My travel diaries From the


Arab Emirates


Currency: VAE Dirham
Capital: Abu Dhabi

Drink like a local: tea

Special Facts:

  • The Arab Emirates include Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al-Qaiwain, Fujairah, Ajman and Ra’s al-Khaimah.
  • The flag features the four pan-Arab colors representing fertility (green), neutrality (white), petroleum resources (black) and unity (red).
  • There are no rivers or lakes in the Emirates. Fresh water comes from collected rainwater and underwater reservoirs.
  • Dubai is famous for its artificial islands. The most famous of these is Palm Jumeirah, an artificial, palm-shaped archipelago with luxury hotels, beaches and around 80,000 people. Other artificial island projects include Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, which is home to a Formula 1 racing track.
  • Dubai is also home to the world’s first 3D printed commercial building. The office, created using just a 3D printer, took 17 days to print and three months to assemble.
  • In 2020, the UAE became the first Gulf state to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
  • The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is 828 meters high, making it the tallest building in the world (as of 2024).
  • About 85% of the UAE’s 5.3 million workforce are expatriates.
  • The UAE is one of the countries with the highest CO2 emissions in the world. Measured in tonnes per capita, the UAE ranks fifth in the world with 22.94 tonnes of CO2 emissions per capita.

My lesson:

The Emirates are made up of cities that squander their incredible wealth on meaningless superlatives

Travel Diaries

There are many people who are enthusiastic about Dubai. I’ve already met a few people who came here to work. I never understood the fascination. My visit to Doha gave me a glimpse of life in Arab cities in the Persian Gulf and I found it appalling. Dubai was way down on my bucket list. But many times in my life I have traveled to a country with my prejudices and left it surprised and full of opposite experiences.

But not Dubai. The country is hot and there are few opportunities to do anything outside. As a Muslim country, alcohol, partying and loose clothing in public are prohibited. Bars can only be found in hotels. The country derives a large part of its wealth from oil, but squanders it on senseless projects, such as several “Palm” or “The World Islands” and of course superlatives such as the Burj Khalifa, in competition with Abu Dhabi and other emirates.



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