The Maldives or Maldives is an island state in South Asia, located on an archipelago in the equatorial Indian Ocean. The Republic of Maldives is located on more than 1000 atoll islands, located about 700 km southwest of Sri Lanka.



The Maldives is divided into 26 atolls stretching across the Indian Ocean. Each atoll consists of several islands, some of which are inhabited and others used for tourist purposes. Here are some of the most famous regions and atolls in the Maldives:

1 Lhaviyani Atoll. This atoll is known for its stunning beaches and selection of luxury resorts.
2 Baa Atoll. Baa Atoll has been recognized by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve and is known for its biodiversity and coral reefs. Here you will also find some of the most luxurious resorts in the Maldives.
3 Male Atoll. This is the most densely populated atoll and includes the capital, Malé, as well as many other inhabited islands. Here you will find government buildings, shops and cultural attractions.
4 Ari Atoll. Ari Atoll is a popular diving and snorkeling destination and is home to many dive resorts. It is known for its underwater world.
5 Alifu Atoll. (also called Ari Atoll South and North Nilandhe Atoll): This atoll is known for its natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere.
6 Kaafu Atoll. (also Malé Atoll North): This atoll includes Malé and the surrounding islands and is the economic and political center of the Maldives.
7 Dhaalu Atoll). This atoll offers a mix of luxury resorts and local culture.
8 Thaa Atoll. This atoll is a popular destination for divers and snorkelers.
9 Addu Atoll. This atoll is located in the southernmost part of the Maldives and is home to the town of Addu City. It is known for its history and historical sites.


Choosing the right island

Which island is the best choice for a Maldives vacation depends primarily on the accommodation requirements and the planned activities. From a luxury resort with an extensive range of sports and wellness options to a natural beach bungalow with a sandy floor, all options are available. In addition, many hotels have focused on specific target groups, for example on diving resorts or romantic hotels with honeymoon suites. The different types of islands can serve as a guide when planning your vacation activities. In addition to a close examination of the travel brochure, a look at Google Earth can also help to better recognize reefs and beaches.

Crescent-shaped islands These islands are ideal for beach and bathing fans as they are located in the low-current interior of the atolls. The house reef usually only poses an obstacle on one side and the relatively large lagoons with their soft sandy bottom are perfect for swimming and water sports such as windsurfing.
Circular islands are paradises for divers and snorkelers. The round islands are largely protected from currents by the atolls. Since the house reefs are close to the islands, they can be quickly reached by snorkelers and divers. Due to the diversity of marine fauna and the safety of the waters, circular islands are ideal for the first attempts at diving.
Islands with sandbanks Fine sand and good diving spots. The elongated island type is located on the edges of the atolls. A reef stretches towards the open sea, while on the other side there is a sandbank. This is a good place to sunbathe in the fine sand. The current channels rich in fish are interesting for divers.



The Maldives is not known for traditional cities. Instead, they are known for their resorts and settlements on various islands. The capital and largest city of the Maldives is Malé, located on the island of Malé.
1 Malé. The capital of the Maldives, Malé, is the most populous city and the political and economic center of the country. Here you will find government buildings, shops, markets, mosques and cultural attractions.

Larger towns are:
2 hithadhoo is part of Addu Town in the Maldives and offers a relaxed atmosphere. Visitors can experience local culture, explore historical sites such as Koagannu and Hithadhoo Zone, and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding area.
3 Kulhudhuffushi (‏Kuldhudhuffushi (‏Kuhlhudhuffushi) . Kulhudhuffushi is one of the largest islands in the Maldives. There are local markets here that allow visitors to experience the everyday life of the locals. The island also offers beaches and snorkeling opportunities.
4 Thinadhoo (‏äume) . known for its calm atmosphere and beautiful beaches. Visitors can relax, snorkel, enjoy local cuisine and explore the idyllic surroundings.


How to get there

Entry requirements
The Maldives allows citizens of all nations a 30-day tourist stay. Proof of accommodation must be provided at the airport upon entry. A booked return trip and proof of sufficient funds of US$100 +50 per day may be required. The monthly arrival numbers are well over 100,000.

The entry card, which has to be filled out by hand, has been replaced by the “Traveller Declaration” which has to be filled out online in the 96 hours before arrival. A scan of the passport data page and a photo must be uploaded. You will receive a QR code to show.

