Let's start with a riddle. What is the common link between the Belgian pavilion, the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Dubai Tram, the Dubai Canal or the Ferrari World and Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi theme parks? All these incredible achievements have Belgian colours, as they were built by BESIX, Belgium's leading construction company!
Based in Brussels since 1909, BESIX Group settled in the Emirates in 1966, even before the creation of the federal state of the United Arab Emirates. Since then, the country has become the group's second domestic market. Or, as they say at BESIX, 'our home'. The group has been a key player in the extraordinary development of the region, first with the construction of ports and terminals, then with infrastructure, buildings, sports and leisure facilities, water and waste treatment and even electricity production!
The BESIX tour: here is the route
So, by following BESIX's achievements in the country, you will already have a good idea of what the UAE has to offer visitors. In Abu Dhabi, you will visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, an architectural and cultural masterpiece that cannot be missed. You may also want to take a trip to the Sheikh Zayed Bridge, designed by architect Zaha Hadid. One of the city's most iconic skyscrapers, the ADNOC Headquarters, is a fine example of a supertall skyscraper, over 300 metres high. A few steps away, the Emirates Palace, an extraordinary 5 star hotel can be visited. If you walk along the waterfront, the Abu Dhabi Corniche, you may find that the first version of this infrastructure was also the first BESIX contract in the region! You'll see the 163-metre Baynunah Tower, the Emirates' first skyscraper, built between 1992 and 1995. Finally, you will enjoy the Ferrari World and Warner Bros. World theme parks on Yas Island. Many of the bridges and interchanges you will use were also built by BESIX, as were each of the above-mentioned projects.
In Dubai, the situation is not much different. You take the tram. You will climb the Burj Khalifa, which at 828 metres is one of only three megatall skyscrapers in the world. Admire its neighbour, the Address Downtown, or the Emirates Tower Hotel, both over 300 metres high. Stroll along the canal and its magnificent bridges. Or the brand new Infinity Bridge in Shindagha. The Royal Atlantis Hotel & Residences and the infrastructure leading up to it on the Palm Jumeirah. Have fun at the Lego, Hub Zero and Green Planet theme parks. At the World Expo, you will have visited the Belgian and French pavilions, and you will inevitably have used the site's infrastructure. One last thing: it is even possible that your wastewater will use infrastructure or even be treated in a plant operated by BESIX!
And you can go further afield, visiting the other Emirates, as far as the port facilities of Fujairah, south of the Strait of Hormuz.
The story continues
BESIX is still present in the country today. If you want to see an exceptional construction site, we recommend passing by the DUT tower, a building that will reach 340 metres in height, currently under construction in Dubai's Uptown district. Another extraordinary construction site is the Dubai Waste-to-Energy plant, the world’s largest to be built in a single phase. It will process waste to produce 200 MW of electricity! Not only is it designed and built by BESIX, but the group is also one of the investors, participating in this 1.2 billion dollar financing, and will manage the operations and maintenance of the plant for 35 years! This is a new strategic area for the company: helping the authorities to achieve their ambitions through first-class public-private partnerships. So, the story continues. Enjoy your trip!