Parliament buildings to close from 2020 for renovation

The whole Binnenhof will be closing for 5.5 years from 2020 for thorough renovations. The alternative plan of a phased renovation, that would take 13 years and be much more expensive, disappeared from the table over the past few weeks.

Sources close to the project confirmed this to newspaper AD. The three most relevant ministries - Minister Stef Blok of Housing, Prime Minister Mark Rutte of General Affairs and Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem of Finance - met twice over the summer to discuss Liesbeth Spies' report on the renovation. They decided to follow her advice that closing all parliament buildings for 5.5 years is the best, fastest and cheapest option.

The option of closing rebuilding the parliamentary complex over 5.5 years will cost between 500 million and 600 million euros. The other option, a phased rebuilding, will take 13 years and be 125 million euros more expensive. It also involves complications and inconvenience for those working in the Binnenhof while the rebuilding is in progress.

While the Binnenhof is closed, the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, will move to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, located close to the Central Station in The Hague. The building will undergo a 40 million euro renovation to make it more suitable for a provisional home of democracy. The Ministry of General Affairs, the Council of State and the Eerste Kamer, Senate, will be moving to the building of the Supreme Court on Lange Voorhout.

According to AD's sources, the Tweede Kamer wants to put ex-minister and former mayor Wim Deetman, age 70, in charge of the project, but the cabinet circles have doubts about this choice. His age is one of the main concerns. Blok will be able to appoint a successor for Spies if the Tweede Kamer approves the shorter renovation.