1972-2022: Germany’s relations with Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates

pupils presenting scientific results

Pupils of the German School Dubai at a science project, © Deutsche Schule Dubai

16.05.2022 - Article

When the Federal Republic of Germany established diplomatic relations with the three Gulf states 50 years ago, the world was facing its first oil price crisis. Today Germany is cooperating with the Gulf states on the energy transition. What else is on their common agenda?

female students working on a scientific project
Students of the GU Tech© GU Tech

Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates are innovative partners for Germany, especially on the path towards a fossil-free future, and bilateral relations cover a broad range of issues. The human rights situation is always part of the dialogue when it comes to cooperating with the Gulf states.

Teaming up on energy and climate issues

Germany and the United Arab Emirates entered into an energy partnership in 2017. This partnership supports projects that promote a climate-friendly energy supply. For example, Siemens Energy, in cooperation with local partners, set up the first green hydrogen production plant in the MENA region near Dubai in May 2021. In the pilot plant, green hydrogen is produced from solar energy generated locally using an electrolysis process. An energy dialogue was initiated with Oman that focuses on renewable energies, energy efficiency and green hydrogen.

student working on a project
A student of the GU Tech© GU Tech

Cultural exchange between Germany and the Gulf region

With three German schools abroad in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates has the world’s highest density of German schools abroad. The German International School Sharjah was founded in 1976 as the first of the three schools in the country with considerable support from the ruler of Sharjah at the time, Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi. A number of its UAE graduates are studying in Germany today.

In Manama, young German musicians – from Berlin’s rock duo Treptow to the creative Arcis Saxophon Quartett – wow large audiences at Bahraini cultural festivals. With the support of the Goethe-Institut, the Gulf German Film Festival 2021 brought German films to cinemas in the region.

In Oman, over 2400 students are enrolled at the German University of Technology. As a university supported by Oman, GUTech follows the curricula of its partner university the Rhenish-Westphalian Technical University (RWTH) Aachen. Many of its students come to Germany for an internship or semester abroad.

two men shaking hands, people with balloons in the back
Opening ceremony of the German School Dubai© Deutsche Schule Dubai

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in Berlin together with Israel

Both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020. This development shows that understanding and peaceful coexistence between countries in the Middle East are possible. The first meeting of the then Israeli Foreign Minister with his UAE counterpart took place in Berlin with the support of Germany. A trilateral exchange project is planned for this year, in which young adults from Bahrain, Israel and Germany will develop ideas for future cooperation between their three countries in a workshop.


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