Though the Louvre seems like a landmark that can only exist in Paris, the museum is going to be opening up a new branch in Abu Dhabi on November 11th, after undergoing a decade’s worth of construction.
The announcement of the second Louvre was made back in 2007, but its construction was delayed due to economic turmoil and labor issues.
The new Louvre museum is another major investment for tourism. Abu Dhabi’s rulers agreed to pay France $525 million just to secure the use of the word “Louvre,” and an additional $750 million to “hire French managers to oversee 300 loaned works of art,” according to Time.
Along with financial issues, the museum’s construction received backlash for its dangerous treatment of migrant laborers from South Asia, who sometimes had to work in sweltering temperatures close to 113 degrees. And just two years ago, workers on Saadiyat island, the same island where the museum is located, went on strike in hopes to halt this unfair treatment. However, these workers were ultimately deported or lost their work visas. The Human Rights Watch report did not specify if the laborers were working on the Louvre site or other nearby construction sites.
Unfortunately, one worker was killed in 2015 in an accident during the construction and another passed away from “natural causes” the following year. At yesterday’s announcement of the museum’s opening, an Emirati official did acknowledge the importance of the laborers in the construction process. “Every single worker who’s worked on this job has made this happen. They are really the heroes who have come up with this fantastic building and you want to spend every minute when we are inside the Louvre thinking about the hardship and the difficulties it took everybody to get to what we see today,” said Mohamed Khalifa-al-Mubarak, the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.
The UAE recently reformed its labor laws to allow migrants to bring complaints to the government and escape contracts and change their job without losing their passports.