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Questions about the new library

Do you have any questions about the new library and its use? Please see the following list of FAQs first. Is your question not listed? Please submit it using the online form at the bottom of this page.

  • 1. Why is UvA building a new library and why at this location?

    The UvA is clustering its faculties and facilities at four campus locations: Roeterseiland, Amsterdam Science Park, Academic Medical Center (AMC), and the final location in the city centre, the University Quarter. The University Quarter will house the Faculty of Humanities and University-wide facilities such as the Aula (Auditorium) and the University Library. In the years ahead, every effort will be made to allow the area flourish anew by restoring the old buildings and bringing back teaching and research in the humanities.

    This will have the new library occupying the very same site where the UvA began as the Athenaeum Illustre in 1632. The new University Library will be an inspiring meeting place where you can study, conduct research and work. A place where the entire academic community feels at home. The University Library facilitates research and knowledge sharing and will be presenting the UvA's humanities collection in an open bookcase setting. Its heritage collections are housed in the Allard Pierson. The library branches currently found on Singel, and in the PC Hoofthuis building and Bushuis building will be moving with their humanities collections to the new library.

  • 2. What makes the design of the new library unique?

    The new library will be housed in a former hospital – the Binnengasthuis – that moved to the Academic Medical Center (AMC) in 1980. The building comprises three parts: the former surgical clinic, the former nurses' residence and a new wing. The design preserves the character of the existing historic building, while adding a spectacular glass roof and a new wing. The three parts will be joined together to form a single building for the library. The glass roof over the former courtyard will create a beautiful atrium. The winning design was created by a combination of MVSA Architects and Architectenbureau J. Van Stigt.

  • 3. Which facilities and services will the new University Library offer?

    Humanities collection
    The library will present seven kilometres worth of books in an attractive open setting, in reading rooms with mezzanines. This configuration is a long-standing wish come true for the Faculty of Humanities: a single humanities library that includes all disciplines. The UvA's heritage collections will continue to be housed at the Allard Pierson.

    Room for meeting 
    The building is designed to facilitate teaching, research, studying and working. It also offers scope for presentations and events. The atrium, corridors, restaurant and rooftop terrace offer plenty of opportunities for meeting and interaction. There are also plenty of places where people can sit down for a quick coffee.

    Room for education 
    Education is one of the pillars of the university and therefore also of the new University Library. The former anatomical theatre – where dissections were performed in times gone by on human specimens – will become a lecture room. In addition, the design includes tutorial rooms, a classroom, a ‘sources’ room and a recording studio.

    Study spaces 
    The library offers a wide variety of study spaces. It forms an oasis of calm in the busy city centre with quiet study spaces where people can concentrate on their work, along with spaces for discussion, group work and brainstorming.
    Individual study is facilitated by securable one-person study booths and quiet study rooms where students can concentrate on their work at reading tables or tables along the windows, in most cases using their own laptop. The former hospital wards of the Chirurgische Kliniek building will be converted into reading rooms. By adding a mezzanine, these spaces will be used right up to the ceilings for the open bookcase setting.

    Group work can take place in one of the project rooms, which are equipped with a screen and means for writing. The project rooms vary in terms of facilities and look. For example, there will be a whiteboard room in which all of the walls and table can be written on and erased, and a space that is completely green with a tree in the middle.

    Furthermore, there will be four larger collaboration spaces where people can talk and work in groups. These rooms will be equipped with moveable screens and whiteboards and flexible furniture. One of these rooms is adjacent to a rooftop terrace with a view of the city centre.

  • 4. What will happen to the Singel, PC Hoofthuis and Bushuis buildings?

    Given the fact that many square metres of UvA buildings will be under renovation in the coming years, there is not enough room in the remaining buildings to meet demand. It may be necessary to use the existing buildings for this. Consequently, the demand for space and the progress of the construction activities in the University Quarter will determine the possible decommissioning of the buildings.