Police officers surrounding the Binnenhof in protest for better collective agreement (Picture: Twitter/@politieacties) - Credit: Police officers surrounding the Binnenhof in protest for better collective agreement (Picture: Twitter/@politieacties)
Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - 12:55
Report: Dutch Senate against parliament shutdown for renovations
The Eerste Kamer, Dutch Senate, is very much against the idea of the entire Binnehof in The Hague shutting down for 5.5 years so that renovations can be done. "Such a huge renovation is much more manageable if you do it in stages. The you can also better control the costs", a source from within the Senate told broadcaster NOS. This shutdown would involve the Eerste Kamer, Tweede Kamer (lower house of parliament) the Council of State and Ministry of General Affairs all being moved to other locations. "If your neighbor rebuilds, should you also leave your house?" The Council of Ministers are expected to make a decision on the renovation of the Binnenhof next week Friday. This decision has been a long time in coming. Last year it was announced that the ancient buildings have very many problems in almost all areas - equipment, IT systems, elevators and heating systems are all outdated. There are cracks and damp patches on the walls and fire hazards caused by exposed wiring and crowded ducts. The commission-Spies was established to evaluate these problems. The commission determined that the best option would be to shut down the whole Binnenhof and renovate everything at once. This option would cost between 500 and 600 million euros and renovations will take 5.5 years. The other option, doing the renovations in stages, would be 125 million euros more expensive and take 13.5 years. On Tuesday morning newspaper AD reported that the cabinet has approved Spies' proposal for a complete shutdown and that all parliamentarians and civil servants will be moving out from 2020. The Tweede Kamer will be moving to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Eerste Kamer, Council of States and Ministry of General Affairs will be moving to the Supreme Court building. It is now up to the Tweede Kamer to approve this plan.