Senate wants more answers on parliament renovation plan

senateThe upper house of parliament is not satisfied with the government’s plans to shut down the entire parliamentary complex for 5.5 years while a €600m renovation programme is carried out.

Senators agreed on Tuesday to summon housing minister Stef Blok, who is in charge of the plans, to explain what work is absolutely crucial and to provide better financial information.

Senators are not in favour of totally closing the Binnenhof complex for almost six years, given its role in parliamentary democracy. ‘Work has been going on here for 700, 800 years and business just carried on,’ senate leader Ankie Broekers-Knol told news agency ANP.

The lower house of parliament is also opposed to the shut-down. An alternative plan, to spread the work over 13 years, has a price tag of €125m.

Many of the buildings in the complex date from the 17th and 18th centuries, with the Ridderzaal (knights’ chamber) dating back to the 13th century. Parliament itself currently meets in a modern building, opened in 1992, but since then there has only been limited repair work carried out.

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