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Islands in the Gulf: His Own Private "Germany"

07-19-2010 15:41 BJT

An Austrian real-estate developer is seeking a fortune with a set of European-themed islands in the Persian Gulf. The Vegas-style glitter of Dubai may have faded since the boom -- but not for everyone.

When Josef Kleindienst was still a farmer's boy at home in Schrattenberg in Lower Austria, he read Goethe's Faust. And when he left the farm and became a police officer in the city, he still loved Faust. He even loved the sequel, the dense verse play with the "clash of the spades" and the "free ground to build on."

Today, Josef Kleindienst is ?200 million richer and far from Schrattenberg, on his own building plot covered in grey, shell-flecked sand. It's a deserted piece of property in the steaming water of the Persian Gulf, and Kleindienst calls it "Germany." Now a real estate broker, he bought the island outside Dubai together with "Austria," "St. Petersburg," "Sweden," "Switzerland," and "the Netherlands," which is destined to become a party island.

An Austrian real-estate developer is seeking a fortune with a set of European-themed islands in the Persian Gulf. The Vegas-style glitter of Dubai may have faded since the boom -- but not for everyone.
An Austrian real-estate developer is seeking a fortune with a set of European-themed 
islands in the Persian Gulf. The Vegas-style glitter of Dubai may have faded since the 
boom -- but not for everyone.

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