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We are remodelling the listed Tweede Chirurgische Kliniek and the Zusterhuis building of the former Binnengasthuis hospital and combining them with a newly constructed section to form a single library building. This is a complex building project in the historic city centre of Amsterdam. The task of overhauling and renovating the monumental buildings requires structural engineering precision and cooperation with the city and surrounding residents. The redevelopment and construction will take several years.
The interior of the new University Library in 3D
The interior of the new University Library in 3D

In discussions and co-creation sessions with students, lecturers, researchers and other employees, the design of the University Library has been closely tailored to their needs. For example, this has led to a wide variety of study, work, teaching and learning spaces.

Encounters, studying and interaction 

MVSA Architects and Architectenbureau J. van Stigt are preserving the character of the existing historic building with the addition of a spectacular glass roof and a new wing. The emphasis will be on encounters, studying and interaction. Alongside the UvA's teaching activities, the new University Library will therefore constitute one of the two main pillars of the campus.


Artist impressions of the interior: copyright MVSA Architects

Basement floor of the atrium with study area
Ground floor of the atrium with service desk
Study hall with tall bookcases

Basement of the atrium

In the atrium, we will offer space for events, debate and exhibitions for anyone who is interested in science and culture.

Ground floor of the atrium

In the new University Library, a team of employees will be ready to serve all visitors. Library staff and information and collection specialists will support the students and staff, helping them to consult collections and find the right sources. Specialists in the areas of open access, publishing and copyright will also be available.

Study hall

You can study individually in lockable single rooms and in quiet study areas in which, together with other students, you can concentrate at reading tables or tables along the window. Some of the study spaces are equipped with desktop PCs. The former hospital wards of the Tweede Chirurgische Kliniek building are being converted into atmospheric reading rooms with bookcases all the way up to the ceiling.

The collaboration space in the new wing
The former surgical theatre will become a teaching space

Surgical theatre

The listed surgical theatre of the former hospital is being transformed into a representative teaching room. Classes and lectures will be given here, and we can also organise events or film evenings.

New wing

The library offers various types of study areas: quiet places where students can concentrate and various spaces for discussion, group work and brainstorming. All four collaboration rooms have mobile screens, whiteboards and flexible furniture. The collaboration room in the new wing is adjacent to a roof terrace. This terrace with roof garden offers fantastic views over the city centre.


The signature corridor structure of the old hospital and the terrazzo floor are elements that will be preserved during the renovation. The corridors will feature study spaces and bookcases. In this way, historical and contemporary elements are being interwoven into a single appealing building.

Seating areas in the corridors
The architectural design (copyright MVSA architects)

Façade screen

Like a light-filtering veil between the University Library and the surrounding homes, a façade screen has been designed around the new part of the University Library. The façade screen consists of bronze-coloured letters that represent a sentence from Martinus Nijhoff's poem ‘Awater’. The sentence ‘Lees maar, er staat niet wat er staat’ (Read on, it does not say what it says) has been translated into the 24 languages in which the UvA teaches. The façade screen is the unique result of the collaboration between the architect, the letter designer, the producer and the UvA.

Guided tours

Guided tours for specific groups of UvA staff or those directly involved can be requested via

Infographic: Facts & figures about the new University Library
Facts & figures about the new University Library

The new University Library will house around 300,000 books, amounting to around 7 kilometres if they were all lined up. Curious to find out which other facilities you can expect in the new University Library? View the infographic with facts and figures.