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Members of the local community and students contribute ideas for the construction of the Humanities Campus on the Doelengracht side

In May, the University concluded that a smaller programme of construction would be possible for the Humanities Campus. The new criteria were presented, which will have an impact on the surrounding area. During two meetings held in May and June, local residents, business owners and other stakeholders, such as representatives of the Singelpark route and students, were invited to share their ideas and provide feedback.

What’s it all about?

In May, the University concluded that an alternative plan for the Humanities Campus is feasible, where the houses on Doelengracht remain where they are and the University realises a smaller programme of construction. In essence, the current Reuvens building will become a bigger teaching building, and the current Lipsius building will be demolished, making way for a smaller building for student facilities. A central green city square, adjacent to the Reuvens building and the new Lipsius South building, will become part of the Singelpark route. Visitors, University students and staff, Singelpark users and Leiden residents will be able to spend time here and meet one another.

Start of the participation process for local residents

The first meeting was held on 31 May 2022 and was attended by more than 40 stakeholders. Those present were informed about the wishes and the plans regarding the development of the area around Doelengracht and about the participation process. The attendees shared their concerns about disruption during construction and about future traffic routes in the area. Representatives of the University, the municipality and the urban design agency KCAP were on hand to answer questions.

Second participation meeting

At the second meeting on Monday 20 June, the more than 30 attendees were invited to reflect on three topics:

  • the heights of the new buildings
  • the routes for goods and other traffic
  • the layout of the square and its connection to the Singelpark route

In groups, the attendants – local residents, business owners and students – shared their ideas and potential solutions with each other, for example, about locations where buildings could be taller, the layout of the park with native plants and flowers and areas for meeting people and measures to reduce noise pollution. The attendees also requested that consideration be given to privacy, and they voiced their concerns about the new buildings blocking out the sun for the surrounding buildings. Attendees also shared their ideas about logistical routes for suppliers and waste processors.

The attendees appreciated the opportunity to have their say. The meeting also shed light on the complexity of the plans and the sometimes conflicting interests of local residents, business owners and students. It proved particularly difficult to come up with a satisfactory traffic route.

Next phase of the participation process

The two meetings yielded many valuable observations and good ideas.

The University and the municipality will take this feedback into account in the further elaboration of the Urban Plan. After the summer, a third meeting for stakeholders will be held to discuss whether and how the ideas gathered have been incorporated.

Development of the Humanities Campus

The Humanities Campus is being developed to provide modern and sustainable accommodation for the growing Faculty of Humanities. The Witte Singel-Doelengracht area will undergo major changes until 2029, in different phases, while teaching will continue as normal. Existing teaching buildings will be renovated one by one. Following the renovation of the P.J. Veth building and the Arsenaal, it is now the turn of Cluster Zuid. The new buildings will be equipped according to the University’s workplace norm. In consultation with the institutes, a process has been initiated to create an attractive and pleasant working environment for employees.

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