TRACES OF EARLIER TIMES
Since 1874, Museum De Lakenhal has been housed in a gorgeous, historical city palace: de Laecken-Halle, which was built in 1640 by renowned architect Arent van ’s-Gravesande. The structure is one of the best examples of Dutch Golden Age architecture in the country. For centuries, it served as the inspection hall for woollen cloth fabrics made in Leiden, which were subsequently exported to the far corners of the world. The original façade of the hall is still completely intact, but the interior has undergone significant changes over the centuries.
- In 1868 work began to transform the hall into a city museum, led by municipal architect J.W. Schaap.
- In 1890 a new exhibition wing was added, featuring a stylish skylight: the Harteveltzaal.
- In 1922 the museum’s exhibition surface doubled in size with the construction of the Papevleugel.
This process created a palette of structural components from different periods. The restoration programme will therefore seek to create a balance between these different layers, sticking to the principle of ‘unity in diversity’. Starting in a central courtyard, the Achterplaets, four distinct parts of the museum will be visible and open to the public. This will give each section of the museum its own character: the seventeenth century cloth hall, the nineteenth century art halls, the twentieth century Papevleugel and, of course, the new twenty-first century exhibition halls. This will also help visitors find their way through the museum.
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AN OVERVIEW OF A VISIT TO MUSEUM DE LAKENHAL
What will your visit to Museum De Lakenhal be like after the reopening? Like before, you'll entrance the museum through the old cloth hall on the Oude Singel. You'll enter the open air forecourt and enjoy the view of the completely restored monumental seventeenth century façade. On sunny days, you can sit down and enjoy a drink here: this stately forecourt will be the new museum cafe's terrace. Behind the front door, you'll find the entry area where you buy tickets and wander through the museum store. Especially remarkable is that, aside from other artisanal fabric products, the New Leiden Cloth is on sale per full metre.
Every visit starts in the central orientation hall, the Achterplaets. From here, you choose to visit the new exhibition wing or take a tour through our regular collection. There you'll find all the favourites and masterpieces: the Last Judgment by Lucas van Leyden, Rembrandt’s The Spectacle Pedlar, Flowers and Leaves by Floris Verster and the abstract paintings by Theo van Doesburg. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to visit while a special activity takes place: a tour through the collection, a lecture by the curator in the auditorium, or a drawing workshop in the studio.
Museum De Lakenhal is the museum of the arts, artistry and history of Leiden. It’s both classical and modern and the collection is both surprising and of constant high quality. Museum De Lakenhal inspires, connects and renews!discover the online collection
[…] Proud of our history, proud of the beauty of the city. Museum De Lakenhal is filled with our own history and is therefore of immense importance to Leiden. Today, we are also seeing the future. Because with this design, our museum has literally and figuratively found the necessary space to grow and I’m sure more people will visit Leiden for our knowledge, our culture and our Lakenhal.
city council member Robert Strijk
The restoration programme is focused on the 17th century Laecken-Halle and the so-called Achterplaets. The architects will restore the noble simplicity of this majestic labour palace to its former glory. The original H-shaped floorplan will also become more visible. By restoring the central courtyard, the Achterplaets, an open orientation space will be created. From this location, all the now separate sections of the museum can be entered: the new exhibition wing and the cloth hall with the Papevleugel, which houses the regular collection.
More information can be found in the restoration vision.restoration vision
EMBEDDED IN THE BUILDING
Since the museum opened its doors in 1874, many of the interior design elements have been embedded into the building. This is the so-called permanently attached collection. Its historical value is enormous, and therefore this collection will play an important role within the restoration project.
Find out more in the interview with Prosper de Jong, curator of applied arts, on the museum blog.blog
special attention: Joristrap
A monumental staircase was incorporated into the interior in the 19th century. This Joristrap, which forms an interconnected ensemble with the 16th century Gravenramen or Count Windows, is an invaluable part of the museum architecture. To make the forthcoming Achterplaets as open as possible, this staircase will have to be moved in its entirety. While ensuring that it keeps its original interior, the ensemble will be transported from its current location at the north side of the hall, to the west side of the hall. This way, it will continue to act as a corridor between the first and second floors, while also uniting the twelve Gravenramen in a panorama of natural light.
For more information, download and read the following documents (Dutch only):
2 February 2016press statement government architect
25 January 2016advice replacement joristrap Rijksbouwmeester
12 November 2015note Joristrap
12 November 2015press statement government architect
EXPANSION WITH NEW STRUCTURE
A new building will be added to Museum De Lakenhal, located at the rear side of the cloth hall with a new façade on the Lammermarktplein. This will house two new exhibition halls, both looking out over the city. The design of this new wing relies on a modern interpretation of the clay brick architecture of the existing museum structures. The shape and scale of the forthcoming structure has been inspired by the historical buildings in the surrounding area. For centuries, this section of Leiden has been home to rows of streets filled with tall and small façades, all built next to each other without a discernible pattern.
This is a design that enables Museum De Lakenhal to look to the future. It brings the present and past together in an intelligent fashion, creating a modern and daring result that perfectly matches the museum’s identity.
Meta Knol, director Museum De Lakenhal
VISITORS ARE GIVEN ALL THE ROOM THEY NEED
This restoration and expansion programme will also greatly improve all visitor facilities at Museum De Lakenhal. A gorgeous new entry area will be realised in the Laecken-Halle’s vestibule, while a complete café and a museum shop with an original assortment will also be created. Lectures and other events will be organized in the new auditorium (120 seats). In the Studio, young and old visitors can gather to participate in workshops, school visits and family activities. All these areas can be found on the ground floor of the museum.
