The National Museum of Education

The National Museum of Education
  • Culture
  • Public
  • Transformation
  • Interior
  • Restoration

The former office building De Holland in Dordrecht has been transformed into the National Museum of Education. Since the opening of the museum in the fully restored listed building, it has made a giant leap in quality and visitor numbers. The light and open space is extremely suitable for performances, receptions and other substantive meetings.

The building was designed in 1939 by Sybold van Ravesteyn for the fire insurance company Holland, established in 1859. In the 1980s, the building was turned into a supermarket - the original interior was totally demolished, the façade was extensively damaged and an array of volumes were added on to the original building. The recent transformation involved demolishing all later additions. The original prefab concrete façade has been insulated on the inside and restored on the outside. The entire façade has undergone concrete repairs, whilst the previously demolished prefab concrete elements have been reconstructed.

  • Design: 2012
  • Client: Gemeente Dordrecht, Nationaal Onderwijsmuseum
  • Location: Dordrecht
  • Delivery: 2014

Facade before-after

Facade before-after
Facade before-after
Situation for renovation
Situation after renovation
Reception desk
Exhibition floor with vide to basement
Exhibition floor ground floor
Light streets and inner fronts
Interior hospitality
View on entrance area

The concrete floor of the first storey has been reinforced, the basement has been deepened by a metre and an open space has been created between the two storeys. This has resulted in a light, flowing exhibition space of over 1000 m2. To either side of the monumental entrance an educational space and a catering area have been designed in the original architectural language of Van Ravesteyn. The management office on the roof has been restored to its original condition as a representative space. A new centrally located staircase and lift element gives access to the three floors. BiermanHenket has designed the café, the shop, the educational space and the entrance desk. The interior design was inspired by Van Ravesteyn’s lost original interior: open spaces, a lot of light and clean shapes.

The concrete awning over the entrance has also been repaired and protected against corrosion by a cathodic system. The window frames have been partly replaced by insulating double-glazed renovation profiles and partly restored and fitted with insulating monumental glazing. The original ‘Articon’ plaster work (decorative plaster incorporating natural stone) has been restored with existing sections being completed accordingly. The unrecognisably degraded monument by Van Ravesteyn has been returned to its original glory by an all-encompassing, integrally developed transformation. Building systems engineering, (fire) safety, maintenance, energy use, function and accessibility have been completely adapted to modern-day sustainability requirements.

Exhibition floor in basement
Sanitair souterrain
Lockers souterrain
Arrival open elevator first floor

The materials used require little maintenance and are user-friendly. They are appropriate to the monumental character of the building. The management and maintenance costs have been balanced out carefully with the investment costs. A thermal energy storage system is used to heat and cool the building, and all lighting is energy-saving. The ventilation system has been fitted with heat recovery. 

The rainwater from the roof is infiltrated into the garden. In order to arrive at a sustainable museum building, the GPR tool was used to balance out and optimise the aspects of Energy, Environment, Health, Quality of Use and Future-Proof Value. As a result, the National Museum of Education achieved a GPR Certificate with the highest scores. In addition, the listed building is the first museum in the Netherlands to attain the A energy label certificate.

Restored facade before the landscaping

Project team

Janneke Bierman Joep van As Armand Bos Maurice L'homme Henk van Laarhoven Elkie Goos Kim de Man Mirjam Steins

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