The architectural firm Office Winhov has presented the first sketches of the new book repository that the KB National Library of the Netherlands is set to build. These so-called Provisional Designs focus on security and sustainability. The new repository is due to be completed in 2026.

About the design

These provisional designs give an impression of what the new book repository will look like.

The design of the new repository symbolises the collection of the KB. “The design is inspired by the image of an open book. This is represented by a curve in the façade,” says project manager Lisanne Viergever of the Central Government Real Estate Agency (RVB). The RVB is responsible for the construction of the new repository. 

The concrete walls of the building will be approximately one metre thick, allowing the indoor climate to fluctuate in line with the temperature of the seasons. This is safe for the books, and sustainable, as it dispenses with the need for mechanical climate control. “You can compare it with an old church in the summer”, says Viergever. “It can be really hot outside, but still nice and cool inside. The walls are so thick that it takes a long time for them to warm up. Inside the repository, the books will be stored two metres above floor level. This way, we know that the collection will be safe in case of an unlikely event, such as a dyke bursting.” 

A quiet neighbour

The new book repository will be built in the Harnaschpolder, in the municipality of Midden-Delfland. Local residents have already been shown the first sketches. Viergever: “We arranged a meeting in March 2023 to present the first two drawings. The future neighbours were happy with the high quality of the plans and the cultural significance of the building. And the repository promises to be a quiet neighbour, nothing like a regular distribution centre with lorries driving in and out all day.”

Once the collection has been moved, a few delivery vans will probably visit the repository every day, collecting or returning material to the public National Library building. The repository can house all the books, newspapers, journals and special editions that are currently in the KB’s collection, but there is also room for expansion. Items from the collection will be stored in containers and when needed, picked out of the repository by a robot installation. 

So what happens next?

Now that the Provisional Designs of the new book repository are ready, the next step is to instruct Bureau Happold to make the Technical Design. This engineering and design firm has been asked to prepare the calculations for the constructions and installations. The party that can install the logistics system (the robot installation) will be chosen this year, and next year tenders will be invited for the building contract. If all goes according to plan, the new book repository will be completed in 2026. 


More information

Foekje Boersma
Head of the Collection Preservation Department