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Work begins on Abu Dhabi Louvre

Construction work on Abu Dhabi's version of France's iconic Louvre Museum began today.

The majestic domed building designed by French architect Jean Nouvel is due for completion in 2012. It will span around 26,000 sq ft on Abu Dhabi’s cultural hub, Saadiysat Island, and will cost an estimated €108m.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and French President Nicolas Sarkozy marked today’s events by opening an exhibition of 29 works of art, "chosen to demonstrate the curatorial vision of the Louvre Abu Dhabi", at the Emirates Palace.

A contract, signed between French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres and Nahyan two years ago, gave Abu Dhabi exclusive rights to use the "Louvre" name within the United Arab Emirates for the next 30 years, and will entitle it to display works from the Paris museum.