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Saudi Arabia’s RCU and France’s Centre Pompidou Forge Stronger Ties for Cultural Exchange

In a significant move to bolster cultural and artistic collaboration, the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has solidified its partnership with Paris’s renowned Centre Pompidou. This collaboration is set to culminate in the opening of a new contemporary art museum in AlUla in 2027, marking a new era of cross-cultural exchange and knowledge sharing.

The executive program agreement, officially signed in Paris, builds upon a previous memorandum of understanding between the two institutions. It outlines a strategic roadmap for a more expansive and mutually beneficial relationship in areas including art, culture, science, and heritage promotion and conservation.

This partnership is a cornerstone in the RCU’s ambitious plans for the new museum in AlUla, a cultural oasis in northwest Saudi Arabia. Renowned architect Lina Gotmeh, celebrated for her Serpentine Pavilion in London, has been selected to design this new cultural landmark. Her vision promises a carbon-efficient structure that harmoniously integrates with the unique oasis environment of AlUla, setting new standards in sustainable design.

The museum, poised to become a hub of cultural and artistic expression, will not only house regional and international art collections but also host workshops, school programs, and community engagement activities. It aims to be a platform for critical thinking in contemporary art and a catalyst for urban regeneration and environmental renewal.

Artistic residencies have already been fostering creativity, with artists such as Daniah Saleh and Muhannad Shono from Saudi Arabia, and Sabine Mirlesse from France/US, contributing to the burgeoning art scene. Additionally, the landscape program has commissioned works from international artists, including Manal Al-Dowayan from Saudi Arabia and Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim from the UAE.

The new executive program agreement enhances the ongoing exchange of artworks, artifacts, and cultural and scientific initiatives between RCU and Centre Pompidou. It allows for the acquisition, loan, and display of unique items from each partner’s collection, promoting a shared cultural heritage.

Centre Pompidou's expertise in attracting international visitors aligns with RCU’s vision of transforming AlUla into the world’s largest living museum and a global cultural and heritage tourism hub.

Nora Al-Dabal, arts and creative planning director at RCU, expressed optimism about this partnership: “The signing of the executive program agreement marks a new phase in our partnership, defining successful cross-cultural collaborations. This cooperation will enable the sharing of knowledge and expertise, contributing significantly to the development of AlUla’s new contemporary art museum.”

This strengthened alliance between RCU and Centre Pompidou is a testament to the growing global cultural connections and the shared commitment to promoting and conserving art and heritage. For more details on this collaboration, visit

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