by Lars Haagen Petersen

Red Towwer - Mellieha

Malta is a small archipelago in the Mediterranean approx. 100 km south of Sicily. The island consists of three inhabited islands: the main island of Malta, the intermediate small island of Comino and the greenest island, Gozo. The country has about 500,000 inhabitants, crammed into 316 km2. Malta is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. If Denmark were to have the same population density, we would have to be more than 50 million people.


Malta islands

The Malta islands

Malta islands

Pictures from Malta - December 2009

Many associate Malta exclusively with sun and sandy beaches, but the country is so decidedly far more than this. It is probably the place in Europe where there are the most sights on so few square kilometers. Here is everything from strange geological peculiarities to a unique and exciting story. One can only wonder that the country can contain so much.

It may not be gender, but charming it was - December 2008

The country has throughout the ages been subject to many different peoples - including Phoenicians, Crusaders, Romans, Carthaginians, Arabs, French and British. All of these have left traces that can be recognized in culture and in language. Maltese is most reminiscent of Arabic and is related to Afro-Asian and Semitic, but has a lot of loanwords from Italian and English. However, as English is widely taught in schools, it is generally not a major problem to communicate with the Maltese.

Malta became independent in 1964 after being colonized by England. Most of the ancient Maltese buses date back to colonial times. Even though they have more than a lot of years behind them, there are still a few of them running. It is cheap to use the Maltese buses and since they also run to most of the places that are worth coming, it can be recommended to use them diligently. It can also be an experience in itself to be transported around in these veteran buses that are driven so deftly by their owners.

In 2004, Malta became a member of the European Union (EU) and the Maltese pound was replaced by the Euro.

A bus more than 50 years old was no exception in Malta - on the contrary - December 2008.  

Many tourists visit Malta every year and it is also the country's best source of income, but since you are now up to approx. 2.8 million tourists every year, it fills up well in the high season. You are also no longer so good at managing the hotel construction, so it now seems like a bit of a rather elongated construction site along large parts of the coast.

The road surface in Malta is largely the same age as the old buses they had until 2011, when they were replaced. In the main street of Mellieha town, however, the pavement is relatively new according to Maltese conditions - presumably from the beginning of the last half of the last century - December 2008.

Most buses park outside the capital at Valletta's city gate - December 2009
Unfortunately, it is over with driving in the oldest of the old buses. As of July 3, 2011, the vast majority of the old buses were replaced. For us tourists, it is of course sad to have to do without this very special experience, but for the part of Malta's population that has to be transported daily in these rolling museum pieces, it must have been a welcome renewal.

In 2011, as previously written, Malta's very famous old buses ended. Until then, the cityscape was characterized by approx. 510 privately owned buses that transported the country’s population and 2,5 million tourists around year after year. Many of these buses were purchased during colonial times under English rule and some of them could date their baptismal certificates back to the 40s. After all these years, many had probably expected that it would be a natural but somewhat late old age that would take their lives, but instead it was the EU's demand for less pollution that put an end to this traffic.
The 535,000 inhabitants owned a car fleet of approx. 426,720 in March 2023 according to "". If you then subtract all the inhabitants without a driving license or those without the ability to drive - young/old - who must be presumed to be without cars, then there are an astonishing number of people who have an unacceptably large number of cars - Cars that cannot possibly be a rational need for.
Does the owner himself expect this Anglia from the 60s to ever be ready to drive
again? - Valletta December 2011

With a little love and a little work, the old buses could become quite beautiful - December 2008.

But Malta is more than vacation and relaxation. There is a population that has one everyday life and there is a political leadership which is not always equal gender and transparent. If you want to delve a little deeper into the political part, you should get to know the now-deceased female journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizias, articles on corruption, nepotism, etc.

Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and the remains of her bombed car

Daphne Caruana Galizia (1964 – 2017) was a Maltese writer, journalist, blogger and anti-corruption activist who reported on political events in Malta and was internationally known for her investigation of the Panama Papers* and subsequently, unfortunately, also known for the assassination of the one who killed her. She particularly focused on investigative journalism, reporting on government corruption, nepotism, patronage and money laundering. Caruana Galizia's, despite intimidation and threats, libel cases and other lawsuits, continued to publish articles for decades. She was murdered near her home when a car bomb was detonated inside her car on 16 October 2017, prompting a major international outcry. In December 2017, three men were arrested in connection with the car bombing, including Yorgen Fenech, who was arrested on his yacht on November 20, 2019. Fenech was the owner of the Dubai-based company "17 Black". The firm was mentioned in the Panama Papers and Caruana Galizia had written about "17 Black" eight months before her death, claiming it had links to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat's chief of staff Keith Schembri and to former energy minister Konrad Mizzi. Later, the research group "The Daphne Project" found e-mails sent between "17 Black" and two shell companies in Panama that either belonged to Energy Minister Mizzi or Schembri, who was chief of staff to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. These e-mails mentioned, among other things, payments of up to $2 million for unspecified services.

Memorial in Sliema for murdered journalist Daphne Caruana

*The Panama Papers are a leaked set of data consisting of 11.5 million secret documents prepared by the Panamanian company Mossack Fonseca. These documents contain detailed information on more than 214,000 offshore companies, including the identities of owners and directors. The documents list the leaders of five countries — Argentina, Iceland, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates — as well as government officials and close associates of more than 40 other countries.
The documents have been compiled since the 1970s and contain over 2.6 terabytes of data, which were handed over by an anonymous source to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2015 and then to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The first reports based on the content, together with the actual content of 149 documents, were published on 3 April 2016.
Mossack Fonseca is a Panamanian law firm founded in 1977. The company's services include incorporating companies in offshore areas, managing offshore companies and advising on wealth management. The company has acted on behalf of more than 300,000 companies, most of which are registered in the UK or in tax havens under British rule.



Andre glimrende rejsemål/

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