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Louvre Abu Dhabi to open its doors in November

media Louvre Abu Dhabi Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel

The Louvre Abu Dhabi will finally open to the public on 11 November, a decade after the project was launched, France's culture minister said Wednesday.

"It is my pleasure to announce that the Louvre Abu Dhabi will open its doors on 11 November," French culture minister Françoise Nyssen said at a news conference in Abu Dhabi.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first establishment outside of the original Louvre in Paris -- which houses the world's largest collection of art -- to carry the famed French name.

Housing 600 works of art, including 300 loaned by 13 French museums for the inaugural year, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is described as the "first universal museum" in the Arab world.

"At a time when culture is under attack... this is our joint response," Nyssen said to announce the 11 November opening date.

The museum has been a decade in the making and is opening five years behind schedule.

Among the works on loan to Abu Dhabi are Leonardo da Vinci's La Belle Ferronnière from the Louvre -- which houses the world's largest collection of art -- and Vincent van Gogh's self-portrait from the Musée d'Orsay.

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel of France, the "museum city" is reminiscent of an Arab medina, enveloped by a part arabesque, part futuristic silvery dome that lets in the light in patterns mimicking leaves of the palm trees of the Gulf.

While the Louvre Abu Dhabi will not lack its Rodins and Gaugins, for some, the real heart of the museum is in its narration of ancient civilisations through artifacts acquired by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The museum aims to attract people from neighbouring Arab countries and around the world, according to the UAE culture minister.

"Just as the Louvre is the crown jewel of Paris, so the Louvre Abu Dhabi is destined for such distinction," said Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al-Nahyan.

- with AFP

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