The Dutch parliamentary complex is to be closed for five years for a €500m renovation programme, the coalition partners agreed on Tuesday, despite protests from across the political spectrum.
MPs from the ruling right-wing Liberal VVD were already in favour of the move and now their coalition allies Labour have agreed to support the closure of the Binnenhof complex while work is carried out.
The decision means parliament and various support departments will relocate to the former foreign affairs ministry building for at least 5.5 years. The cost of the renovation programme is put at €475m.
An alternative plan would have spread the renovations out over 13 years at a cost of an additional €25m but would not have required a total shut-down.
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.
Work on the project is slated to start in 2017.
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