Louvre - Lens


2009-2012, the construction period


This is year for which the completion of the new museum is planned. 4th December 2012 : Inauguration of the Louvre-Lens

4th December 2009

The foundation stone was laid on the site to declare the beginning of the construction site that should last for three years
The Project office opened its doors to the general public on the eastern edge of the site

16th November 2009

The companies retained to build the Louvre-Lens signed their building contracts. The preparation of the site began

April 2009 

A second invitation to tender for the construction of the museum was issued

February-March 2009

After several surveys, the Nord - Pas de Calais Region began the demolition of the company buildings that existed on the site of the future museum


2007-2008,planning permission and building regulations approved

23rd July 2008

The planning permission for the museum was granted by the prefect of the Pas-de-Calais

June 2008

The scientific and cultural project of the Louvre-Lens was approved
Given that the invitation to tender for contractors was unsuccessful, a new business consultation was prepared

12th November 2007

The final pilot study for the architectural project was approved by the Nord-Pas de Calais Region, contracting authority

21st May 2007

The summary pilot study for the architectural project presented by the SANAA agency was approved by the Region receiving the approval of all the partners 


2006, the studies

26th October 2006

During a trip to Japan to visit the museum constructed in Kanazawa by the SANAA architectural firm the President of the Region, the Director of the Louvre and the Mayor of Lens realised how far advanced the work the architects were carrying out on the Louvre-Lens.

6th October 2006

Many regional advisors and members of the regional Economic and Social Council travelled to Bilbao to visit the Guggenheim museum and evaluate the social and economic consequences for the Basque region.

14th May 2006 

The Regional Athletics League organised the first “Route du Louvre” marathon between Lille and Lens, and also a 10km race and a rambling event, attracting almost 8,000 people to the Louvre-Lens site.

11th April 2006

En pésence du Ministre de la culture et de la communication, Henri Loyrette, pésident-directeur du Louvre, accueille au Louvre lesélus du Nord Pas-de-Calais pour leur faire visiter le musée parisien

Beginning 2006

Operational studies began.  They include public, accessibility and urban insertion studies for the project as well as technical studies associated with the implementation of the works.


2005, an architectural project for the Louvre-Lens

26th September 2005

Following an appraisal by the panel of judges of the six architectural projects submitted, the Nord Pas-de-Calais Region designated SANAA, the Japanese architecture agency as the winning project

13th July 2005

The steering committee that gathers together all the regional partners concerned by the project met for the first time. It created a smaller operations committee to supervise building operations

12th May 2005

The State, the Louvre museum and the local authorities signed a protocol agreement setting out the technical, legal and financial terms for the building of the future museum

21st January 2005

The Nord Pas-de-Calais Region, contracting authority for the future museum and the main backer, launched an international architecture competition

29th April 2005

Six teams of architects were selected from 124 candidate agencies


2004, the choice of Lens

29th November 2004

The prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, named Lens as the site for the new Louvre

July 2004

The minister of culture and communication, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, visited the sites of the six candidate towns


2003, a new step forward for cultural decentralisation

November 2003

Lens became candidate town to be the location of a "branch" of the Louvre museum: Arras, Calais, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Valenciennes and Amiens were also in the race

27th May 2003

The minister of culture and communication, Jean-Jacques Aillagon, argued in favour of decentralizing the major Parisian cultural establishments


An association based in Lens for the support of the Louvre: A2L

The Development council for the Agglomeration of Lens-Liévin, in association with the support committee for the candidate application of the Town of Lens along with the other Development Councils of the Mining Region decided to create an association for the supporters of the Louvre-Lens to assist the establishment of the Museum.
The A2L association aims to be a key point of contact for the regional local authorities undertaking projects (Region, Department, Joint-Communities of Lens-Liévin and the Town of Lens) and the Louvre Museum in order to:

  • Assist the success of the Louvre-Lens by suggesting initiatives emerging from civil society
  • Build awareness and inform the general public about the issues facing the Louvre-Lens
  • Muster support and promote initiatives for and around the Louvre-Lens