Customs regulations
Free quantities: 200 cigarettes or 250 g of tobacco or 50 cigars.

Live pigs, alcohol, pornography and “religious material that contradicts Islam” are not allowed to be imported. The latter includes Bibles, figures of the Virgin Mary, etc. Luggage is examined upon arrival.

Most tourists come by plane. The international Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (IATA: MLE) covers the entire island of Hulule. There are direct flights from numerous European cities. It takes about 9½ hours from Frankfurt. Behind the airport there is an island that was artificially built up in 1997 with several accommodations and the Airport Beach.

Since summer 2018, the airport island of Hulhulé has been connected to Malé and Hulhumalé via the Sinamalé Bridge. Since then, it has been possible to avoid using the small ferries to the main island, which are overpriced for tourists.

For long-term travelers in Asia, the most sensible way to arrive is from Colombo or from Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) in southern India with Spice Air or Sri Lankan (in both cases September 2017 approx. US$ 100). It should be noted that return or onward flight tickets may be required when entering the Maldives.

An onward journey from Malé to the respective holiday island is possible by seaplane or speedboat. Better resorts arrange transfers. Maldivian offers connections to Gan in the Addu Atoll several times a day with propeller planes, the flight time is seventy minutes. Other domestic destinations include Hanimaadhoo, Kaadedhdhoo and Kadhdhoo. Villa Air Fly me started with a connection to Maamigili in South Ari Atoll. You don't fly to Gan anymore.

Sri Lanka's ferries were discontinued years ago.


Local Transport

On foot. There is no public transport on the islands, apart from three bus routes on the main island. Taxis run regardless of the route at a standard price of Rs. 20 (surcharge after midnight).

You can take a ferry to other islands in the Malé Atoll from the Ferry Jetties on the north shore of the island. Please note that Dhonis depart at certain times or when full, then the general price applies (“Dont't pay the ferryman, until he gets you to the other side”). In the Dhonis, "special trips" are often organized without asking a foreigner who gets into an empty boat, and at the end "charter prices" are charged for a full boat. The Vilingili Ferry Terminal also serves other routes. Right next to it is the tsunami memorial.



The official language of the Maldives is Dhivehi, also known as Maldivian. The Maldivian population also commonly speaks English, particularly in tourist areas, as English is a major foreign language in the Maldives. The resorts and hotels often also have staff who speak other languages such as German or French to meet the needs of international guests.



The Maldives are famous for their stunning beaches, crystal clear waters and impressive marine life. Most tourists come here to escape the winter and relax by the sea. However, it should be noted that the Maldives is a Muslim country and there are certain rules of behavior and dress code that must be followed. Getting drunk on alcohol at the pool is not welcomed. Topless and nudism are not options.

Snorkeling: The Maldives offers some of the best snorkeling in the world. With basic snorkeling equipment you can explore the colorful coral reefs and fascinating marine life.
Diving: Diving is one of the main attractions in the Maldives. There are numerous diving schools and dive sites for beginners and experienced divers, including famous dive sites such as Fish Head and Maaya Thila.
Water Sports: The Maldives is a paradise for water sports such as windsurfing, kite surfing, water skiing, wakeboarding and jet skiing. Many resorts offer water sports equipment and training.
Boat tours: Boat trips are interesting to explore the Maldives from the surface of the water. You can watch dolphins, take romantic sunset cruises or go island hopping.
Wellness and Spa: Many resorts in the Maldives offer first-class wellness and spa facilities in idyllic surroundings.
Fishing: The Maldives is a popular destination for anglers. You can enjoy deep sea fishing, night fishing and other fishing activities.
Beach Activities: The beaches in the Maldives are often deserted and offer plenty of space to relax.
Cultural Tours: One can visit local villages and learn more about the culture and life of the locals. Some resorts offer cultural tours and cultural performances.
Island hopping: The Maldives consists of many islands and it is worth exploring different islands to experience the diversity of the Maldives.



The currency is the Rufiyah. A return is not possible. Dollar cash is also accepted in the tourist resorts; menus are often only priced in these. Payment is usually made by credit card the evening before departure. The euro is now also accepted in some shops.

