A controversial deal has been signed to build a branch of France’s most famous museum in the Gulf. Abu Dhabi, the capital of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, will pay 400 million euros to use the prestigious name of the Louvre for the next 30 years. Designed by a French architect, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will open in 2012. French critics say it amounts to selling off the country’s artistic heritage. But not everyone agrees.
“The extra money means we can fund additional projects which have had to be mothballed due to a lack of cash,” insisted the museum’s president Henri Loyrette.
It is not the first time France has chosen to export its culture. An Abu Dhabi branch of the Sorbonne University has already been agreed and there are plans for a branch of the Pompidou modern art museum in Shanghai.