Binnenhof renovations have Dutch Senate and Parliament at odds
Renovation plans for the Binnenhof in the Hague, where many of the Netherlands political buildings are located, is leading to disagreement between the Eerste Kamer (Senate) and Tweede Kamer (lower house of parliament), according to NRC. On Wednesday a majority of the Tweede Kamer voted in support of the plan to complete the renovations in five years by closing the entire Binnenhof for that period. The Eerste Kamer, however, is in favor of keeping at least part of the Binnenhof open. "Most groups there find that the Binnenhof should remain at least partly open during the renovation", Senate chairman Joris Backer (D66) said to NRC. "And the Eerste Kamer is not only a co-legislator, but also a resident of the Binnenhof." In the Hague city council, the D66, CDA and Stadspartij want to wait on making a decision until all the practical and economic implications of the various renovation options have been identified. There are three options for the Binnenhof renovations: In the first option, the Tweede Kamer, Eerste Kamer, the Council of State and the Ministry of General Affairs have to leave the Binnenhof for the entire renovation. They will have to be housed somewhere else. In this option the renovation will take 5.5 years and cost 475 million euros. This option falls within the budget. For the second option, all the above mentioned bodies will also have to leave the Binnenhof. But everyone except the Tweede Kamer will be able to return 2.7 years later. The renovations on the Eerste Kamer, Council of State and General Affairs will be given priority to be finished by then. But the Tweede Kamer will only be finished at the end. In this option renovations will take 6.4 years and cost 482 million euros, still within budget. The third option will take 7 years and cost 525 million euros, which is more than budgeted. In this option the Tweede Kamer stays on the Binnenhof for three years while the other bodies are renovated. After that the other bodies move back and the Tweede Kamer moves out for its renovation, which will take four years.