The Louvre-Lens is the 3rd most visited provincial museum in France

Opened on 4 December 2012 on the site of a former mine-head in Lens (France), the Louvre-Lens Museum offers visitors 5 000 years of history in one fell swoop. In five years, more than 2.8 million people have visited the Gallery of Time. In this unique 120-metre-long space, they have been able to discover more than 200 masterpieces from the Louvre. The Louvre-Lens Museum is contributing to the revitalization of this mining area in the former Nord-Pas-de-Calais region and it has generated more than EUR 120 million in direct economic rewards. 65 % of visitors are from Hauts-de-France.

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Louvre-Lens © Creative Commons Louvre-Lens © Creative Commons

" Those people who visit the Louvre-Lens are not your usual museum visitors. They are less credentialed, younger, more family-oriented, and more than half report that they have little or no experience of museums. This highlights the work that’s been done over the past five years to anchor this extraordinary park museum in the region. We are very proud of this. "

Marie Lavandier, Director of the Louvre-Lens Museum

During its first year, the Louvre-Lens Museum welcomed 870 000 visitors. After the novelty of the place wore off, attendance stabilised at around 450 000 people per year, which is 15 times the population of the city of Lens. Almost 84 % of visitors are French. 

The third most visited museum in France outside of the Paris region, the Louvre-Lens attracts visitors who are less familiar with museums than the average seen at other establishments (according to a study undertaken by the Ministry of Culture in 2015). 18 % of visitors are workers and employees, which is 6 % above the average for French museums.

One third of visitors come as a family, compared to a national average of 16 %. One person in five comes from the Lens-Liévin urban area. In a population base affected by the closure of the coal mines, succeeding in attracting a "popular" and local family audience is one of the successes of the museum, which has also chosen to continue providing free access to the Gallery of Time.

The Gallery of Time is designed to encompass 5 000 years of history. It brings together paintings, sculptures and artwork from the Louvre's collections in a brightly lit space, despite the absence of any windows. Part of the collection is changed every year. Two other spaces are dedicated to temporary exhibitions: a 1 700 m2 gallery that has already hosted eleven international exhibitions, and the Glass Pavilion, which has showcased seven feature exhibitions on various themes.

The Louvre-Lens is also a "park museum". It’s been constructed within a 20-ha park and designed around an old slag heap and pit entry. This reference to local history symbolises the way in which the museum anchors itself in the region. The Louvre-Lens pursues a strong educational policy (more than 336 000 students have walked through its doors in five years), as well as social and solidarity action – through mediation activities – some of which take place outside the museum (prisons, hospitals). 

The opening of the Louvre-Lens has also helped organise what’s on offer to tourists, through the creation of new food service and hotel establishments. Some of the visitors extend their stay and discover other iconic sites in the region. In addition to the direct spillover effect (EUR 42 million in 2013 and EUR 20 million per year since 2014, i.e. more than EUR 120 million in five years), there is also a substantial proportion of indirect economic rewards. 

Beyond tourism and economic results, the Louvre-Lens helps increase the territory’s notoriety and brand image. This may be difficult to quantify, but it is a definite benefit. 

Total investment and EU funding 

A total of EUR 172 200 000 was invested in the “Louvre-Lens” project. The European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 37 000 000 under the Nord-Pas-de-Calais operational programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.


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