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Saudi Arabia forms first Ministry of Culture

By Tom Anstey    04 Jun 2018
King Salman made the announcement on 3 June, issuing a royal decree as part of a larger cabinet reshuffle

As part of its efforts to encourage tourism and significantly improve its leisure offering, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced plans to form its first-ever dedicated Ministry of Culture.

Cultural reform is a major area of focus under the rule of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with recent months seeing several first for the country, including its the opening of its first theatre in three decades and the announcement of plans to create a national opera house.

King Salman made the announcement on 3 June, issuing a royal decree as part of a larger cabinet reshuffle, declaring the creation of the new authority, which will be led by Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al-Saud.

“The mission of this ministry is to cater toward culture in all its fields. Culture is part of the soft power which we hope to cultivate in service to country and national identity," said Al-Saud.

“Our vision, without a doubt, is part of the Saudi Vision 2030 and the ministry will be the main sponsor for all the advancement of culture in various fields, enhancing the Saudi and urban identities.”

The ministry was previously part of the Ministry of Information and Culture. Now as its own entity, it will be able to focus more on the "implementation of specific cultural activities", according to the government.

In other areas of leisure, the kingdom is developing its first major theme park under the Six Flags banner, and is developing a number of National Geographic attractions across the country, as well as developing science centres and investing in heritage tourism. Last month, the government revealed plans to invest SAR50bn (US$13.3bn, €11.2bn, £9.9bn) into entertainment, health, sports and education initiatives, as the country attempts to modernise and improve its citizens' quality of life.

Saudi Arabia  Ministry of Culture  King Salman  Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman  Saudi Vision 2030  Ministry of Information and Culture 
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