Abu Dhabi: One billion Euros has been set aside as the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s budget to be used throughout its 30 year contract, it was revealed during a discussion about the museum during the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

"This budget will be divided into approximately 40m Euros [Dh205m] and will be used for everything ranging from its programmes to its maintenance to any possible future acquisitions,” Dominique De Font-Reaulx, the museum’s Project Representative, said.

The museum has acquired the rights to the Louvre name for thirty years, while works from French museums will be loaned for a ten-year period, once the museum has opened for members of the public. French cultural institutions have also undertaken to plan and organize exhibitions for the museum for a period of fifteen years.

“Of the pieces being provided for the museum, 40 per cent will be received from the Louvre in Paris. The collection will include not only Islamic works but also international pieces because our aim is for the Louvre Abu Dhabi to not only become a universal museum but also the best in the Middle East,” De Font-Reaulx said.

Construction is already underway for the museum, which is slated to open in 2013 in Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District. When completed, the museum will stretch over 25,000 sqm2 with a dome suspended 180 metres above the structure.

“The dome was inspired by the Juniper tree…to achieve the desired effect, the team worked with specialists to measure the water, light and humidity factors of Abu Dhabi…we’ve also created a small scale model that we tested on Saadiyat Island and a full scale mock up, which helped us ensure that the completed dome will have the desired effect,” Hala Warde, Partner, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, said.

According to Xavier Darcos, the French Minister of Labour, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is great project that will continue to strengthen the ties between France and the UAE and provide a strong cultural presence for both countries.

“This project caused some controversy in France among conservatives but they don’t understand that the world is changing and that it’s not just any museum that’s being build here by Jean Nouvel. It’s a beautiful venue and, I believe, the only Louvre that will be created outside France,” he said.