Palm Islands

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Construction projects in Dubai as of January 2010
Coastal region near Dubai in 2003 with the still unfinished "The Palm, Jumeirah" and still without "The Palm, Jebel Ali" and The World (photo from the ISS )
Admission from the ISS in 2005

Palm Islands ( English for palm islands ; Arabic جزر النخيل, DMG Ǧuzur an-Naḫīl ) are two (originally three) artificial island groups ("The Palm, Jebel Ali" and "The Palm, Jumeirah") that have been built in Dubai , United Arab Emirates since 2001 . So far only "The Palm, Jumeirah" has been built on and is navigable, at "The Palm, Jebel Ali" only the reclamation has been completed and the originally planned third island group "The Palm, Deira" was discontinued during the reclamation and transformed into a smaller island group ( Deira Islands ).

Each of the two island groups was laid out in the shape of a palm tree . The “palm trunk” in the “Jebel Ali” and “Jumeirah” projects is 5 and 4 km long, respectively. These projects are possible because the Persian Gulf is a shelf or epicontinental sea with a comparatively low average water depth. The islands consist of at least around 100 million cubic meters of rock and sea sand compacted by a special vibration process. “The Palm, Jumeirah” alone extends the coastline of Dubai by around 100 km.

Both Palm Islands are owned by Nakheel , the state-owned development and construction company. The founder of Kabul Bank , sherkhan farnood , invested about 160 million dollars in 35 luxury villas on the islands.

Palm Jumeirah

Oblique aerial view of the Jumeirah district with the Palm Islands

Location, shape and size of the islands

"The Palm, Jumeirah" Coordinates: 25 ° 7 '10 "  N , 55 ° 7' 57"  E , the first and now densely built-up group of islands started in 2001, is located off the coast of the Dubai district of Jumeirah between the port of Jebel Ali and the center of Dubai. Palm Jumeirah is 560 hectares and consists of three sections: the "trunk" ("The Trunk"), the "palm fronds" ("The Fronds") and the surrounding "sickle moon" ("The Crescent") to protect against storm surges . The approximately 4 km long and 600 meters wide "trunk" and the 16 "palm fronds" are connected to one another and together form an island. The foot point of the palm tree in the southeast is connected to the mainland via a 300 m long bridge. To the left and right of the trunk are the two Logo Islands .

At the north-western end, the palm-shaped main island is connected to the almost 12 km long outer ring via an 800 m long submarine tunnel. On the outer ring is the almost 50 hectare resort and entertainment complex Atlantis, The Palm and other resorts. The visitors can u. a. with the Dubai Monorail, which has been in operation since 2009 . T. arrive.

Technical and structural implementation

In total, an estimated 200 million cubic meters of sand and stones were required for the backfill. The earthworks were carried out by the Dutch companies Royal Boskalis Westminster and Van Oord . Special nutrients are supposed to stimulate growth under water in order to attract rare fish, to compensate for the ecological damage and to make diving more attractive.

Various problems complicated and delayed the completion of the palm-shaped island. The heaped sand had to be vibrated with huge machines so that it solidifies and does not give way later, a process copied from nature that would otherwise take decades. It also turned out that the water circulation within a closed breakwater ring with insufficient exchange did not work, which resulted in the formation of undesirable algae and polluted the water. The problem was solved by two new gaps in the breakwater that were attached and bridged.

Development and marketing

On Palm Jumeirah, several thousand villas and holiday homes were built on the narrow fronds, several apartment blocks and around 30 larger hotels were built on the wider trunk. The properties on Palm Jumeirah differ thematically and architecturally; villas in several international styles are available for purchase.

The rough construction of the island is estimated to cost 1.5 billion US dollars. The total costs including all traffic and building structures can only be roughly estimated at around 10 billion US dollars. In December 2006, the first apartments in the “Stammes” area were ready for occupancy; In November 2008, the island's official opening ceremony was celebrated, which alone cost US $ 20 million.

Palm Jebel Ali

Construction of the road to the palm island of Jebel Ali (July 2009)

"The Palm, Jebel Ali" is located about 5 km southwest of the port of Jebel Ali.

Construction of the Palm Jebel Ali began in October 2002, and land reclamation was completed in early 2008. According to current plans, the island and planned city of Dubai Waterfront will later adjoin the island in the west , so that Palm Jebel Ali will be the integrated eastern end of Dubai Waterfront.

Due to the financial difficulties of the construction company Nakheel, construction work on Palm Jebel Ali was stopped in 2009, although all villas had been sold. However, the planning will continue in the long term. Palm Jebel Ali will provide living space for 250,000 people after completion.

More artificial islands in Dubai

Photo montage for the originally planned redesign of the coast off Dubai, from left: "Palm Jumeirah", "The Universe", "The World" and "Palm Deira"

Criticism, problems

Both environmentalists and investors criticize the lack of water circulation in the area of ​​the islands. Problems arose after the establishment of the first palm tree (Palm Jumeirah) due to the lack of water circulation between the heaped “palm fronds” and the changed water circulation along the now cut coastline. Supported by the high temperatures in this region, algae formed with cloudy water. Attempts were then made to combat this with additional drainage, which was only partially successful. In addition, the circle around the palm tree , thought to be a breakwater, was interrupted on both sides in order to improve the exchange of water through the tides .

Critics also expect traffic problems as soon as the palm islands are fully populated; 50,000 to 60,000 people will crowd the 560 hectares of Palm Jumeirah when all facilities are fully utilized. That would almost correspond to the burden on inner-city quarters. The approach and departure is via the trunk of the palm tree, which could lead to extensive traffic jams in the morning and evening traffic due to the confluence with Sheikh Zayed Road .

Further criticism relates to the poor urbanity and the scarce public space of the Palm Jumeirah. To many viewers, the serial development on the trunk, with apartment houses that always look the same, appears to be too monotonous and the brief views of the coast to be insufficient. The towering development is concentrated too much on the use of the site and there is no visual appeal. On the individual palm leaves, too, the private land use has been exhausted to the extreme, and publicly accessible points on the streets, which are mostly separated by barriers, are not provided.


  • Gerhard Martin Burs: Media Presentation in Contemporary Architecture: The Example of the United Arab Emirates. Transcript, Bielefeld 2016, ISBN 978-3-8376-3343-6 , pp. 315-345.

Web links

Commons : Palm Islands  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Nakheel to restart scaled-back Palm Deira. ( Memento of the original from October 27, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: Gulf News , October 8, 2013 (English) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. a b c “Palm” opening in Dubai - mega-show for the super-rich. In: Spiegel Online of November 21, 2008
  3. Luis Imbert: The robber bank of Kabul. In: the daily newspaper. November 13, 2011, Retrieved November 15, 2011 (copied from Le Monde diplomatique ).
  4. Location of the three Palm Islands, drawing of the future design ( memento of the original dated November 1, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. Wolfgang Goede: The Palm Island of Dubai - The eighth wonder of the world ( Memento from April 15, 2003 in the Internet Archive ) . In: PM magazine , April 2003.
  6. Aarti Nagraj: Exclusive: Palm Jebel Ali Will Not Be Canceled - Nakheel Chairman. In: Gulf Business , March 16, 2015 (English).
  7. Robert Ditcham: Palm Jebel Ali emerges from the ocean floor. In: Gulf News , November 4, 2006.
  8. Dubai - artificial island ready to move into . In: FOCUS online, October 20, 2006
  9. Palm before a storm? In:, August 18, 2005