Opening times
Often interrupted for 15-30 minutes during prayer times.
Banks: 8.30 a.m. - 1.30 p.m., Sun.-Thurs. Exchange rate: US$ 1 = Rs. 15.3, € 18.3 (July 2021, stable for years). ATMs are only numerous on the main island.
Authorities: 7.30 a.m. - 2.30 p.m., Sun.-Thurs.
Shops: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sun.-Thurs.
Restaurants are closed at noon on Friday. (There are also restrictions in Ramadan).

There is a ban on alcohol outside the resorts. Bar prices on these islands can be high, with US$5 for a small beer or US$130 for a bottle of vodka not uncommon. In principle you can buy anything on Malé itself; on the larger tourist islands there are usually electronics retailers and jewelers as well as the obligatory souvenir shops. You will rarely find bargains as practically all goods are imported.

There is a tendency to charge tourists fancy prices but, unlike in India, not to allow them to bargain. Prices of US$10 for a 1½ liter water bottle occur. Be particularly careful with jewelry and souvenirs made of coral or animal materials: It is strongly recommended that you find out in detail about the import regulations of your home country or any transit countries beforehand, as they apply to the export of corals and shells from the Maldives or to imports into other countries There are some restrictions due to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Endangered Species. Violations could result in heavy fines or even imprisonment.



Since the Maldives is Muslim, alcohol is prohibited for the local population. However, almost all resorts and liveaboards have a license to serve alcohol, usually with a hefty surcharge. The tap water in the resorts may or may not be drinkable. Bottled water has an extortionate price, typically around $5/bottle. It may make sense to book an all-inclusive package to keep additional costs plannable!

The cuisine in the Maldives is Asian-style. Fish and rice can often be expected on the menu. The food is prepared quite hygienically in the hotels. There are also some specialties in the Maldives... Let yourself be surprised...

Coffee drinkers have to make do with the Indian version of instant coffee from a well-known Swiss company; there is no coffee beans.

Kandu Kukulhu, also known as tuna curry, is a traditional Maldivian dish and literally translates to “chicken of the sea”. Tuna fillets are rolled with curry paste, tied with a strip of coconut leaf and cooked in coconut milk. The curry is usually prepared overnight. It is then served with rice or roshi (flatbread).
Mas huni is a typical Maldivian breakfast consisting of tuna, onion, coconut and chili. All ingredients are finely chopped and mixed with the grated coconut flesh. This dish is usually eaten with freshly baked roshi flatbread and sweetened hot tea.
Roshi: This is a thin, crispy pan bread that is often served with various meals.
Fish Curry: Fish is a mainstay of Maldivian cuisine, and fish curries are very popular. The fish is usually served with spices, coconut milk and rice.
Garudhiya: A clear fish soup usually served with rice. It can be seasoned with lime juice and chili.
Hedhikaa: These are deep-fried snacks and appetizers including fish balls, samosas and dumplings, often served with chili sauce.
Bis Keemiya: These are fried dumplings prepared with various fillings such as tuna, potatoes or vegetables.
Desserts: Coconut and sweet flavors are present in many desserts. A popular dessert is "Boshi Mashuni," a mixture of grated coconut meat and sugar.
Kulhi Boakibaa: A pastry made from dried fish, rice, coconut and spices.
Tropical Fruits: The Maldives offers a variety of exotic fruits such as papaya, bananas, pineapple, mango and starfruit, which can be enjoyed fresh or in smoothies.



Apart from the bars on the tourist islands, none.



You will rarely get a room in a guest house for less than US$40. Ordinary meals cost US$8-15.

It will usually be cheaper to book a package deal in Europe than to contact a resort directly. It should be noted that you are tied to one island; trips to other tourist islands require the permission of the manager there. Such boat trips cost (excluding everything) US$25-125.

The accommodation on the islands in the Maldives is very luxurious and quite beautiful. However, the price here is quite high, so a trip can be very expensive.

in Male
The main island is almost the only one where foreigners are allowed to stay without a special permit, and there is a certain selection of accommodation there.


Public holidays

Holidays with fixed dates are Jan. 1: New Year, May 1: Labor Day, July 26: Independence Day, Nov. 3: “Victory Day,” Nov. 11: “Republic Day.” “ and November 19th: national holiday.

There are also the Muslim holidays calculated according to the moon: the beginning (March 10, 2024) and end (April 9, 2024) of Ramadan, breaking the fast (April 10, 2024), the Feast of Sacrifice (June 16, 2024), the Prophet's birthday (June 16, 2024). September 2024), Islamic New Year (July 8, 2024) and the day of acceptance of the Koran faith in the Maldives.



