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His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

On November 9, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. On this historic and landmark day in 1989, the former East Germany opened the borders to the West and thousands of East Berliners streamed across the border.

Most Germans will never forget what they did and how they felt on that day. For me as a citizen of Berlin, this was truly one of the most remarkable days of my life. I witnessed the wall, which shaped the history of my city since 1961, being torn down. The fall of the Berlin Wall was the result of peaceful cooperation in Europe, building trust step by step between former enemies. It was a moment of unprecedented and overwhelming joy.

Bilateral ties

Since the foundation of the UAE in 1971, the development of our bilateral relations has been a success story. The establishment of a strategic partnership in 2004 underpinned our special relationship. Today, the UAE is not only one of our most important trading partners in the region but also an active and engaging partner in many other fields.

Since the foundation of the UAE in 1971, the development of our bilateral relations has been a success story. The establishment of a strategic partnership in 2004 underpinned our special relationship.

- Ernst Peter Fischer, the German Ambassador to the UAE

Another landmark in our bilateral relations was the visit of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Germany in June. With the joint statement being signed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed during the visit, our relations have reached a new dimension.

The statement will be the framework for our future cooperation and we’re already actively working on implementing the ambitious bilateral agenda set during the meeting. The recent announcement of Germany being the Guest of Honour at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Book Fair is a good example.

The UAE and Germany share the same vision and ambition for their societies to retain the ability to adapt to change. Both countries are working on tearing down the walls to unite people instead of separating them.

The Year of Tolerance in the UAE is a good example for understanding how to do that by celebrating the diversity of a society and respecting its members’ different cultural backgrounds. This is the spirit following the path of the historic developments on November 9, 1989, and I’m truly convinced that this spirit will foster the special bond between the countries even further.

Message from the consul general

Holger Mahnicke, Consul General of Germany in Dubai, on growing economic and cultural ties

I assumed the role of Consul General in July, coming from Washington DC where I was the minister in charge of communication and culture at the German embassy since 2016.

Expo 2020 will be a thrilling and challenging time at the consulate. I am incredibly proud that Germany will participate in this historic event with one of the largest pavilions.

- Holger Mahnicke, Consul General of Germany in Dubai

After having served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the embassy in Abu Dhabi from 1998 to 2002, my wife and I are rediscovering the UAE. It is exciting to see the enormous changes the UAE has gone through in the past 20 years. When we arrived in 1998, the Burj Al Arab was about to be completed, which soon became a symbolic icon of the UAE in Germany. Just a few days ago, my wife and I had the first chance to go up the Burj Khalifa. It was an incredible experience.

Next October, the Expo 2020 will open in Dubai. This will be a thrilling and challenging time at the consulate. I am incredibly proud that Germany will participate in this historic event with one of the largest pavilions. The UAE participated in Expo 2000 Hanover 20 years ago. It was here the UAE impressed Germany and international visitors with an exciting desert fort pavilion. The participation of the UAE at Expo 2000 Hanover and Germany’s presence at Expo 2020 Dubai symbolises a strong and amicable relationship between the two great nations.

I am looking forward to an exciting tenure in Dubai in the perspective of the 50th anniversaries of the foundation of the UAE in 2021 and the establishment of our bilateral relations in 2022.