A tour of University Building Spui: ‘We’re about to create something wonderful here’
A sneak preview of your future work or study place. That is a unique opportunity. Over twenty curious staff members and employees were given a tour of Leiden University’s new building at the Grote Marktstraat and Spui in The Hague. This latest addition to the Campus The Hague building portfolio will open its doors in September 2025. At the moment, it is mostly an empty hull but with a little imagination you can already see the beautiful new building it is about the become.
Proud and full of enthusiasm, Erwin Muller, Administrator Campus The Hague, and Rogier de Bruin, Vice President UFB and Location Manager Campus The Hague, walk towards the stripped-down building with the first group of people. Wearing hard hats and safety shoes, the group is ready to enter the former department store. The demolition works are in full swing. Apart from the illustrious escalators, there is nothing left to remind you of the former V&D and Hudson’s Bay glory. With a big smile on his face, Muller shows colleagues and students around on the fifth floor. ‘It’s really becoming a magnificent building. I’ve been here a few times and now that it’s completely empty, things are really starting to come alive for me. We’re about to create something wonderful in The Hague.’
A collaboration building with grand allure
A complicated building, says De Bruin. The property is actually made up out of several parts, he explains during a presentation of the renovation plans. The aim is to fuse them together into a modern collaboration building with grand allure worthy of a university. ‘We’ll occupy four layers, the second, third, fourth, and fifth floor and part of the roof terrace,’ explains De Bruin. ‘As main tenant, we’ll take over about 60 to 65 percent of the entire building, the rest is for our partners.’
‘We’ll definitely be sharing the building with the TU Delft, Open University, and University of the Netherlands. The discussions with the University of Edinburgh and the LUMC – for the Health Campus The Hague – are still ongoing,’ explains Muller who emphasises the importance of collaborating with other universities and partners.
Historical elements will be restored
The entrance will be located on the Spui and the historical elements of the façade of the monumental building will be restored. More windows and skylights will be created, as well as additional galleries and due attention will obviously be given to sustainability. Flexible work and study spaces, lecture halls of various sizes, a sports centre, Beehive meeting place, and an underground bike shed with room for 1.300 bikes. The framework exists, the exact design and layout of the interior is still ‘a work in progress’.
For the participants of the tour, September cannot arrive soon enough. ‘I think it’s very beautiful, can definitely see the potential of the building. Although it’s still kind off difficult to imagine the final result,’ says Robin, student Political Studies and Secretary of SPIL, the study association of Political Studies. Whether he will be studying in the building remains to be seen, he says with a smile while enjoying the view of The Hague. ‘Perhaps for my master.’
University needs the space
Ernst Dijxhoorn, Programme Director CSM (Security and Crisis Management) and assistant professor at ISGA (Institute of Security and Global Affairs) is also eager to move in. ‘I’m really looking forward to being able to walk around in the new building. We really need the space as a university and besides, I really like these 20s era buildings and, of course, it’s a beautiful location.’
As if planned, the door to the roof terrace slams shut at the end of the tour and the company is forced to return to the fifth floor using the old Vroom & Dreesman staircase. A feast of recognition for the visitors. ‘Will this staircase remain intact?’ Rogier de Bruin laughs. ‘We’ll consider all requests.’
Text: Margriet van der Zee
Photos: Lois Kips
Translation: Marleen van Koetsveld
Sign up for the tour
Are you interested in a tour of the Spui building? We have planned a second tour on 8 June between 9.30 – 11.30. You can sign up using this registration form until 5 June.Registration tour