Friday, 30 October 2015 - 11:35
State firm: Parliament buildings a fire hazard, need to close
The Parliament buildings around the Binnenhof in The Hague are a fire hazard. Bundles of cables and crowded ducts are concealed in the ceiling and the power lines and water pipes are located very close together. This is according to State firm Rijksvastgoedbedrijf during a tour of the buildings for journalists and photographers, broadcaster NOS reports. "The fire department considers this an undesirable situation" said project leader Jaco van der Vegte. "We have been keeping a close eye on it to make sure that nothing goes wrong. We have also ensured that there are adequate escape routes in case of fire." In addition to the fire-hazard-creating electricity problems, the buildings have a whole list of other issues. The roofs leak, there is decayed concrete in the walls, damp and panels are falling from the walls and ceilings. Last week a metal window frame fell of the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, tower. The historic Binnenhof complex is simply not equipped to deal with modern times. "It is now a 24/7 operation. Everyone has computers, mobile phones iPads; each needing a cable." Van der Vegte explained, according to the broadcaster. "It is completely unsuitable. Radical remodeling must be done." The government wants to renovate the entire Binnenhof in one go. In this scenario all the people working in the Eerste Kamer (Senate), Tweede Kamer, Council of State and the Ministry of General Affairs will have to move out for five years. The renovations will cost between 500 and 600 million euros.