The Amsterdam municipal council has approved the UvA’s plans for the renovation of the University Quarter. Over the next ten years, the UvA will be restoring and preserving its monumental buildings on and around the Binnengasthuis site, in the heart of the city centre. The area between the Amstel and the Hoogstraat is being redeveloped, in collaboration with the municipality, with more green areas to be added. In a strategic master plan (SMP), an integral approach has been worked out together with residents, students and business owners, with attention being paid to accessibility, liveability and safety, among other things.
The UvA plans to invest heavily in the University Quarter over the coming years. The area holds a special place in the university’s heart, being the birthplace of the UvA and the cradle of science in Amsterdam. It was here, in 1632, that Barlaeus and Vossius gave the very first lectures on Amsterdam soil. PhD ceremonies have taken place in the Agnietenkapel for years. The centuries-old Zusterklinieken once became home to our political scientists, and, for many years, the Oudemanhuispoort was to our lawyers-in-training. Our aim in locating the Faculty of Humanities and several scientific institutes here is to strengthen the current humanities cluster even further by 2030.
Jan Lintsen, member of the UvA Executive Board: ‘We are pleased that after much careful preparation, we now have an approved plan that provides us with a good basis for the creation of an inspiring environment for education and research. We look forward to working with the city of Amsterdam and local residents to make the historic city centre more liveable.'
An focal point of the restored campus will be the new University Library (UB), construction of which has already started, with a covered courtyard, a thousand study spaces and a large underground bike park. The University Quarter will become the UvA’s calling card.
Furthermore, the restoration of these national monuments and the sustainability upgrades they will receive, ties in well with the City of Amsterdam's Aanpak Binnenstad programme for the renovation of the inner city.
The various buildings concerned will remain in use throughout the long construction period. The UvA and the contractors will make every effort to limit the construction inconvenience for students, residents and visitors as much as possible. In order to make the outdoor space as green as possible during the construction period, to keep it liveable and to improve certain aspects, parts of the area will undergo a temporary makeover, in anticipation of the final design. This makeover will be carried out under the direction of the municipality and in consultation with the UvA and neighbourhood.
In the SMP, a great deal of attention has been paid to preserving historical value, the adding of greenery, making the buildings more sustainable and adapting them for modern use. ‘It is not easy to adapt listed buildings to the modern requirements of a university and to do so in a sustainable manner. Major renovations and modifications will be needed to accommodate all of the wishes and requirements. I am confident that, thanks to an integrated approach, we will be able to meet the challenges and create an area that will be a valuable addition to the UvA and Amsterdam’s beautiful city centre,' says Lintsen.