With a 10,000 strong community Germans are one of the biggest expat groups in Dubai. Time Out talks to German expats about life in Dubai
Time Out Dubai staff
Johannes Roos, 32
Dubai’s business industry is booming so much, it’s just incredible – especially in the oil and gas industry. Combine this with its fascinating local culture and multicultural mix of people and my life here feels so exciting. I especially appreciate the entertainment here. Whether it’s clubbing at a great place, such as Zinc at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, or doing different sports, this place always keeps my spirits up.
I came to Dubai this year on July 1 – right in the middle of summer. I work as a sales executive for a German company, Thyssen Krupp Mannex, in the steel-processing industry. Back in Germany, I used to play hockey at a very high level. There are actually some hockey tryouts and pick-up games here next week, which I’ll definitely attend. Hopefully they’ll lead to more games.
There are things I don’t enjoy here. Most people here just can’t drive a car properly; there are always fatal accidents, which is horrible. Furthermore, there are a lot of unqualified people here, in different areas of life, which can be really time-consuming. Also, I never ask someone about directions anymore, as everyone seems to have a different version of how to get to a place, instead of admitting they just don’t know how to get there. I’m starting to miss the four seasons we have in Germany; the summer here is just brutal. Nevertheless, I went golfing the other day. I’m just a complete sports-addict!
The restaurants here are amazing, although I still miss the good old traditional Alt beer from my hometown, Düsseldorf. Hofbräuhaus restaurant at the JW Marriott seems to pretend to be a German restaurant, but it’s actually Bavarian, which always had its own unique and almost separate culture within Germany.
I’m definitely not homesick, the city is way too dynamic to get depressed. But true friendship is still hard to find here. Everything in Dubai is geared towards a business contract, designed for a specific period of time. My contract lasts until 2010. After that I’m planning to go back to Germany.
Ingo Bolle, 36
Before moving over here, I used to work in Saudi Arabia, also as a landscape architect. But Dubai provides the luxury of higher pay cheques and a tax-free life, which is even better compared to the high taxes in Germany. People here also seem to be much more hospitable and open-hearted than back in my home country. It’s so inspiring to sit in a business meeting and find myself surrounded by eight different nationalities.
I get along very well with my Arabic colleagues. I have discovered, while reading the Koran in my free time, that the Christian and Muslim religions are not as far apart as I previously thought.
On the downside, freedom of opinion is not really appreciated here. Censorship unfortunately plays too significant a role in Dubai. I think that the water consumption and environmental damage caused here should be things that people worry about more than they already do. I know how excited everyone is about the fast-growing development of this city, but I’m critical of the corruption here.
In terms of leisure, I always recommend 360. I always take my girlfriend and friends there, who are 80 per cent German. I really just go to German bars such as Der Keller when I’m homesick – and that doesn’t happen often. Still, I miss my family back in Germany and usually return there every three to six months.
The art and culture scene in Dubai is so much bigger than people think. I manage a gallery in Al Quoz called Total Arts at the Courtyard. I arrived in Dubai last October and have worked there since. It’s a great opportunity to be part of Art Dubai, a huge, exciting event that’s still developing. That’s exactly what I love about Dubai: everything here inspires you to be creative, dynamic and do your share of work in order to realise the city’s ambitious long-term visions. I’ve met so many young people here. It’s not difficult at all to find friends from different cultural backgrounds. We love going out clubbing and hanging out at Barasti, playing beach volleyball or relaxing in one of the cafés at the beautiful One & Only Royal Mirage hotel.
That’s not to say it’s all wonderful. I really don’t like Dubai’s artificiality. And it’s not a very pedestrian-friendly city.
Would I want to live here forever? I don’t know what the future has in store, but at the moment I’m really happy: I love my job and spending quality time with my friends in one of the most exciting cities in the world.
For a thousand years the lands that now make up Germany were a group of principalities. While various leaders had attempted to bring them together, it wasn’t until the Duke of Lauenberg and Prime Minister of Prussia, Otto Von Bismarck, came along that someone managed the feat. After unification in 1871, Germany quickly established a reputation for industrial and scientific excellence and was even developing an empire. When the Kaiser (the German emperor) decided to back his Austro-Hungarian neighbours in an international dispute, the country was thrown into World War I, which it eventually lost.
But while defeat brought an end to the Kaiser, peace was short-lived. By the 1930s a new political party, the National Socialists, had emerged, keen to avenge the humiliation of the last war. World War II ensued and the Germans were again on the losing side. This time Germany was split in two, with the East under Soviet influence and the West under American, French and British influence. For more than 40 years the nations were separated until a largely peaceful revolution in East Germany in 1989 led to eventual unification in 1990. Germany remains one of the world’s and EU’s most powerful economies.
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Hindawi Nov 24, 2014 04:10 am
I am Canadian and speaks German. Looking for German chat group that meet-up occasionally for social activities
Khan Oct 29, 2013 09:41 am
I am also learning German language, moving to Germany has always been my biggest wish, though due to some reason i never went to learn German language or go to the country.
I would like to know how German people welcomes people from other nationalities/countries?
Also if anyone here who would like to help me in learning German language kindly let me know.
Adnan Dani Oct 10, 2012 04:29 am
its my pleasureto have a community of germens in UAE. oops actually i am not a germen but i have listen alot from my university fellows who are now in germeny about the peopel and their values in germeny specially their strong industry of diffrent manufacturing . i would love to if anybody let me know about joining a community if i can. thanks in advance . you can direct guied me at email@example.com
Jeff Sep 24, 2011 08:05 am
I'm learning German language in Dubai and I am looking for German people to talk and practice with. I have been looking for them here but I haven't met any.
Roodabeh Sep 03, 2011 01:53 pm
I'm an Iranian who's interested in having a relarelationship with German women.My husband is from Germany we live in Dubai .I'd like to hear from you.
Thanks & take care.