Floating island development to “definitely” start this year: Dutch Docklands CEO

A series of man-made floating islands in the Maldives are to begin development this year, Dutch Docklands International CEO Paul van de Camp has confirmed.

The project, which proposes the creation of five man-made islands to support leisure activities in the Maldives, will see the development of a 19-hole golf course begin by the end of 2013.

Set to combine underwater club houses, subterranean tunnels and private submarines, the course is expected to cost an estimated £320million (MVR 7.6 billion), UK media reported last year.

Speaking to Minivan News (January 15) van de Camp said more information regarding the finalised designs will be made available to the public later this year.

“We will definitely start [the development] in 2013. Our final selection of designs will be revealed in the next two to three months,” he added.

The project was first approved back in 2010 under the government of former President Mohamed Nasheed as a means to try and diversify tourism in the country.

An agreement with the former government to develop floating properties on five lagoons within Kaafu Atoll included a convention centre and an 18-hole golf course as part of a joint venture agreement.

Back in August last year, UK-based Daily Mail Newspaper reported that Dutch Docklands had unveiled designs for a floating golf course to be based “five minutes” away from Male’ by speed boat.

“The islands will also be designed for swimmers, divers and even private submarines to enter from below, and the Dutch firm designing the scheme has said visitors will be able to rent private submarines that can surface right in the middle of their living rooms,” the newspaper reported.

According to the Dutch Docklands website, the company is a shareholder in U-Boat Worx – a Dutch company that builds the “world’s most advanced” submarines.

Australian media recently reported more designs from the European developer, one of which being of a star-shaped floating convention hotel entitled “green star”.

“The Green Star will blend-in naturally with the existing surrounding islands. The green covered star-shape building symbolises Maldivians innovative route to conquer climate change,” a Dutch Docklands spokesperson told Herald Sun.

“This will become the number one location for conventions about climate change, water management and sustainability.”

Speaking to the Daily Mail last year, van de Camp said he had told the Maldives’ President “we can transform you from climate refugees to climate innovators.”

“The first part of the project to be built will be the golf course. This will be the first and only floating golf course in the world – and it comes complete with spectacular ocean views on every hole.

“And then there’s the clubhouse. You get in an elevator and go underwater to get to it. It’s like being Captain Nemo down there,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

Koen Olthuis, who is working on the project through his Netherlands-based firm, WaterStudio, told the paper that the islands would be constructed outside of the country – potentially in India or the Middle East – a decision he claimed would ensure “no environmental cost to the Maldives”.

“When it comes to the golf course, the islands will be floated into position first and then the grass will be seeded and the trees planted afterwards,” he said.

The Daily Mail added that designers were aiming for the project to be run on renewable energy technology such as solar power, while claiming the construction would be carbon neutral.

According to an Australian news site, Dutch Docklands is currently selling waterfront villas situated overwater and designed in the shape of a ‘typical’ Maldivian flower at a starting price of $950,000.