Supernova, which runs from 21-22 March.

Supernova first debuted in 2018 as a combination of a conference with renowned speakers and a technology fair with demonstrations.

The aim was to make it a biennial event, but the pandemic scuttled those plans in 2020 and 2022, making this year its second edition.

Obama “will give a moderated talk on the challenges we face and his vision for the future,” Supernova said.

The conference also promises speakers from leading technology and innovation organisations, along with companies such as IDEO, Tesla, NASA, Apple and Wired.

The former US president is a big get – and comes with a big price tag of between €400,000 and €600,000, according to Het Nieuwsblad.

That sum, however, is still much lower than the over €2 million charged by Donald Trump for similar speaking appearances.

The cost covers not only paying Obama for his speech and his time, but also €40,000 for former first lady Michelle Obama and a stay in the Splendeur suite at The Hotel in Brussels at €1,136 a night.

Belgium's federal police will be tasked with ensuring that the visit runs smoothly.

Photo: Barack Obama visiting Belgium in 2014. Eric Lalmand/Belga

Written by Helen Lyons