Opening September 2020
In recent years, The British School of Amsterdam has outgrown the three locations we currently occupy. The division of the school onto three separate sites allows each section of the school the space it needs but means the functioning and feeling of the school is split. We have always wanted to be united in a single building, combining a community of parents, pupils and staff with excellent facilities and abundant outside space.
In 2005 the leadership of the school began to search for new premises, where all the classes of the school could learn together under one roof. Following an intensive search period including two advanced but unsuccessful bids on other locations the school focused on the former prison buildings in the Havenstraat, which had come back on the market (thank you to Sandra Chedi). Along with a former parent and alderman, Hans Gerson, and of the architect André van Stigt the school managed to secure the Havenstraat 6 in Amsterdam Oud-Zuid by signing a Letter of Intent with the municipality in November 2015. After an intensive feasibility study with MMX architects The British School bought this magnificent site from the Rijks Vastgoed Bedrijf in February 2017.
The new site is a 19th century monument within a residential neighbourhood. The school has embarked on a major redevelopment programme, ending in the summer of 2020, to turn this historic building into a fantastic modern British international school with a capacity of just over 14,000m². The school will be open ready for the start of the new academic year in September 2020.
The new school building will be located at Havenstraat 6, in Amsterdam Oud-Zuid. Perfectly positioned between Central Amsterdam and Amstelveen on the border of the financial district. It is in the heart of where most expatriate families in the Metropolitan Area of Amsterdam live and work. The building has great access to the entire city, including the South, Central and Western parts of Amsterdam and Amstelveen. Situated near the Western end of the Vondelpark, the new location will be close to tramlines 2, 16 and 24, multiple bus stops and is a 15 minute drive from Amstelveen centre. It is also close to Schiphol Airport.
Using the several bicycle lanes, the school is also easily and safely accessible by bicycle from every direction.
After the government stopped using the Havenstraat as a detention centre in 2010, various groups used the empty building for temporary housing. Currently HVO-Querido rents the buildings for temporary housing of several groups of people.
HVO-Querido will start vacating the building by mid October 2018. By the end of October all residents will have left.
Custodians of a historic building
We are fully aware of and sympathetic to the cultural heritage and historical significance of the Havenstraat building. Since we first began the process to acquire it three years ago, we have been committed to preserving and commemorating its past. We stated from the outset that we would preserve at least one cell for historic and educational purposes.
Mindful of the significance of Hannie Schaft’s imprisonment there during World War II, we have tried to determine which cell she was held in, so as to preserve this particular one. Unfortunately, this important question has so far proved impossible to answer.
In our finalised plans submitted to the Municipality, the majority of the cells will be kept intact and visible. Others will be knocked through or altered to make larger classrooms, but with their essence recognisable. Out of respect to Hannie Schaft, the Dutch Resistance and all political prisoners worldwide, we will preserve a cell on the third floor of the former ‘vrouwenvleugel’ as a special memorial, which we hope to fill with archives and artefacts. This will bring to life the history that we will share with the schoolchildren and others.
Our understanding of the historic importance is reflected in our close relationship with the Monuments Department of the Municipality of Amsterdam, and our choice of architects, whose experience includes the renovation of the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank Huis. We will preserve the historic façade of the building as viewed from the Amstelveenseweg roundabout, restoring the classic view from the main road.
We are honoured to be the custodian of this historic monument, which had become neglected and run down. By giving it a new lease of life and restoring it, we will contribute to commemorating its important wartime past and giving it a positive role in educating the children who are our future.
The school’s Bursar (Project Director), Stone22 (Building Manager) and the Controller are the day-to-day management of the Havenstraat project. The Steering Group consists of the Principal, the Vice Principal, Project Director, Building Manger and the Controller. The Steering Group receives regular updates on the building project and are the main decision making body for the project. The Steering Group is chaired by the Principal.
The Steering Group keeps the Senior Leadership Team and the Supervisory Board of the school regularly updated on progress and milestones.
We are working with several organisations to ensure the redevelopment of the Havenstraat is of the highest quality and is delivered on time. We have chosen Atelier PRO as the lead architect for the new building. Atelier PRO has a strong track record in international school buildings. Recently they delivered the award-winning building for the International School of Moscow.
Van Hoogevest Architecten are contracted as restoration architects. Van Hoogevest have a tremendous track record of accomplishments, including redevelopment of the Rijksmuseum and Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam.
