Informative overview Restoration & Expansion Museum De Lakenhal

2016 - 2019

Museum De Lakenhal is moving into the future! On this page you can find all the milestones in the museum’s programme of restoration and expansion, ordered chronologically with the most recent developments at the top.

17 juli 2018

De nieuwe vleugel van Museum De Lakenhal aan de Lammermarkt wordt elke dag beter zichtbaar. Nadat eerder het witte geveldoek was verwijderd, zijn nu ook de bouwsteigers grotendeels afgebroken. Daardoor is het gebouw voor het eerst in volle glorie te bewonderen.

Foto's: Buro JP


Last week the scaffolding on Museum De Lakenhal’s front facade was removed. The exterior of the seventeenth-century ‘Laecken-Halle’ has now been restored to its original splendour, alongside the new frontage for the museum café. A juxtaposition of ancient and modern that brings past and present together.

For the first time in many years it is now possible to view and admire the museum’s front façade in its magnificent entirety. This had been hidden by scaffolding from the start of the restoration and expansion programme. And the forecourt had previously been covered for decades by a glass roof, which largely obscured any view of the museum’s monumental facade.

Foto's: Buro JP


On 16 March 2018 builders installed the uppermost element on Museum De Lakenhal’s new building. This was celebrated in a festive topping-out ceremony at which museum Director Meta Knol and Alderman Robert Strijk unveiled an ode to Museum De Lakenhal on a large scaffolding tarpaulin. The poem, ‘Laken’, was written by Wouter Ydema, Leiden’s former official city poet.

Photo: Buro JP


At the beginning of this week seven dish roofs were installed on the new exhibition wing at Museum De Lakenhal. A large crane was used to carefully place the 30 tonne concrete elements on top of the galleries. A spectacular sight.

‘This is a milestone’, declared Meta Knol, director of Museum De Lakenhal. ‘From now on we can go further up. We’re building three storeys on top of the large exhibition gallery and we can make a start on the brickwork at the same time. We’re looking forward to completing our remarkable new facade on Lammermarkt.’ Topping out is expected to be achieved in the early spring of 2018. Knol: ‘This means the contractor will be returning the keys on schedule, so we can fit out the building in preparation for our gala reopening’.

Photo: Buro JP
Photo: Buro JP


On Monday 6 March Alderman Robert Strijk and museum director Meta Knol struck in the first foundation pile for the programme of restoration and expansion at Museum De Lakenhal. At the beginning of the year, the keys had been handed over to the Nieuw-Laecken consortium of contractors. Activities undertaken since then include the protection of valuable parts of the building, the demolition and disassembly of parts to be replaced, destructive testing and preparation for construction work. Now the moment had come for striking in the first foundation pile for the new building planned on the Lammermarkt side of the museum.

This festive moment was celebrated in the presence of a group of more than 100 interested parties, assembled on the forecourt of the seventeenth-century ‘Laecken-Halle’. For the first time since 1992 it was possible to see this forecourt in its original state, as designed in 1640 by architect Arent van ’s-Gravesande. In 1992 it had been fitted with a temporary glass roof to house the ticket desk, cloakroom and museum shop. In the future, these facilities will be accommodated inside the historical building. The monumental front facade is currently covered with scaffolding for restoration work, which, when completed, will ensure that this unique exterior looks as it once did in the Golden Age of the seventeenth century.

Photo: Hielco Kuipers


On Sunday 16 October 2016 Museum De Lakenhal was open for the last time, with free admission for everyone from 6.30 am to 5 pm. The museum hosted a special closing programme with the radio show VARA’s Vroege Vogels, lectures, Art Talks and live music. The museum will be closed from Monday 17 October 2016 until its reopening in the spring of 2019.

Robert Strijk, Alderman for Culture: “The restoration and expansion of Museum De Lakenhal can now get underway very quickly. This will give Leiden the museum it deserves. With space for the permanent collection and splendid new exhibition galleries. This is where the history of the city is told. Which is why I’m terribly pleased that the city council has agreed to allocate extra money for this project. The museum makes an important contribution to Leiden’s flourishing role as a city of culture and museums.”

Meta Knol, director of Museum De Lakenhal: “There’s a long history behind these plans. Now the time has finally come. Together with architects Julian Harrap Architects (restoration) and HappelCornelisseVerhoeven (new building), Museum De Lakenhal will show that a classic museum with a long and illustrious history can combine very well with an idiosyncratic and contemporary image. Our fantastic collection of Leiden art, applied art and history will be on display again in the modernised museum. The public will be welcomed in a restored entrance area with all the facilities appropriate to a twenty-first century museum, geared to the public. We are looking forward to showing the results of this fine project to everyone in 2019.”

On Sunday 16 October 2016 Museum De Lakenhal celebrated the last day of its opening with a festive programme. The museum’s doors opened from 6.30 am with breakfast provided for all guests and free admission. From 7 am the winner of the Jan Wolkers Prize for the best nature book was announced live from Museum De Lakenhal in the Vroege Vogels radio programme. Throughout the day there was a range of activities: Art Talks by curators and museum guides, presentations about the restoration and expansion and a sparkling music programme provided by the ArtVark saxophone quarter. At the end of the afternoon the museum was officially closed by director Meta Knol, Alderman Robert Strijk and official Leiden city poet Wouter Ydema.


The restoration and expansion of Museum De Lakenhal can begin. On Tuesday evening Leiden City Council voted to allocate the museum the credit it requires to implement its plans. The contract to carry out the restoration and building programme has been won by the Nieuw Laecken consortium of contractors, comprising IBB Kondor and Koninklijke Woudenberg Ameide.


Please contact the Public Department at Museum De Lakenhal on: +31 (0)71 5165360