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University Quarter

Q&A new UB

Parts of the construction of the University Library will be completed, starting in 2022, at the Binnengasthuis premises, at the Chirurgische Kliniek (Vendelstraat 2) and the Zusterhuis (Vendelstraat 8) buildings. Perhaps you have questions about the University Library construction, its design, the construction process or the construction schedule. These and other questions are addressed below. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please email huisvestingsontwikkeling@uva.nl.

  • Why is UvA building a new library?

    To encourage interpersonal contact and collaboration, as well as from a cost effectiveness perspective, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is concentrating teaching and research activities on four campuses. In addition, the function of libraries across the globe has shifted from a 'warehouse' for books to a venue for learning and meeting others. The new University Library will feature facilities that were unthinkable in the former library locations, such as study spaces and collaborative areas and rooms. There will also be an underground bicycle parking area. The entire open collection will be accessible at a single location.

  • Why was the location on the Binnengasthuis premises chosen?

    The UvA is constructing the new University Library in the former Tweede Chirurgische Kliniek and former Zusterhuis buildings on Vendelstraat. This location was selected after staff and students had been consulted in an 'academic consultation' involving two options, the Oudemanhuispoort building or the former Binnengasthuis buildings.

  • Why is the University Library moving to the University Quarter instead of staying on Singel, the canal?

    The University of Amsterdam is clustering its buildings on four campuses. The final campus to be completed is the University Quarter. Each campus has a library. The University Library in Amsterdam city centre will serve the entire University of Amsterdam. The library plays an important role on campuses, acting as their symbolic heart, a place that encourages meeting and exchanging knowledge between the various disciplines. This is why it is so important that the library has a central place in the campus. In that light, the library on Singel is too far away from the Faculty of Humanities, which has lost its department libraries in recent years. In addition, the building on Singel is very outdated and unsuited to today's library functions.

  • Who is designing the new University Library?

    The new library will be housed in a former hospital. The building consists of three parts: the former Tweede Chirurgische Kliniek building, the former Zusterhuis building and a newly built section. The design preserves the existing historic building's character, while adding a new wing and a glass roof. The winning design is by MVSA Architects/Van Stigt.

  • How long will construction take?

    The first phase of construction began in September 2018, involving stripping down the existing buildings and removing any asbestos, preparing it for further renovation and construction. In April 2019, work began on the new foundations for the University Library and on creating a basement in the Tweede Chirurgische Kliniek building, the former courtyard and the new building section. This is expected to be completed on 1 September 2021. Construction aboveground can then start, including restoration of the existing buildings and fitting out the interior and preparing for delivery. The University Library is expected to be ready for service in 2023.

  • When will the new University Library be completed?

    Take a look at the construction schedule to see when the various construction phases are scheduled to begin and end. The construction companies will deliver the University Library in late 2022, after which the building will be prepared for use; the related schedule will be announced later in the process. The University Library is expected to be ready for service in 2023.

  • What will construction cost?

    The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is investing €77 million in the construction of the new University Library. The construction costs are included in the UvA's Accommodations Plan.

  • How sustainable is the new University Library?

    This question can be interpreted and answered in a number of ways, since 'sustainability' has many facets to it. Explanation:

    • In principle, re-using buildings that have been in use for centuries is sustainability in optima forma. By subsequently merging these buildings with a newly constructed section, the new University Library complex will be made suitable for current requirements, making it future-proof for the upcoming century.
    • Sustainability aspects concerning energy, heating, cooling and power consumption have been dealt with in a smart manner in the University Library. Heating and cooling both primarily involve using water from aquifers located deep underground. Depending on the season, heat is either extracted from the water to heat the building or, conversely, the water is used to cool down the building by removing heat. The new University Library will not use any natural gas.
    • At low temperatures heating takes place, and at high temperatures cooling, with heat pumps being used to modify the temperature of the water from the underground aquifers, to make it the right temperature for either heating or cooling the building. In the event of an extremely cold winter, an electric central heating unit can be used to keep the building temperature at the right level. 
    • To minimise heat and cold loss, the floors, roofs and building facades of the new building section have been insulated. The new atrium will ensure that the facades of the existing buildings bordering it will no longer lose heat or cold.
    • The air treatment system of the building complex includes the option of using its exhaust air during nights and off-peak periods. The advantage of using exhaust air during these periods is that it avoids pumping in cold outside air unnecessarily, which would require extra heating. In addition, the air treatment system includes a system for reclaiming heat and humidity
    • The flat roofs will be fitted with solar panels.
    • Another option currently being explored is whether the glass in the atrium roof could have zones lined with electricity-generating material.
  • How can I ask any questions or contribute my thoughts on how the library will be used?

    Information for students and staff

    There are various ways in which students and staff can engage in the debate and contribute to the development. Find out more at participation. If you cannot find the answer to your question on the web page or in the Q&A, get in touch with the University Library.

    Information for local residents, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders

    Information meetings on how construction is progressing are held regularly for local residents. Residents and entrepreneurs are invited to these in neighbourhood updates distributed to all addresses in the vicinity. Find out more about the neighbourhood updates and the meeting minutes.
    If you have any questions, comments or complaints involving current construction work or any developments, please get in touch with the Area Manager.

  • Are you taking the interests of the neighbourhood into consideration?

    It is impossible to avoid nuisance. The environmental and planning permit includes what is referred to as the BLVC framework (BLVC: bereikbaarheid, leefbaarheid, veiligheid, communicatie; i.e. accessibility, liveability, safety, communication). This is complemented by the supervision provided by the UvA's construction management (UvA-bouwdirectie). Traffic wardens will ensure the safety of residents, visitors and construction traffic when construction is taking place.

  • How does the University of Amsterdam involve and inform local residents and entrepreneurs during the construction period?

    In addition to the neighbourhood updates distributed door to door and the campus website, the UvA has developed a special construction app trhat local residents and entrepreneurs can use to follow the construction work, ask questions and make comments. UvA area managers and the construction companies will answer to any concerns about agreements that have been made about such topics as the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and other road users. There is also a designated telephone number to report any emergency situations.