Seven chapters of football in the Arab world

Our current special exhibition ‘Foot et Monde Arabe’, a cooperation with the Institute du monde arabe, highlights milestones and stories of football in the Arab world. In seven chapters (and a bonus mini-chapter) the special exhibition tries to capture the passion for football in the Arab world, and the impact that the game has on culture and society.

Each chapter tackles a different topic - from early superstars of the game to recent and upcoming World Cups. The stories are told with carefully curated items, documents and audio-visual elements that help visitors to immerse themselves into football in the Arab world.

The special exhibition is open until January 5th 2020..

For prices and additional info click here.

To buy tickets online, please visit our online ticket shop.


Chapter 1 – Larbi Ben Barek: Football Legend
Larbi Ben Barek was the first football superstar from the Arab World. The Moroccan player had a much admired career that saw him play for Marseille, Atlético Madrid and the French national team ‘Les Bleus’. He was also the first coach of the Morocco national team after they gained independence from France in 1956.

A pair of his boots are now on display in our special exhibition.

Chapter 2 – The FLN Team: A Symbol of Independence
Born in colonial French Algeria in 1936, Rachid Mekhloufi played in France for AS Saint-Étienne and for the French national team. However, he left just before the 1958 FIFA World Cup in order to join the FLN team, which supported Algeria's fight for independence.

Shortly after Algeria was recognized as its own country, Mekhloufi returned to AS St-Étienne, becoming (and remaining to this day) one of the club's top scorers. Visitors to our special exhibition will be able to see his player license from the 1967-1968 season.

Chapter 3 – France – Algeria, 6 October, 2001
Since Algeria gained independence from France in 1962, the two sides have only played one another once in football history. The game on October 6th, 2001 unfortunately had to be abandoned due to a pitch invasion, but it marked a historic moment between the two teams.

The shirt worn at this match by Zinedine Zidane is now on display as part of our special exhibition.


Chapter 4 – Nejmeh Sporting Club: A Multireligious Ideal
In Lebanon, where football clubs are traditionally associated with religious or political groups, Nehjmeh SC from Beirut is proud to be an exception. With its multireligious ideals the club has for a long time embodied a model of unity.

In our special exhibition we also look at this special club through the eyes of a fan. This scrapbook documents the visit of a certain football superstar from Brazil in 1975.

Chapter 5 – Football in Egypt: Between Passion and Madness
According to Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, the oldest player to ever take part in a FIFA World Cup match, football for Egyptians is as essential as water, food or air. Combined with eyewitness reports of the Cairo Derby, one can only imagine the passion and emotion that Egyptians put into their football.

Proof of the status of football in Egypt’s society is also the fact that global superstar Mo Salah was named one Time magazine’s most influential people in 2019. A copy of the Magazine with Salah on the cover is part of our special exhibition.

Chapter 6 – Palestine: Football in Spite of Everything
1998 marked a special milestone in Palestinian football history as Palestine officially joined FIFA. But football has been played in the region since the beginning of the 20th century. Like everywhere in the world, Palestinian youth is passionate about the game. Yet, due to the circumstances, football is often played under difficult conditions.

Our special exhibition feature a series of photographs from Amélie Debray, which capture the daily difficulties of playing football.

Chapter 7 – Women’s Football in Jordan
Chapter 7 of the special exhibition is dedicated entirely to women’s football in Jordan. Specifically, to the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016, which was the first female FIFA tournament to be hosted in the Arab World.

One of the items on display is the jersey of Tasneem Abu-Robb, who represented the host country Jordan in the tournament.


Bonus Chapter – Qatar: Looking Ahead to 2022
To explore the theme of football in the Arab world, we have looked at history in the making in the distant and recent past. In this mini-chapter, we look forward to a new chapter for the Arab world – the hosting of the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

As Qatar is preparing to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, their national team won their first major tournament, the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. To commemorate this milestone the special exhibition features a match ball from the tournament.