12 reasons we loved Dubai in 2017


Nobody could ever accuse Dubai of standing still. Along with the wider United Arab Emirates, we massively over-achieved in 2017. Here’s a wonderful smogarsboard of the best bits of the last 12 months, topped with a massive dollop of excitement for 2018.


December: A Day for Dubai

Litter Prince Hamdan

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum wants us all to spend at least a day giving something back to the country we call home.

The Crown Prince of Dubai, who’s affectionately known as Faza, made a call-out for volunteers on Instagram. “Are you ready to give back a #DayforDubai? Join me at www.dayfordubai.com to make a difference.”


November: Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi

From Paris, with Louvre: one of the most hotly anticipated gallery openings of this century. Originally conceived 10 years ago in an agreement between France and Abu Dhabi, the museum finally opened its doors on Saturday, 11th November.

To paraphrase author Bill Bryson, if you have never been, go there at once. Take my car. It’s wonderful.


October: Dubai Fitness Challenge

Photo credit: @yoga_miss_tee

Photo credit: @yoga_miss_tee

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, known for his love of extreme sports, took to Twitter to announce the launch of Dubai Fitness Challenge.

More than 1,500 free workout sessions were held around the city as Dubai vowed to manage 30 minutes of fitness, every day, then went on to break 15 world fitness records, just because.


September: Mars in the UAE


Life on Mars? The UAE will go some way to finding out when it builds a 1.9 million square-foot ‘city’ able to simulate the landscape and atmosphere of Mars, where a team will live for one year and discover how to become self-sufficient in water, food and energy in a harsh planetary environment.

Plans for the Mars Science City project were unveiled by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.


August: Smilies on the road

smilies Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road

As part of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development’s initiative to spread happiness among drivers, three giant smiling faces have been painted on the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road.

The message is ‘Drive Safely’  and it’s written in three languages – Arabic, English and Urdu. This catchy initiative also encourages road users to call 800 88889 if they spot any need for emergency maintenance.


July: Drone deliveries

Delivery drones Dubai

Dubai-based technology company Eniverse Technologies has teamed up with Skycart, a San Francisco drones business, to launch Space Autonomous Drones.

Although they are awaiting legal approval from the emirate’s government, the firm is pretty confident it will get the go-ahead to start operations between 2018-2019.


June: Marriage proposal 

proposal firefighters Dubai

Is this the first ever wedding proposal to be held at a fire station here in UAE? Not that we aren’t romantic (Valentine’s Day is HUGE, FYI), but it’s seems like it’s never happened, so everyone is really going wild.

Mr Thoughtful himself, Shelton, proposed to the lovely Nicole, on the 7th June at Dubai’s Emirates Martyrs Civil Defence Station, in the sweetest way ever.


May: Robocop


With an in-built emotion detector, and the ability to recognize human gestures and facial expressions, Robocop is now ready to engage with the residents and tourists on the city’s streets.

No joke – try taking a selfie with him, and he will respond with “Say cheese, smile for the camera!”


April: Dubai Font 

Dubai Font

In April 2017, Font Dubai became now a thing and, like the emirate, combines Arabic and Latin text.

Microsoft’s Dr. Nadine Chahine worked with global agency Monotype to simultaneously design the font in Arabic and English. Reflecting Dubai’s broad cultural mix, it is also available in 23 other languages.


March: Canal swim 

Dr. Mariam Saleh Binladen achieves another record of becoming the first ever Swimmer to cross Dubai Creek and the Dubai Water Canal (3)

Dr. Mariam Saleh Binladen has become the first ever swimmer to cross Dubai Creek and swim up the new Dubai Water Canal.

As well as cheering well-wishers lining the Canal’s banks, Dr Mariam has an inspiring cause to drive her on. In December last year, she opened a first-of-its-kind dental centre at the Al Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan. Proceeds from her record-breaking swims help give free oral care to thousands of the camp’s 55,000 residents.


February: 3D art

3D Canvas Festival street art

For the first time, international artists competed for Brand Dubai’s AED 2.3 million Dubai Canvas 3D Art Award.

All 25 finalists were invited to the third annual festival, when the public spaces of City Walk became open-air canvases in free, open-air art gallery of giant optical illusions.


January: Food bank UAE

food bank

On the anniversary of his accession, Ruler of Dubai and UAE Prime Minister His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the UAE Food Bank.

The not-for-profit organisation hopes to make Dubai the first city in the region to achieve zero food waste.

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