Dutch gov't complex Binnenhof needs serious repairs

The buildings on the Binnenhof of the Firs and Second Chamber, the State Councel and the Ministry of General Affairs urgently need major repairs.

All kinds of installations, such as electricity, air-conditioning, elevators and fire alarms, need to be replaced or refurbished. Parts of the buildings, such as kitchens and public facilities, are in urgent need of modernization.

This is written in a letter from former minister Mrs Spies to Minister Blok of Housing and National Service. Blok asked her to review the need of major repairs and renovations as the chairman of a committee with all users of the Binnenhof complex.

Minister Blok has not made a decision yet. He asked the Rijksvastgoedbedrijf, in consultation with users and the municipality of the Hague, to draw up a plan and a budget to make major repairs and renovations of the buildings.

Since the construction of the newest part of the Second Chamber, only minor maintenance has been performed on buildings and equipment. Mrs Spies concludes that major maintenance and structural interventions are urgently needed to keep the buildings in good condition. According to Spies delays are not possible.

Renovation is needed to keep workplaces safe and healthy. Furthermore, business is at stake. Technical failures are common place in the Binnenhof, which is in business 24 hours a day, and these will only increase without renovation. Finally, the fire safety of buildings must be improved. The entire monumental complex is at risk due to the lack of adequate fire-resistant compartmentalization.

Any renovation will begin in 2018 at the earliest.