Louvre Abu Dhabi, a ‘universal’ museum in the Arab world

By Lateefa Omar and Khawla Rashed

ABU DHABI — The Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened to public on Nov. 11, is the first “universal” museum in the Arab world.

This iconic monument is the result of a cooperation agreement between Abu Dhabi and France, home to the world-famous Louvre Museum.




Located on Saadiyat Island, the museum covers approximately 24,000 square meters, which makes it the largest museum in the Middle East.

Prominent French architect Jean Nouvel designed this architectural marvel. The water tables that run through the museum were inspired by the traditional falaj system of irrigation. The iconic dome, made up of eight layers of cladding, consisting of 7850 star-shaped pieces, was inspired by the interlaced palm leaves traditionally used in roofing.



The museum currently has a collection of more than 600 diverse artworks and artefacts, 300 of which are on loan from France. It has 12 chapters arranged according to their times in history. These exhibits seek to emphasize connections between different cultures.

In addition to guides that are available to explain to visitors the work on display, visitors can use iPods that offer guiding for the full tour.


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