Dutch Docklands signs agreement to run floating city project based on integrated tourism model

Tourism Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Fathimath Nilfa (R) and Dutch Docklands’ CEO Paul Van de Camp (L) sign floating city project agreement on June 23, 2022. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Hayyan)

Dutch Docklands has signed a new agreement pertaining to the floating city the company is developing in Male’ Atoll.

The agreement was signed by Tourism Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Fathimath Nilfa and Dutch Docklands’ CEO Paul Van de Camp on Thursday evening.

The signing was witnessed by Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, who said the agreement was to change the project to an integrated tourism model.

Mausoom said a USD 1 million transfer fee will be taken by the government to change the model of the project.

He said the government made the decision to preserve Maldives’ one island one resort concept.

Van de Camp said the company had been trying to make the switch to an integrated tourism model for some time, and was pleased to be able to get it done.

“We are very pleased. Construction will begin soon. That’s what’s most important,” he said.

A rendering of Maldives Floating City being developed by Dutch Docklands. (Photo/Maldives Floating City)

The agreement comes a day after Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail and Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed – both leaders of the ruling MDP – exchanged words over the project.

Nasheed wrote on a MDP national council Whatsapp group on Wednesday that the project was deliberately derailed because his name was associated with the project.

“I plan on telling Dutch Docklands how this is going, and to advise them it cannot be done in Maldives, wrote Nasheed.

He alleged that the Economic Council had voted against the project.

Fayyaz responded by calling the project “a huge scam”. He said that Dutch Docklands had sold three out of five lagoons issued to the company for the project.

“Even now, they are working on reclaiming six more lagoons and selling it,” he wrote.

Fayyaz said the lagoons were issued to Dutch Docklands for free.

He also said the law did not allow for social housing to be built as part of such a project.

“Running a social housing project in the lagoon of a resort is a huge blunder. And anyhow, it cannot be done without legislative amendments,” he wrote.

Renders of Maldives Floating City. (Photo/Dutch Docklands)

Dutch Docklands had contracted Bison Maldives to construct the first homes under the project back in February, nearly one year after it was awarded the project.

Bison Maldives said at the time that the first homes would be ready by the end Ramadan.

According to Dutch Docklands, Maldives Floating City would be developed as a new floating development of 5,000 homes built in a lagoon a ten-minute speedboat ride away from Male’ City.

The lagoon in question is the number 7 lagoon, located to the west of Aarah.

The initial agreement to utilize floating islands technology to build resorts in Maldives was signed back in 2010 during Nasheed’s administration. Back then, the company was issued lagoons number 9, 19, 17, and 37 for the project.

News of the project resurfaced in international media in 2015, before eventually dying down.

The future of the project remained uncertain until the current administration signed a second agreement with Dutch Docklands in 2019 - to build a floating city near the Maldivian capital.

The project was officially launched in March 2021.