I finally took the time to do some research and it seems like this is a common issue with Dell notebooks. There are numerous reports about Dell notebooks either having their fans running at high speeds all the time, doing a constant spin up / spin down cycle or - like in my case - simply doesn't do proper cooling at all. The reason for these issues most of the time is that the notebook's BIOS takes full control over the fans and doesn't do a good job at that.
Under Linux there are the i8kutils but these cannot change the fan speeds permanently because the BIOS keeps control over the fans.
Luckily there is now a tool called dell-bios-fan-control which can toggle BIOS control of the fans.
With the help of this tool I can finally set the GPU fan to full speed when necessary and do no longer have to fear overheating or even instant shut offs anymore.
Now all I need is a tool that can independently monitor CPU and GPU temperatures and set the corresponding fans as necessary to keep my notebook cool.
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