Abu Dhabi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A new Louvre is set to arise in the desert of Abu Dhabi costing a total 654 million dollars. The announcement was made two days ago by the emirate's Ministry of Tourism. Construction on the museum was to start in 2010, but was suspended due to the economic crisis. Work will resume in the coming weeks and will end in 2015. The complex will be built by a consortium led by Arabtec, which will work together with the Spanish company Constructora San Jose SA and Oger Abu Dhabi LLC
The new building, which relies on the collaboration of important European architects will have the name of the most famous French museum on its logo. The emirate's authorities have paid a record 1.3 billion dollars to France for permission to use the word "Louvre" for the next 30 years. The Paris decision has sparked controversy among many French intellectuals, who accused the Louvre's directors of "selling the soul" of one of the most important museums in the world "to the oil companies". They also accuse the French government of ignoring the continuing violations of freedom of thought committed by the authorities of the emirate and the almost certain use of exploited and underpaid migrants for the project, in its race to replenish its coffers.