For the designing and landscaping of our outdoor spaces, we work with Buro Sant en Co.
In addition to these three companies we work with Deerns (technical and installations), IMd Raadgevend Ingenieurs (engineering) and IGG Bouweconomie (building cost advice) on a wide range technical matters. These experts have formerly worked on transforming locations such as the Anne Frank House, Hermitage Amsterdam and Van Gogh Museum into the beautiful spaces they are now.
Other companies support us in transforming the listed building into a state-of-the-art international school building. Among these are: Clifford Chance (legal advice), RechtStaete (legal and tax advice), Vierduinen (catering services), B-on-the-Move (relocation services and facilities management), Call2 (IT services), Lockmaster (security systems), NIC (procurement advisors), Colliers International (property valuators), Remit (financial advisors) and Flynth (auditing and accountancy advice).
At this moment, we are in the process of finalising the tenders for the construction work on the building. Very shortly we will appoint a demolition partner, a builder and a mechanical & electrical contractor.
The school has acquired a mortgage through Rabobank to partly fund the project.
Municipality of Amsterdam
This project would not have been possible without the invaluable support of the Municipality of Amsterdam. Many thanks therefore go to the Board of Aldermen and the Chair of Stadsdeel Zuid. Also a huge thanks to all the various clerks and other departments of the Municipality who have helped so much in getting us to this point.
Key features of the new building
In our design for the new school we intend to create an innovative and contemporary space which is both beautiful and highly functional. The designs reflect our focus on innovation, sustainability and pupil-centred learning. The result will be remarkable.
The new building will have space for up to 1,200 pupils, although through our design we plan to keep our ‘small school’ feeling. There are several features for the new building we are particularly proud of and will make both access and learning easier for everyone.
A lot of thought is going into how to access the new school building, both for cars and bicycles. The new building will feature a ‘Kiss and Ride’ drop off point along the Havenstraat, allowing parents of older children to easily bring their children to the school gates by car. The site will also have parking for bicycles. The site is a one-minute walk away from Haarlemmermeer station and is close to a number of bus and tram stops, allowing easy public transport access to the school.
A school must provide many functions in one building and our new building at the Havenstraat will allow us to fulfil this need. The new building will have space for offices and classrooms as well as wide hallways and galleries so children and staff can move easily around the school. The new building will provide a variety of different types of study spaces, from classrooms, to libraries and shared spaces where older children can engage in individual studies or group work. We want all our pupils to have access to the spaces that suit their learning requirement, as well as the social environments they enjoy.
The pupils will have access to a wonderful theatre where they will be able to perform for their peers and parents.
The sports hall will offer our pupils a modern space for sports and enjoy physical education. The space will be designed to meet the sporting standards for all the indoor sports that we play and compete in.
Varied outdoor spaces
The new building will give the British School more outdoor space than ever before. There will be separate play areas for each of the school sections, ensuring children can feel safe and secure during outdoor playtime. We have worked hard to incorporate a number of different types of outdoor spaces, from meadowlands to sand dunes, to areas for gardening and an innovative ‘insect hotel’.
Use of natural light
We want our new building to be beautiful as well as functional – a requirement which is fulfilled by the natural light that shines through the building. The skylight at the centre of the building will allow daylight to enter the heart of the school. The long corridors will provide extensive sight-lines to the exterior, allowing even more light into the building.
- 11/2015 – 02/2017 Feasibility study, funding and contracting Design Team
Design phase and contracting suppliers
- 03/2017 – 09/2017 Sketch Design
- 10/2017 – 05/2018 Preliminary Design
- 06/2018 – 08/2018 Final Design
- 09/2018 – 01/2019 Technical drawings
- 01/07/2018 – 29/09/2018 Demolition exterior building
- 26/07/2018 Building permit, including demolition permit interior listed building
- 15/10/2018 Preparations started for the physical building works
- 01/11/2018 Demolition work of the exterior buildings started
- 01/03/2019 Start building work
- 01/05/2019 Start of mechanical and electrical work
- 01/03/2020 Start of interior work
- 01/04/2020 Start of terrain work
- 01/06/2020 Start of relocation
Opening school and finalising last details
- 09/2020 Opening of the school
- The official opening will take place during the first term of the school year 2020-21
- 23/11/2015 Signing Letter of Intent / Agreement on Headlines municipality
- 27/02/2017 Purchase Havenstraat 6 from RVB
- 01/11/2018 Demolition of the exterior buildings started