The Louvre in Abu Dhabi is a definitely out-of-the-ordinary museum, interesting to see and to visit, which aims to narrate the story of humanity through values shared between men and cultures since forever.
A story unfolding from prehistoric artifacts to contemporary art, between the galleries and the spaces of a spectacular architectural work that, alone, deserves a thorough visit.
Louvre Abu Dhabi: the dates
The construction of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi was approved by the French government in 2007.
The agreement between the Abu Dhabi Emirate and France provides for the use of the name of the French museum for thirty years and six months, and the support of the Agence France-Muséums, the institution that brings together 13 of the main French museums, for the loan of works of art, the organization of periodic exhibitions and the progressive creation of a permanent collection.
Officially, the construction works of the Louvre Abu Dhabi started in May 2009.
The opening to the public, initially scheduled for 2012, then postponed to 2015, takes place officially on November 8th 2017.
Louvre Abu Dhabi: the architecture
The project is by Jean Nouvel, the French “archistar” of international fame, who likes to call himself “contextual architect”.
The Louvre of Abu Dhabi is a “museum city” with 55 buildings: a little archipelago, which rises to 40 meters from the sea, inserted among the hundreds of islands, forming the City; a white and elegant North African medina, which develops horizontally in skillful counter-tendency with the poetic skyline of the outside.
23 of the 55 buildings of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi are dedicated to the galleries, spaces inspired by the ancient local dwellings of the emirate, with external passages connecting the various rooms, organized to encourage strolling and conversation.
Over all, dominates the original double dome, which seems to float on the city museum, 36 meters above the ground.
In spite of its 7500 tons (which is equivalent to the tonnage of Eiffel Tower), the dome of the Abu Dhabi Louvre communicates lightness and almost weightless, thanks to the ingenious arrangement of the 7850 geometric stars of various sizes and angles, in eight different layers.
This is as Nouvel describes his Louvre Abu Dhabi dome : “A double dome 180 meters in diameter, offering horizontal, perfectly radiating geometry, a randomly perforated woven material, providing shade punctuated by bursts of sun. The dome gleams in the Abu Dhabi sunshine. At night, this protected landscape is an oasis of light under a starry dome”.
The light, in fact, filters through this kind of perforated embroidery, with a rain effect, almost like the sunlight that filters through the foliage of the palms.
In addition to being very harmonious, the Abu Dhabi Louvre dome has been designed according to sophisticated energy efficiency standards.
Louvre Abu Dhabi: the interiors
The Louvre Abu Dhabi houses 630 works of art: 300 are loans from the French museums and the remainder belongs to the permanent collection of Abu Dhabi.
The works are organized in 12 galleries (the “chapters of history”), introduced by the Great Vestibule, with artifacts related to universal themes such as motherhood, cult of the dead, prayer, writing.
It is worth pausing a little bit in the Great Vestibule, to catch the main idea which inspires the way how the collections are presented in the other galleries.
Here, in detail, the themes of the following galleries:
🏛 The First Villages. Here, among others, deserve a mention the findings from Marawah Island, an island a few kilometers from Abu Dhabi, on which the excavations are still underway.
🏛 The First Great Powers
🏛 Civilizations and Empires
🏛 Universal Religions (our favourite number one)
🏛 Asian Trade Routes (our favourite number two)
🏛 From the Mediterranean to the Atlantic
Then we move on to the “intersection” Cosmography, to access the following galleries:
🏛 The World in Perspective
🏛 The Magnificence of the Court
🏛 A New Art of Living
🏛 A Modern World?
🏛 Challenging Modernity
🏛 A Global Stage
The exhibition path ends with the section dedicated to contemporary art, with works mostly coming from the Pompidou Center.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi also hosts temporary exhibitions, in collaboration with the thirteen museum institutions of the Agence France-Muséums, and the Children’s Museum, dedicated to young visitors between 6 and 12 years, with different types of activities and workshops, available in Arabic and in English.
Where is the Louvre Abu Dhabi
The Louvre in Abu Dhabi is located on Saadiyat Island, about 10 km from the city center.
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/eh1LjU3byB72
How to reach the Louvre Abu Dhabi by taxi
Landmark to give to the taxi driver: “Louvre Museum”.
From the city center the cost of the ride is around 30-40 AED
How to get to the Louvre in Abu Dhabi by bus
Bus number 94 makes the following stops:
AL ZAHIYAH Hamdan St / Hazaa Bin Zayed Mosque
AL DANAH Sultan Bin Zayed St / Gold Center
AL NAHYAN Sultan Bin Zayed St / AD Bus Station
HADBAT AL ZA’FARANAH Sultan Bin Zayed St / Dihan St
AL SA’ADAH Sultan Bin Zayed St / Dhafeer St
AL RAWDHAH Saif Ghobash St / Ramlat Al Birayr St
AL RAWDHAH Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
AL RAWDHAH Al Majid St / Wahat Al Karamah
The cost is 2 AED, using Hafilat card.
We strongly advice to check for latest updates!
Opening hours and tickets
Detailed information about opening hours and tickets can be found on the Louvre Abu Dhabi official website