Although there have been repeated protests and unrest in the recent past, particularly in the capital Malé, the Maldives are generally considered very safe for tourists, especially since tourism is one of the Maldives' main sources of income. Despite the fact that Islam is the state religion in the Maldives, Western standards regarding tolerance, human rights and religious freedom apply on the islands with hotel complexes. However, especially in the capital Malé or other local islands, you should avoid wearing provocative clothing (such as bikinis) or displaying any kind of provocative behavior towards the Islamic religion, otherwise this will cause significant problems can lead.

Practicing Christianity in public is forbidden! It is also advisable not to talk to the locals about religion or Christianity, as this could possibly be interpreted as Christian proselytizing, which is strictly forbidden in the Maldives. Non-Muslims are prohibited from entering mosques; they are tolerated in the main mosque outside of prayer times.



Vaccination recommendations for the Maldives can be found on It is advisable to take a look up before spreading the towel in the shade of coconut trees. Falling fruit can be dangerous.

Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Kan'baa aisaarani hingun. Tel: +960 333 5211.


Climate and travel time

Due to their location in the mostly calm Indian Ocean, the Maldives have a very consistently hot, tropical climate. Temperatures rarely fall below 25 degrees Celsius, even at night.

The weather is characterized by two monsoons: the southwest monsoon from May to October and the northeast monsoon from November to April. This is the most favorable time for surfers. The southwest monsoon usually brings wind and more intense rainfall in June and July. The months from November to April are considered the best time to travel; the high season is around Christmas. Divers have the best visibility from January to April.


Rules and respect

Photography is prohibited at the presidential palace and military facilities.


Clothing at the resort

The dress code at Maldives resorts is generally very relaxed and casual. One can dress lightly and casually as most resorts offer a casual atmosphere. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Swimwear: It is completely acceptable at the resorts to wear swimwear while at the beach, pool or in the water. Bikinis, swim trunks and swimsuits are the normal choice. However, one should wear appropriate clothing when in restaurants, bars or other public areas. “Topless” and nudism are strictly forbidden everywhere in the Maldives! Failure to comply can result in heavy fines and even expulsion from the country.
Casual Beachwear: Light, loose clothing, such as sundresses, shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops, are fine during the day when out of the water.
Evening Attire: Many resorts have restaurants of varying levels and atmospheres. Some are more informal while others offer a more formal setting. When dining at upscale restaurants, consider wearing dressier clothing, such as long pants and shirts for men and elegant summer dresses or blouses for women. There are also special theme nights at some properties where special clothing is required.
Respect the culture: Although the resorts have a relaxed dress code, it is important to respect the local culture and religious practices. This means that you should not walk around half-naked or in swimwear outside of the beach area. When visiting local islands, you should dress appropriately, covering shoulders and knees to accommodate local customs.
Dress codes may vary from resort to resort. Therefore, it is advisable to check and follow the policies of your chosen resort. Overall, however, the Maldives are known for their relaxed atmosphere and greater freedom in clothing choices.


Practical tips


The Maldivian postal service works reliably. There is a post office in the airport. Stamps and postcards are sold on the tourist counter and delivery is also taken care of.

1 Main Post Office, 26 Boduthakurufaanu Magu. Open: Sun.-Thurs. 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
2 ret. Tel.: (0)72511088833. Open: Sun.-Thurs. 8 a.m.-3 p.m.



Most resorts charge high fees for internet use. It's nowhere too fast. In 2023, 20 MBit/s for downloads and 5 MBit/s for uploads will be the highest. However, many guesthouses on the main island offer free Wi-Fi.

It can make sense to buy one of the “tourist packs” for mobile internet at the airport (only available there). In 2023, the offer includes 17GB for $35 and 30GB for $50. The additional SIM card is available for 60 calls. (approx. US$3.50).



The Maldives has two mobile phone providers Dhiraagu and ooredoo, whose prepaid credit is valid for 60 days. Both providers have a 4G LTE network (as of 2018). Due to the difficult geographical conditions of the Maldives with over 1000 islands, unfortunately no precise statement can be made about the network coverage, but one can assume that both the capital Malé and All islands with tourist hotels are supplied by the mobile phone providers.

