From The Editors Travel

Louvre Abu Dhabi Opens Its Doors to a Cosmopolitan Public amid Great Fanfare

An amazing 4K time-lapse video shows the making of UAE’s newest landmark in less than 3 minutes

Under construction since 2009, when the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy inaugurated the “Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi” at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, the Louvre Abu Dhabi finally opened to the public at 10 am on Saturday.

Located on Saadiyat Island, the opening of the first Louvre museum outside of Paris was indeed a historic moment marked by lively cultural events, festivities, and performances – a true manifestation of the vision behind the museum’s inception, which is to unite art and culture from all parts of the world under one massive roof.

A traditional Emirati performance called AL AYYALA, by Mubarak Al Otaiba’s group, was timed to perfection to coincide with the opening of the doors. Visitors were greeted with this unique national dance involving two rows of men facing each other in traditional Arab dress with bamboo sticks.

It must be mentioned that AL AYYALA, performed at weddings and other festivities across the UAE, is a UNESCO recognized Living Intangible Heritage since 2014.


Bill Bragin, an American visitor to the Louvre and an Abu Dhabi resident for the last three years, described his experience as “breathless” and “incredibly emotional” referring to the grand opening as a “historic moment.”

“The idea of birth and the idea of what it means for Abu Dhabi to be a center of arts and culture is really profoundly personal for me,” he also said.

Soroshi Michelle, an Indian architect, said that the chance to see works of art from masters like Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Vincent Van Gogh was worth the hour-long wait outside the Louvre. “It’s been a lovely day,” is how she described her experience the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Ahmad Moayad, an Iraqi tourist, was all praise for the organizational excellence of the museum authorities and was excited about the representation of Babylonian/Iraqi civilization through works of art. He was rather thrilled about the fact that the “Louvre is now somewhere else other than Paris.”

Deborah Williams, a United States professor, could not suppress her excitement about the curation standards of the Louvre. “The curation and the way objects and images are speaking to each other is really exciting,” she said.

American Dorothy Brune who is visiting her daughter in Abu Dhabi made sure her trip coincided with Louvre opening. Here’s what she said.

“I’m visiting my daughter here and specifically asked her to arrange my visit at the time for the opening of the Louvre because I was so excited. What I really love about it is the space that the artwork is in. Of course, the artwork is amazing…the fact that it’s all done chronologically, so you’re traveling through time.”

Throughout the day, American choreographer Lucinda Childs enthralled the visitors with some superb dance moves inside the galleries, while late in the afternoon, Emirati oud maestro Faisal Al Saari captivated the attention of the visitors with his incredible composition.

The evening saw Groupe F, French pyrotechnic experts, stun the audience with a spectacular audio-visual light show named “Museum Reflections” taking them on a four-pronged voyage of discovery through the depths of the sea to the surface, onto terra firma and ultimately the skies.

As of now, there are 600 works of art and artifacts from around the world displayed in 23 galleries of Louvre Abu Dhabi. The main focus of these exhibits is to showcase the mingling of cultures and art – an effort to bring Eastern and Western art under one giant roof.

Etihad Airways, the official airline partner of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, organized a low fly-by over the museum in celebration of the opening ceremony.


The flagship A380 chosen for the occasion had the official logo of the universal museum on each of its four massive engines to mark the grand event.

“Echoing the sentiments from the signing of our landmark partnership agreement with Louvre Abu Dhabi last month, Etihad Airways is honored to play its part in the inauguration of this hugely important universal institution and bring millions of guests to our home to experience this modern wonder of art and humanity first-hand,” Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer Peter Baumgartner said.

A short video was also shot from the flight deck of the aircraft and from within Louvre Abu Dhabi

“We’re celebrating the historical opening of Abu Dhabi’s universal museum through the art of flying. Look up and watch our iconic A380 aircraft fly-by Louvre Abu Dhabi, to a new world of art and culture.” – Etihad Airways

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