London mayor Boris Johnson has declared himself “impressed and fascinated” by Abu Dhabi’s cultural vision after touring Saadiyat Island - where the Cultural District will be home to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
During the tour the mayor also met HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahoon Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.
Johnson, who showed particular interest in a model of the Zayed National Museum designed by Lord Norman Foster, said he believed the architecture of the museums, combined with the museums’ collection and narrative and Saadiyat’s surroundings would present a compelling visitor proposition.
“To my mind you are creating a cluster of true world beaters,” he told Sheikh Sultan.
The mayor was on a fact-finding visit to Abu Dhabi to forge links between the region and London.
He highlighted many areas of past, present and future collaboration. Opportunities for cultural projects in London include the area in and around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.
Ambitious regeneration plans are in place to make the area a world class sporting, entertainment and cultural centre as a legacy of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games.
“London and Abu Dhabi share a rich history of cultural exchange.
“This is something I want to encourage. I have been hugely impressed by Abu Dhabi’s scale of ambition in terms of developing a world class cultural offer.
“I am keen we explore ways for further future collaboration not least in London’s growth areas such as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the east of the city which hosted last year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.” he said.
Mayor Johnson said the activation of East London into London’s tourism appeal would also benefit the Abu Dhabi-owned ExCel London – which last year hosted more Olympic events than any other venue.
“There is much we can learn from London and much we can share,” said Sheikh Sultan.
“The British capital did a fantastic job in hosting the 2012 Olympics and I want to congratulate you on it.”