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Expatriate Healthcare News: Construction starts on Louvre Abu Dhabi

In the future expatriates living in Abu Dhabi will be able to indulge their need for artistic sustenance with a trip to the city's own branch of the Louvre.

Work on the construction of the art gallery is to begin soon as the project has finally been given the go-ahead after the idea was originally proposed in 2007.

Back then it was thought that the new Louvre would be open in 2012, but it has been beset with a number of delays.

Now it has been scheduled for the floating art gallery structure to be open to the public by 2015, with the work expected to cost £405 million.

The theme for the building is to be water, with a large domed centrepiece built on Saadiyat Island, complete with plazas, pavilions and canals.

Hasan Ismaik, managing director of Arabtec which will build the gallery, said: "The Louvre Abu Dhabi is undoubtedly the most anticipated cultural development in the region and truly reflects the Emirates's ambition to strengthen its position on the global map as a cultural epicentre."

Louvre Abu Dhabi will be in good cultural company in this setting, as an outpost of the Guggenheim Museum is to be opened nearby in 2017 and the Zayed National Museum is expected to be completed by 2016.

By 2014 the large concrete frame, which will support the Louvre structure, will be in place with the rest of the construction following on from there.

As well as the museums, the development off the coast of Abu Dhabi will include high-end accommodation and a new campus of the Cranleigh School with space for up to 1,600 pupils.

Currently Dubai is seen as more of a cultural epicentre in the United Arab Emirates, but Abu Dhabi hopes that these new institutions will help it to rival the city for the role.

At present there are a few small scale galleries in Abu Dhabi, such as the Barakat Gallery, Folklore Gallery and Ghaf Art Gallery.

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