AREA DEVELOPMENT: CULTURAL DISTRICT
With the new rear façade ready in 2019, Museum De Lakenhal will reach the Lammermarkt, which is scheduled to become a lively cultural square upon the completion of the underground parking garage. This square will become a green oasis in the country’s longest city park: the Singelpark. The Museum occupies a central position in Leiden’s Cultural District: an area stretching from Molen De Valk to Museum Boerhaave, encompassing artistic breeding ground Scheltema, music and theatre company De Veenfabriek, music centre De Nobel, Leiden’s Theatre, the new Kijkhuis and Theater Imperium. Though the historical Laecken-Halle has a clear view of the ‘old city’, its expansions will become the face of the ‘young city.’
DESTROYED HOUSE LEIDEN
In the summer of 2015, visual artist Marjan Teeuwen was commissioned by Museum De Lakenhal to turn four homes on the Lammermarkt, all earmarked for demolition, into a monumental installation. This project became a temporal, but significant tribute to these historical structures. Photos of the installation have been added to the museum collection, and will be exhibited on the exact location of the houses once the museum reopens.MORE ABOUT DESTROYED HOUSE
watch the video
THE PUZZLE OF LEIDEN
City theatre group PS|Theater has been working on ‘The Puzzle of Leiden’ since 2014: theatrical portraits of key figures in and around the Lammermarkt square. Aside from butcher’s shop Mabroek and ‘The Buurvrouw’, Museum De Lakenhal has now also been included.
THE PROJECT TEAM
The starting signal for the restoration and expansion of Museum De Lakenhal was given in 2009, with the city council decision ‘Lakenhal op Orde’. Since that time, the museum and the municipality have been working together to realize the project. More information and documents can be found on the website of the Municipality of Leiden, including the decisions and the destination plans for the Lammermarkt.MORE INFORMATION VIA THE MUNICIPALITY OF LEIDEN
Nowadays Leiden is calling itself the ‘City of Discoveries’ and Museum De Lakenhal is definitely one of the treasures of the city that is worth seeking out. And the city wants the museum to be an even larger attraction. There is more than enough to exhibit, more than enough power and creativity to assemble fantastic exhibitions. Only the size and the quality of the structure itself fails to match this ambition. That’s why the city has decided to provide the necessary funds for the restoration and expansion of the museum, despite the financially difficult times that also face Leiden. I truly hope that the other parties will support us and work to make this fantastic museum ready for the future.
Mayor Henri Lenferink
THE TEAM OF ARCHITECTS
A diverse team of architects is needed to combine restoration and expansion plans in a single programme. Renowned London-based firm Julian Harrap Architects (JHA) has been tasked with the responsibility of overseeing the restoration, while the young, talented Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven (HCV) from Rotterdam has designed the expansion.statement architects
JULIAN HARRAP ARCHITECTS, LONDON
Julian Harrap Architects (JHA) can be found among the world’s best restoration specialists. For this particular project, the firm is represented by Robert Sandford. Previously, JHA has been responsible for the restoration of the Sir John Soane's Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Their collaboration with architect David Chipperfield for the restoration of the Neues Museum in Berlin was awarded with the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2011.
Find out more in the interview that appeared on the museum blog:blog
As an inspection hall, the old Laecken-Halle had a very specific function and is therefore primarily a practical building. Though the exterior is that of a city palace, the interior is surprisingly austere and reflects a ‘noble simplicity’. Throughout the centuries, various restoration programmes and extensive renovations have been implemented. The time has now come to reinterpret that construction history. We strive to make a selection from those elements that best represent the original atmosphere and style of the building, and especially those features that provide more character.
Julian Harrap Architects
HAPPEL CORNELISSE VERHOEVEN, ROTTERDAM
Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven Architecten (HCVA) is led by Ninke Happel, Floris Cornelisse and Paul Verhoeven. This up-and-coming trio takes an artisanal, sustainable approach to design to ensure thatdesigns blend in with the urban or country surroundings of new structures in a modern and logical fashion. HCVA won the ARCAward 2013 for their interior designs for the Noord-Hollands Archief. In that same year, they were nominated for the Architect of the Year award.
TEAM OF SPECIALISTS
The architects are supported by a team of specialists with plenty of experience in various specialisms, including construction physics, electro-technical and mechanical engineering installations, security, construction expenses and museum construction.
COSTS AND PATRONS
Leiden’s city council approved the executive plan for the restoration and expansion programme in 2014, while also providing 16,6 million euro to finance construction. Museum De Lakenhal tasked itself with gathering the remaining necessary funds. Thanks to a very successful campaign, more than three million euro has already been gathered in funds, with the help of private donations, an impulse contribution of one million euro from the BankGiro Loterij, a contribution of €790.000 from the Province of Zuid Holland and generous contributions from the successful Lucas van Leyden Patronage. Other contributions have been made by the American Friends of Museum De Lakenhal, private and governmental funds from the Netherlands, sponsors and other donors.MORE ABOUT THE PATRONAGE MORE ABOUT AMERICAN FRIENDS
Throughout the ages, people have fortunately always wanted to play a role in the preservation and the (re)development of what they consider valuable in their environment. After all, it is in their own city or village that they express their own cultural and social involvement, even though today’s world is much larger (and faster) than the one in which Leiden’s Cloth Hall flourished. The following generations are entitled to continue to be able to learn about and enjoy the precious heritage that was handed down to us. That is why the Lucas van Leyden Patronage is keen to contribute to the restoration and expansion of Museum De Lakenhal.
Elco Brinkman, chairman of the Lucas van Leyden Patronage