Furthermore, it is generally possible to make calls via the landline network and to transmit fax messages in the individual hotels. If you want or need to be permanently reachable by cell phone, it may be advisable to use a satellite phone (e.g.: Iridium or Thuraya); in this case, too, the costs should be determined beforehand, as mobile satellite telecommunications is generally relatively expensive .


Country name

In the official language of Dhivehi, the name Dhivehi Raajje, which means “Kingdom of the Dhivehi” or “Land of the Dhivehi”, has been used for centuries. The current state name therefore means something like “Republic of the Land of the Dhivehi”.

The name “Maldives” was introduced in the 18th century by the Dutch, who called the islands Maldivische Eilanden. It is probably a takeover of the Arabic al-Mahaldibiyat or Dhibat al-Mahal. Mahal was the name of Malé at the time, literally speaking of the “Islands of Malé”.



To date, only contradictory information can be found in the scientific literature about the first settlement of the Maldives. One theory suggests that the settlement of the Maldives began in the 5th century BC. When Buddhist fishermen from India and the island of Ceylon settled on the islands. According to archaeological research by Thor Heyerdahl in 1985, in addition to Buddhist temples, there are also references to Hindu beliefs and sun worship cults. Heyerdahl believed that these religions existed in parallel for a period of time.

According to legend, the Maldives were converted to Islam in 1153 by an Arab traveler. The Maldives was ruled by both sultans and a variety of sultanas. The most famous of them was Sultan Khadeeja Rehendi Kabaidhi Kilege, who ruled the country for 35 years in the 14th century. Today women still play a major role in public life in the Maldives. Half of the students, many business people, civil servants and ministers are women. However, the matriarchal influence is nowhere near as pronounced as among the Muslim Minangkabau on Sumatra.

In 1558 the Portuguese occupied the islands, but they were driven out again in a guerrilla war that lasted eight years by Muhammad Thakurufaan in 1573. It was only in the 17th century that a European country succeeded in subjugating the islands: the Netherlands turned the Maldivian Sultanate into a protectorate after they had also occupied Ceylon. When the Netherlands lost Ceylon to the British in 1796, the Maldives also came under British influence, so that they were a British protectorate from 1887 to 1965. Under the colonial administration, active and passive women's suffrage was granted in 1932.

In 1932, the Maldives received its first constitution from Sultan Mohammed Shamsudeen III.

In 1942, the United Kingdom built a military airfield on Gan Island, which was only vacated by the Royal Air Force in the late 1970s. The republic was proclaimed in 1953. A relative of the Sultan then took over the presidency. After a referendum, the Sultanate was reintroduced and Mohammed Farid Didi became Sultan again. Three years later, in 1956, the Maldives received internal autonomy, but the British built additional military airfields. In 1963 Great Britain gave up the islands, but retained the right to use the military airfields. The Maldives joined the Colombo Plan and became independent two years later.

At independence in 1965, women's active and passive suffrage was confirmed.

With a constitutional change in 1968, the Sultanate was converted into a republic and the Didi's rule of over 250 years ended. Ibrahim Nasir became head of state and government. A year later, the republic was proclaimed under the name Maldives.

In 1972, the offices of head of state and head of government were separated. In the same year, the country opened up - slowly at first - to tourism. Three years later, the office of head of government was abolished and taken over by the president. In 1976 the British finally left the country because the 30-year period of use of the military airfields had expired. In 1982, the Maldives joined the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1989, an international conference was held in the capital Malé on the threat to the islands from rising sea levels.

From 1978 to 2008, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom ruled the country with an authoritarian hand. Freedom of expression, freedom of the press and civil rights were severely restricted, which met with international criticism. In September 2003, mass demonstrations broke out after three prisoners died in prison under unclear circumstances. President Gayoom promised reforms, the legal system should be changed and the powers of parliament should be expanded. On September 25, 2003, parliament unanimously elected him as the presidential candidate, and two months later he was elected to office for the sixth time with 90.3% of the vote.

In mid-August 2004, a state of emergency was declared in the Maldives. According to opposition figures, hundreds of people were jailed after demonstrations against the president's regime. On December 26, 2004, numerous settlements and tourist resorts on the islands were severely damaged or destroyed by a tidal wave caused by the Indian Ocean earthquake. Unlike the flat coasts of Sri Lanka, Indonesia or India, where tsunamis have greater destructive power, most atolls were spared major devastation.

