The relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the Federal Republic of Germany have traditionally been close and friendly since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1972.
The visit of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik to Germany coincides with the 50th year of this relationship which is based on strong political, diplomatic, economic, and cultural fields and characterised by mutual respect.
According to a statement from the Diwan of Royal Court, “the visit of His Majesty comes within the context of the good relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the Federal Republic of Germany and for further enhancement in the fields of cooperation of common concern”.
This, adds the statement, “is aimed at achieving the aspirations of the two countries and for review of current issues of common concern in the regional and international arena”.
Oman and Germany share a common vision of a rules-based international order, seeking peace and understanding between peoples and nations.
“Germany and Oman are reliable partners – bilaterally and on international fora”, wrote Thomas F Schneider, German Ambassador to Oman in a report published recently by the Observer.
The first German Embassy in Muscat was opened in 1976. German Federal Presidents Richard von Weizsäcker and Christian Wulff visited Oman in 1993 and 2011, as well as Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in 2005.
In 2017, the diplomatic staff moved to a new and larger embassy in Al Khuwair, designed by a team of Omani and German architects – a visible investment into the future of Omani-German relations.
A celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the Federal Republic of Germany was held at the Foreign Ministry in May last.
During the ceremony, a memorial logo was launched, symbolising the depth and strength of relations between the two friendly countries.
Bilateral and people-to-people contacts have been regular through economic, tourist and healthcare visits and exchange programmes.
Since the 1960s, German companies in Oman have successfully contributed to building a robust infrastructure in Oman. Germany is one of Oman’s key economic partners in the non-oil sector.
In 2020, Oman reported to have imported German goods worth RO 300 million while exports from Oman to Germany have been about RO 14 million.
Germany has also been closely working together on renewable energies and hydrogen, jointly shaping the energy market of the future. Not only renowned German carmakers but also global players such as Siemens, DBSchenker or DHL, as well as numerous small and medium businesses are well positioned in the Omani market, jointly with their Omani partners.
Beyond the trade and political ties, Oman and Germany have been steadfast partners for many years in the area of culture and education. Both countries focus on cooperation in science and technology, particularly in higher education where many cooperation schemes are in place.
The German-Omani Association, which was founded in 1992, seeks to develop friendly relations between the two countries and promote cooperation in culture, business, science, academia and sports. On the Omani side, the Omani-German-Friendship Association is active primarily in the business sector.
Since 2007, the German University of Technology (GUTech) in Halban, in close cooperation with RWTH Aachen University in Germany, has become the flagship of bilateral cooperation in higher education.
In 2014, Germany and Oman signed a declaration of intent on cooperation in culture, education, science and research.
On June 30, 2022, GUtech and TÜV SÜD Middle East LLC signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on knowledge sharing along with developing and delivering sustainability solutions through training, advisory and certification in collaboration with the Technology Transfer Office and Oman Hydrogen Centre units in GUtech to support achieving the net-zero goal and hydrogen economy in Oman.
At the Goethe-Institut Muscat, the German Language Centre in Oman one can take German classes of all levels and appear for exams. The German language is also taught at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman Tourism College, Nizwa University and also at several Omani public schools.
The focus on the German tourism market in the Omani tourism sector is growing increasingly. Frankfurt and Munich are two of the favourite destinations among Omani tourists. German tourists who look for authenticity of the region, Oman is the destination because of its true oriental and Arab culture.
According to Oman National Centre for Statistics and Information, 23,289 visitors from Germany arrived in Oman till the end of May this year.
“Of course, every year, a shared love for spectacular nature, fascinating history, and rich cultural heritage draws German tourists to Oman and Omani tourists to Germany in great numbers”, the German Ambassador wrote in his report.
The world has changed over the last 50 years, so have Germany and Oman. However, German-Omani friendship has proven to be solid and lasting. May this friendship persist and grow over the next 50 years, he added.