What will the renovated House of Representatives look like? ‘Not megalomaniac, but warm’

AP

NOS News

  • Bernice Willemsen

    editor Politics

  • Bernice Willemsen

    editor Politics

Carpets in ‘raspberry red’ and ‘billiard chalk blue’, natural stone in ‘golden granite’, grey-yellow and chestnut wood panels, cream-coloured ceilings and green, ocher and rust-brown walls. But also ‘bronze-coloured specialisation’ in handles and a sustainable herb wall in the restaurant.

It is only a brief summary of the atmosphere in the future House of Representatives, which has been renovated since the summer of 2021. The so-called final draft of 219 pages has recently been completed. And the residents of Binnenhof today got the chance to use artist impressionsamples of carpets, curtains and ceilings to get an impression of their home, which should be ready sometime in 2027.

Appearance

The House of Representatives consists of eight buildings, and five different architectural firms are working on them. For the coordinating architect of the Statens Ejendomsmægler (RVB), Romy Berntsen, it is therefore difficult to characterize the appearance of the new building in one sentence. “Each building has its own historical character, and we want to preserve that as much as possible, also in the colors used.”

RVB architect Berntsen emphasizes that the interior will not be “extremely chic”. “There will be no golden roosters,” she says when asked. “We will never approve of that.” 70 percent of the renovation also consists of rectification of building defects and conditions such as cable routing, air ventilation and better security.

See here an artist’s impression of the interior of the renovated House of Representatives:

  • The State’s Estate Agent (RVB)

    Design of a quiet room in the House of Representatives House of Representatives
  • The State’s Estate Agent (RVB)

    Design of a workspace in the House of Representatives
  • The State’s Estate Agent (RVB)

    The plenary hall is largely unchanged
  • The State’s Estate Agent (RVB)

    A sketch of a meeting room in Building H in the House of Representatives
  • The State’s Estate Agent (RVB)

    A design of a work area in the House of Representatives House of Representatives
  • The State’s Estate Agent (RVB)

    Sketch of the new public entrance to the House of Representatives
  • The State’s Estate Agent (RVB)

    Sketch of the new committee rooms in the House of Representatives

SGP leader Kees van der Staaij, one of the longest-serving members of parliament, is enthusiastic about the designs presented, speaking of a “dignified look”. “The past of each building has been treated with respect.” He is aware of the fear among politicians about the “megalomaniacal” renovation of the House of Representatives, when the OMA architecture firm Rem Koolhaas, who left in 2019 after a fight, was accused. “But this is definitely going to look inviting.”

Visitors to the Folketing will mainly visit the N building, the umbrella building, which also houses the well-known plenary hall with the blue chairs. Its designer, architect Pi de Bruijn, has again been recruited for this purpose and now wants to make it a “welcoming and warm” building. “The heart of the parliament must become a kind of village square where citizens and politicians can spontaneously meet,” said De Bruijn.

“Not licked”

There will be more benches and places where visitors can have coffee with MPs. The now very present security gates are kept out of sight in a lower-lying new entrance at Hofplaats.

“It’s not slick, but it’s a place where people feel at home and comfortable,” says De Bruijn. Little will be changed in the plenary hall, only the elevated part where the cabinet sits will be placed at eye level with the members of parliament.

No one dares to guess whether the renovation will actually be completed within the agreed 5.5 years. The final draft must first be officially approved by the House of Representatives. And users can also submit suggestions in writing. Perhaps the raspberry red carpet will be replaced by vermilion after all.

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