In the first democratic multi-party election in 2008, Mohamed Nasheed was elected as the new president. He resigned from office in 2012 following public protests and a police mutiny. The official duties were then continued on an interim basis by Nasheed's Vice President Mohammed Waheed Hassan until 2013. In the 2013 presidential election, Abdulla Yameen, a younger half-brother of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was elected as the new president.

After the association of states criticized regulations on the rule of law and human rights, the Maldives left the Commonwealth of Nations in October 2016.

In 2015, Gayoom's successor Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in prison for "terrorism" but remained in exile in Britain after a trip to London for medical treatment. At the beginning of February 2018, Yameen declared a state of emergency and arrested his half-brother, the 80-year-old former president Gayoom, his son-in-law and two judges. The crisis was triggered by a court ruling that allowed twelve MPs who had defected from the ruling party to return to parliament. This would mean that Yameen would have lost the majority in parliament. However, he refused to implement the court orders. The 2018 presidential election was won by the opposition politician Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and the parliamentary election the following year was won by the Maldivian Democratic Party led by Mohamed Nasheed.

On February 1, 2020, the Maldives rejoined the Commonwealth of Nations.


Physical location

The Republic of Maldives is located in the equatorial waters of the Indian Ocean, about 700 km southwest of Sri Lanka. The western coast is washed by the waters of the Arabian Sea, and the interior of the Maldives also belongs to its water area. At the same time, the eastern coast of the archipelago is washed by the waters of the Laccadive Sea.

The archipelago is a chain of 26 atolls, which include 1192 coral islands. The islands do not rise much above the ocean level: the highest point of the archipelago is on the southern Addu (Siena) atoll - 2.4 m. The total area, calculated together with inland waters, is 90 thousand km², the land area is 298 km². The capital of Male - the only city and port of the archipelago - is located on the atoll of the same name.



The Maldives has a stable tropical monsoon climate (Am) according to the Köppen climate classification, which is influenced by a fairly large area of South Asia. Since the Maldives has the lowest altitude of any country in the world, temperatures are constantly hot and humid. This causes differential heating of the earth and water. There is a constant influx of moist sea air from the Indian Ocean - monsoons. The Maldives is dominated by two seasons: the dry season, associated with the winter northeast monsoon, and the rainy season, which brings high winds and storms.

The transition from the dry northeast monsoon to the wet southwest monsoon occurs during April and May. During this period, southwest winds contribute to the formation of the southwest monsoon, which reaches the Maldives in early June and prevails until the end of August. However, the weather conditions in the Maldives do not always match the monsoon regimes of South Asia. Annual rainfall averages 254 centimeters (100 inches) in the north and 381 centimeters (150 inches) in the south. The monsoonal influence is greater in the north of the Maldives than in the south - this is due to the presence of equatorial currents.


Flora and fauna

Giant Achatina, hermit crabs live on land, while flying foxes and gray herons live in the air.


Water world

The waters around the Maldives include several different ecosystems, but they are best known for their variety of colorful coral reefs, home to 1,100 fish species, 5 sea turtle species, 21 whale and dolphin species, 187 coral species, 400 mollusk species and 83 echinoderm species. In addition, many species of crustaceans live here: 120 species of copepods, 15 species of amphipods, as well as more than 145 species of crabs and 48 species of shrimp.

Families represented here include: pufferfish, snapperfish, horse mackerel, lionfish, eastern sweetlips, reef sharks, groupers, eels, cesiums, bristletooths, ephippids, wrasses, eagle rays, scorpionfish, lobsters, nudibranchs, angelfish, butterflyfish, holocentric, soldier fish, glass groupers, surgeonfish, longtails, triggerfish, napoleons and barracudas.

These coral reefs inhabit a variety of marine ecosystems from planktonic organisms to whale sharks. Sponges gained great importance after five species were found to have anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties. In 1998, the water temperature rose by 5 °C due to the El Niño event, which caused coral bleaching and the death of ⅔ of the organisms that live in coral reefs.

In an attempt to re-grow the reefs, the scientists placed electrified cones at a depth of about 6.1-18.3 m to provide a substrate for coral larvae to attach to. In 2004, scientists noticed the regeneration of corals. The corals began to release pink-orange eggs and sperm into the water. These electrified corals grew five times faster than regular corals.



