Universiteit Leiden

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Construction of the Spui university building in The Hague has officially begun

On 14 September the construction of the Spui university building officially began. This special moment was marked with a meeting in the former Hudson’s Bay building, attended by representatives of Leiden University, the city council, the construction and design companies involved and other partners.

Following a successful feasibility and design phase, the construction has officially begun. Martijn Ridderbos, Vice-President of the Executive Board of Leiden University, spoke to executive councillors, design partners and other stakeholders about how the project originated. ‘The idea for the Spui university building arose when a number of us, including Erwin Muller, Dean of the FGGA and Director of Campus The Hague, first visited the empty department store: a building in the centre of the city and the centre of the Netherlands’ political capital. A building where students, teachers, researchers, administrators and residents of the city can meet to learn from one another, gain ideas and share inspiration. We also realised immediately that we needed to do this with other partners, and not just as Leiden University.’

The partners working with us in the Spui building will be Delft University of Technology, the Open University, LUMC and Universities of The Netherlands.

Good mix

It became clear even in the feasibility phase that the location of the former department store was ideal for a university building: central, easily accessible and in a lively area. Another advantage is that the former store building offers a good mix of design possibilities: large floor area, wide column spacing and sufficient ceiling height. The university’s arrival in the city centre will attract more than 7,000 students a day, with no additional car traffic movements.

Erwin Muller (2nd from left) and Martijn Ridderbos (5th from left) with the partners of the future Spui University Building.
Erwin Muller (2nd from left) and Martijn Ridderbos (5th from left) with the partners of the future Spui University Building.

Sustainability targets

High sustainability targets have been set for the redevelopment, focusing on features such as daylighting: an entire side wall will be made with windows that can be opened. The use of green roofs is also important for the city council, the university and the partners. The design therefore includes a variety of roof terraces, and space is created for moss-sedum in combination with solar panels.

RYSE real estate consultants will serve as the delegated developer during the project, on behalf of CBRE Investment Management. The Spui University Building is expected to open its doors in September 2025.

Illustration: Impression of the new building.

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