Is anybody actually responsible for the chaos surrounding the renovation of Amsterdam’s
Rijksmuseum – arguably the country’s most important museum and a major tourist draw? The museum closed down for a major overhaul in 2003 and now it seems likely it won’t reopen again until 2013.
Of course it is a massive and a highly complicated project – but that is hardly an excuse. Ten years to renovate a building? The mind boggles.
The original completion date was 2006 but since then it has been changed five times. Work was originally held up because of a bizarre row between the borough council and cyclists about whether or not the cycle route under the building should be kept open.
There have been fights about permits and now this latest delay is due to a dispute with the builders over costs. As a result, the whole process has to be put out to tender again.
What no-one has quite yet explained is why the renovation began in the first place if a contract for the main body of work had not been signed. The builders say they want €222m to do the job. Outside consultants have told the government it should cost €134m. And the government is standing firm.
A government building project that will come in on budget? If it actually happens it will be worth the wait.
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