Constitution and status of religion

In January 1998 a new constitution came into force. The form of government remained the presidential republic. The president and head of government have unrestricted power over the executive branch. He is elected for five years by a unicameral parliament, the Majilis. The Majilis consists of 50 members, 42 of whom are elected and eight of whom are appointed by the president. After the election, the president still has to face a popular vote. To date, only Islam is accepted as a religion in the Maldives. On August 7, 2008, President Mohammed Abdul Gayoom issued a new constitution, which in Article 9 paragraph d) bars people who are not Muslim from being accepted as new citizens. However, this does not apply to people born in the Maldives whose parents are already citizens, regardless of their religion.



The Maldives is a presidential republic with significant influence of the president: he is head of government and minister of defense; Until 2006, the central bank and finance were also subordinate to him. He leads the police, army, coast guard, fire department and judiciary. There is no separation of powers. Presidential elections take place every five years; The people elect one of the two candidates nominated by parliament as president by a simple majority. The current incumbent is Mohamed Muizzu, elected on September 30, 2023.

Mohamed Nasheed has been head of state since the new elections in October 2008 and the departure of the previous incumbent Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on November 10, 2008. Gayoom has been president since 1978, making him the longest-serving head of state in Asia. In his six victorious presidential elections, he was sometimes the only candidate for the office; in 2007, he nominated himself as the presidential candidate for the coming elections without consulting his DRP party. Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is also involved in holiday resorts.



In the Maldives, opposition, which has been permitted since 1998, has only de facto existed since 2005.

In June 2005, the Majlis' deputies voted unanimously in favor of a motion that would enable the establishment of a multi-party system.

Since then, President Gayoom has tolerated five parties: his own, dominant DRP, the Islamic AP, the small parties MSDP and IDP, and the democratic MDP (Maldives Democratic Party). In particular, the members of the MDP, especially its managing director at the time and Mohamed Nasheed, who served as president until February 2012, were exposed to considerable repression and restrictions on their political work.


Political developments

On October 28, 2008, the reformer Mohamed Nasheed was elected as the first democratically legitimized president. Protests erupted in early 2012 over the arrest of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed, and the Supreme Court called for his release from military detention. The judge was accused of misconduct and undue favoritism towards opposition figures after he ordered the release of a government critic. On February 6, 2012, there was an attempted coup against the president. Mutinous police and demonstrators had occupied the state broadcaster. Nasheed then announced his resignation in a televised speech. According to a government spokesman, his deputy Mohammed Waheed Hassan will take over the official duties for the time being. According to the Maldivian constitution, presidential elections were scheduled for September 2013. The election was declared rigged despite information to the contrary. The elections, which were rescheduled for October 20, 2013, were prevented by the police on the day of the election. The runoff election was repeatedly postponed. Finally, a new election took place on November 9, 2013. On November 16, 2013, Abdulla Yameen was declared president after the votes were counted.

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (1978-2008) and the previous exiled President Mohamed Nasheed formed an alliance in 2017 to run against Abdulla Yameen in the next elections, in which they are said to have a good chance of success. The top court also ordered that several MPs who had fallen out of favor with Yameen should be reinstated. Yameen ignored the order, declared a state of emergency on February 5, 2018 and had Gayoom arrested. The opposition turned to India to restore order. Yameen, on the other hand, is considered a business partner of the People's Republic of China.

In response to the Russian attack on Ukraine in February 2022, most European states and the USA imposed sanctions against Russians and Russian companies. At least five superyachts owned by Russian billionaires are cruising near or anchored off the Maldives. This is interpreted as an escape from access through confiscation by the USA. The Maldives does not have an extradition treaty with the US.


Human rights

Basic rights such as freedom of speech and expression are restricted; Peaceful demonstrators are also arrested in the run-up to and during political rallies. Freedom of religion is expressly excluded.

In July 2003, Amnesty International released a report on human rights abuses by President Gayoom's regime, accusing it of using torture. Prisoners were beaten and kicked and had to sit handcuffed in the sun for hours. They would be denied lawyers in court.

There are still numerous political prisoners in Maldivian prisons. The editors of the independent internet magazine “Sandhaan” were sentenced to life imprisonment for high treason, while undesirable politicians were locked up, as were religious leaders and artists. At the same time, the former president converted former military buildings into prisons - on islands far away from the luxury hotels of tourists.

