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Louvre’s Security Staff Plan to Strike After Popular Vermeer Exhibition Draws Record Number of Visitors

Employees of the Louvre, which is currently hosting a blockbuster exhibition titled “Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting” that has drawn massive crowds since its opening late last month, have informed the museum’s president that they plan to strike on March 10.

In a letter dated March 4, a union representative for the security staff at the museum stated that the employees are dedicated to welcoming visitors, but must also insist on good working conditions for themselves. Blaming the museum’s administration for poor handling of crowds and a flawed ticket-reservation system, the security staff reported experiencing “physical and verbal aggressions” while trying to carry out their normal duties. For this reason, and “in the best general interest of the public,” the union has called for a strike.

Late last month, in the wake of the Vermeer show opening, Le Figaro reported “massive lines, a lack of available online reservations, and overcrowded galleries” at the Louvre. On its opening day alone, the exhibition welcomed some nine thousand visitors, a record for the museum.

The maximum number of people allowed in the Louvre’s Hall Napoléon, where the exhibition is on view until May 22, is 250 at any given time. According to Le Figaro, the show is a “victim of its own success.” Online reservations for the exhibition, which assign a day but not a specific time, are sold out until May 21.