The Louvre Abu Dhabi – bringing together cultures of the world

The Louvre in Abu Dhabi opened its doors in November 2017. The Middle East’s new billion-dollar museum, created by award winning architect Jean Nouvel. 10 years in the making, the idea behind the Louvre Abu Dhabi was to create a universal museum, bringing together different cultures, and highlighting shared stories of humanity. France agreed to loan the name of the Louvre to the United Arab Emirates for 30 years. As part of the agreement, the museum has borrowed a number of masterpieces to fill its 23 galleries. Highlights include Leonardo da Vinci’s “La Belle Ferronniere”, an 1887 Van Gogh self-portrait, and “The Saint-Lazare Station” by Claude Monet.

An architect inspired

Jean Nouvel took inspiration from his surroundings. The way light filters through the roof of a souk, or the leaves of a palm tree. The centrepiece is a ‘floating’ dome made up of 7850 aluminium stars. “A welcoming world serenely combining light and shadow, reflection and calm.” Says Nouvel. Located on Saadiyat Island, the building itself is a work of art.

Other interesting facts about the Louvre in Abu Dhabi

  • The total weight of the dome is 7,500 tonnes, almost as much as the Eiffel Tower in Paris
  • It houses over 600 artworks, from ancient Egypt times to the modern world
  • It is reported to have cost over $1bn to create the Louvre in Abu Dhabi
  • Protecting the exhibits from temperature and sunlight was a challenge for engineers
  • The Louvre Abu Dhabi has its own marina for private yachts to dock
  • Engineers had to move 503,000 cubic meters of sand to lay the foundations for the museum
  • The dome appears to float, as its pillars are hidden within the building