At the lifts there are guides called floorwalkers, there are leaflets with the telling title Route B67 and road signs are on the walls. The new house of representatives has made every effort to prevent anyone from losing their way.
The House of Representatives moved to a former ministry at the Hague Central Station in summer because the historic Binnenhof needs to be renovated. And the new House Building is rightly called a labyrinth.
The orientation is one thing, also acknowledges President of Parliament Vera Bergkamp for the official opening next Tuesday. “Its a building you really need to get to know.”
This is what it looks like in B67, the new Chamber building next to The Hague Central Station:
The feeling of being permanently lost is partly due to the work of the architect who designed the building in the early 80s. It didnt like right angles, drew as many wide-ranging angles of 120 degrees as possible – and people get confused about that.
Shortly before the opening, B67 works hard to bring everything in order for the Chamber Work. There was little time for the move and Bergkamp is proud that the “mega operation” succeeded.
There are still teething diseases and there is still practice in the plenary room to make sure that the first Question Hour can continue on Tuesday.
In the building, MPs, staff and journalists are still walking around a little bit. D66 group chairman Rob Jetten finds his new home with a bright room, an adjustable desk and a working computer “very bad”. His party mate Raoul Boucke calls the building “fresh” and is happy that he is now no longer bothered by mice running around.
MP Liane den Haan has had a lot to do with the floorwalkers, but needs to get used to a lot, she says. “All that grey and concrete. Its cold and unsociable. Its like a hospital.”
VVD MP Bente Becker brought a few plants from home. She was attached to the Binnenhof, but still feels like she is now walking around the House of Representatives.
The staff has remained the same, everyone knows each other and the way begins to know them. “History is in the institute and not in the building.”
The difference with the previous accommodation at the Binnenhof is big, says Chamber President Bergkamp. “There were the footsteps of kings and tombs. This is an office building with no parliamentary history yet. Thats going to happen. Eventually people make the building.”