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Arts and Culture for Expats in the United Arab Emirates

Submitted: January 2014

The description of the UAE as a place where the traditional meets the modern is quite accurate and that description is even more apt in defining the arts and culture scene. The juxtaposition of the new and the old has enriched the cultural environment in the UAE, giving a rise to a diverse range of festivals from textile shows to jazz events.  

One of the most popular festivals in the UAE is the Abu Dhabi Festival which attracts some of the world’s greatest musicians, artists and performers. To learn more about this cultural extravaganza, please visit the link below:

For more information on other festivals across the UAE, see the links below:

There is a variety of national museums in the UAE which are housed in sites which themselves are culturally significant. These include the Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and the Al Ain National museums. Admission fees for museums range from free admission to approximately 5AED. It is worthwhile to look forward to the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi which is expected to be completed in 2017:

You can visit the links below to search for a museum of your choice based on your geographic location. The websites for these museums are also provided in the search results:

If you are unable to visit one of the UAE’s national museums but are interested in learning more about traditional aspects of UAE culture, please feel free to visit the Virtual Museum (Ancient Artefacts from the UAE). This is an online resource which catalogues a variety of artefacts. Please refer to the link below to access this website:

The UAE is considered one of the foremost artistic centres in the Middle East. Art lovers will undoubtedly be able to be inspired by the many galleries and art festivals that the UAE has to offer. For more information on upcoming art events in the UAE, please see the following links below:

If you are more captivated by the beauty of words, the literary world in the UAE is sure to meet your needs. Literary aficionados can partake in one of the literary festivals across the UAE. For more information on these festivals, please visit the links below:

The theatre scene in the UAE is pleasantly active. At any given moment there are offerings from children’s plays to the staple Shakespeare play. The cost of attending these productions ranges from 75AED to 700 AED. To find a production near you, please visit the websites below for more information:

Classical music fans will be delighted to learn that you can find a steady stream of performances in the UAE. For details of these events, please see the link below:

Fans of modern music are not neglected as there are often musical festivals which attract popular acts from all over the globe. The du World Music Festival
(https://www.du.ae/en/dulive/EventsDetails?event=/du_World_Music_Festival_2013) and the My Music X (https://mymusicx.com/) are some of the notable festivals in the Middle East.

The evolution of the UAE’s culture is clearly evident in its diverse architectural styles. With its towering skyscrapers to the traditional courtyard palaces, the landscape of the UAE is certainly picturesque. You can of course visit the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa (https://www.burjkhalifa.ae/en/) or take note of the traditional styles often seen in mosques. For an overview of the different architectural aspects found in the UAE, please visit the following blog below:

For tickets to some of the UAE’s most interesting cultural events, please visit the website below:



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