The Netherlands biggest shopping mall opens (some of) its doors

An artists impression of the new shopping centre. Illustration:
An artists impression of the new shopping centre. Illustration: URW

The biggest and most expensive shopping centre in the Netherlands opens its doors on Thursday, three years later and costing €160m more than planned.

In total the investors Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) have pumped €630m into the Mall of the Netherlands shopping centre near the A4 motorway at Leidschendam, the Financieele Dagblad reported.

The mall is supposed to present shoppers with a ‘world of experiences’ and a ‘lifestyle destination,’ Bart van Twillert, URW’s chief in the Netherlands. However, given the current lockdown, the centre’s cafes, bars and cinemas remain shut, and the 300 shops can only accept customers by appointment.

The retail trade has been hard hit by coronavirus and the subsequent boom in online shopping. Nevertheless, 92% of the retail space in the centre has been rented out, albeit sometimes at a discount, RTL Nieuws reported.

Retail experts say they expect the centre to be a big draw, despite coronavirus. ‘Shopping is becoming more of a day out,’ Paul Moers told RTL. ‘If you just want to buy something, you do it online. But shopping is a combination of buying things and eating out.’

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