The Commonwealth of Nations threatened to suspend membership in 2016 if there were no improvements in the human rights situation. The government of Maldives complained about unfair treatment and interference in its internal affairs and announced its withdrawal.

On February 5, 2018, a state of emergency was declared by President Yameen. President Yameen refused to comply with the Maldives Supreme Court's order demanding the release of eight imprisoned opposition politicians and a retrial. The court also demands the reinstatement of twelve members of parliament.



The Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) was formed in 2006 from the National Security Service (NSS). It includes the Marine Corps, the Security Protection Group, the Corps of Engineers and a Coast Guard, which has civilian as well as military tasks. The MNDF Air Wing has 2 HAL Dhruv helicopters donated by India.

The country's president holds supreme command. The MNDF headquarters is located in Bandaara Koshi.


Environmental Protection

Every island used for tourism is required to operate its own waste incineration plant and seawater desalination plants. The electricity required for this is generated almost exclusively with diesel generators. Metal and plastic waste from the capital Malé and some nearby islands are collected and dumped on the garbage island of Thilafushi. The vast majority of islands “dispose” of their garbage in the sea. There is no facility to dispose of the used oil from the numerous boats or generators. The construction rubble from hotel buildings also usually ends up in the sea.

In practice, environmental protection is just as lacking in the Maldives as is environmental awareness. Environmental protection laws exist on paper, but compliance with them is not monitored and violations are not punished. For example, the built-up area of a resort cannot exceed 20% of the island's area. In practice it looks completely different, which is usually clearly visible to the visitor when arriving or departing. The government neither checks compliance with the construction plans nor imposes sanctions for common corruption. The government's interest is in as many tourist beds as possible being used to capacity. Most of the new hotel islands have been given the desired shape through landscaping. This is done through “dredging” and sand pumping, which causes tremendous damage to the reefs. Private airports for individual resort chains, for example Maamingili in South Ari Atoll, are also created by filling up the reef roof.

It is forbidden to catch sharks inside the atoll. However, this is not monitored, so the Maldives' once huge shark population has disappeared except for a few remnants. Sharks are not eaten, but are caught for the fins to be exported to the Far East and, after the fins are cut off (so-called “shark finning”), thrown back into the sea, where they die in agony. Reef fish such as red snapper and grouper are increasingly being fished for the world's luxury markets. Since these are local fish, their population is at risk. Night fishing, which is popular on all hotel islands, is contributing to the decline in fish populations. Turtles are also protected, but their clutches are not, which means that the Maldives hardly produces any offspring of turtles.

In the late 1990s, the Maldivian government established large areas as marine national parks. No new tourist accommodation may be built in these areas. Since the old President Naesheed has agreed to the construction of more resorts, the pressure on the already badly damaged nature is increasing. However, outside the national parks, people continue to use the coral reef blocks to build houses. In addition, the industrial dismantling of the reefs for land reclamation (airport expansion, Hulumalé) continues.

Environmentalists from all over the world are trying to develop environmental awareness among the population and stop the destruction of reefs. Scientists Tom Goreau and Wolf Hilbertz created artificial coral reefs using Biorock technology off the Maldives island of Ihuru.


Climate change problem

The island state, whose national territory consists of over 90% water and whose land areas do not rise more than one meter above sea level, is severely threatened by climate change and the associated global rise in sea level. Consequently, climate protection is an important concern for the Maldivian government and Malé sends a delegation to practically every climate protection conference.

In this context, President Mohamed Nasheed has launched a program that is probably unique in the world. A certain percentage of the state budget should be used to purchase new land. Against the background of rising sea levels, the island state wants to acquire possible alternative land for its population in good time. Parts of India, Sri Lanka and Australia are under discussion. However, he had to admit shortly afterwards that the country lacked the money necessary for this.

In media-effective campaigns, President Nasheed tried to draw the world's attention to the impending demise of his country and to win over the goal of limiting the CO2 content of the atmosphere to 350 ppm. Based on three different reconstructions (MRESL - Mean Reconstructed Sea Level), the Maldives experienced an average sea level rise of (1.4 ± 0.51) mm per year from 1950 to 2009.

In 2016, as a result of record global temperatures, seawater warmed significantly, triggering widespread coral bleaching in the reefs around the Maldives. Bleaching affected over 60% of total reefs, with 90% of reefs bleaching in some regions. In addition, increased coral death was observed.