Future-proof education in a green environment
Leiden University is building on its future in Leiden. As a means to achieving this aim, the University will be investing in excess of 100 million euros over the coming years in constructing the new accommodation for the Faculty of Humanities at Witte Singel and Doelensteeg. The University aims with this new Humanities Campus, closely linked with the University Library and its important collections, to safeguard the quality of its teaching and research for students and researchers. The campus, and in particular the new central square alongside the water, will become an area where students and staff, as well as visitors and Leiden residents can enjoy spending time. The square will be a pleasant, green space with, in the adjacent buildings, a number of facilities open to the public, such as a literary café and a restaurant. The campus will also have better connections with nearby areas, such as the city centre and the Singelpark.
This project has been given the name ‘Humanities Campus’. The area will undergo major changes over the coming ten years, in different phases, while the teaching will continue as normal. The biggest change will be the creation of a new central square and two education buildings. To make this possible, the houses at Sebastiaansdoelen will have to be demolished. The existing education buildings in the vicinity will be dealt with one by one. In some cases a location will undergo reconstruction, and in other cases the site will be renovated or a completely new building will be erected.
The first sub-project has now been completed. Following a large-scale internal renovation, the P.J. Veth Building, next to the Hortus botanicus, was officially opened in 2017. The second sub-project is the internal renovation of the historic Arsenaal. This started in 2019 and was completed in 2020. The whole Humanities Campus should be completed in 2029.
The vision: a central square within a park
The new area will become a campus: a central square that forms the heart of all the education buildings. The Latin word ‘campus’ literally means ‘open space’ or ‘field’. All the teaching and research facilities for students and staff at the Faculty of Humanities will as far as possible be located in one place in Leiden. The design encompasses an attractive, park-like area along the Witte Singel where students, staff and visitors can enjoy spending time. The plan takes account of the growth that the faculty has been experiencing since 2011. During the construction work, teaching and research will continue as normal.
Consequences for the current residents
The construction of the new Humanities Campus has serious consequences for the residents of the Doelensteeg housing complex, owned by the De Sleutels housing association. It will be necessary to demolish 58 housing units. Leiden City Council and the University are doing their utmost to develop attractive alternative residential locations in conjunction with the housing association, within Leiden’s ring of canals (city centre), and four possible locations for development have now been identified: Waardgracht (DUWO location), Langegracht (stadsbouwhuis location), Kaiserstraat (Plexus) and Paviusstraat (next to the Poortgebouw). It is important to the City Council and the University that good alternative housing is provided, which meets the residents’ requirements. Both parties are therefore keen to work with De Sleutels so that a suitable offer of housing can be made to the residents of the Doelen complex.
The University and the City Council will do everything in their power to ensure that the residents can move to the new housing of their choice directly, without the need for any interim accommodation. A Social Plan will be produced by De Sleutels, setting out the collective rules that must be met by any offer to the residents. Specific attention will be given to a careful relocation process and ways to alleviate any difficulties faced by the residents.