Making a building full of paperwork enticing for the general public is not an easy task by any standards. Over 125 km of archive material, 14 million photos and 300,000 maps are housed in The National Archives in The Hague, recording and preserving a thousand years of Dutch history. The archive is intended for everyone’s use but it has never been overly accessible.
A complete overhaul by Van Eijk & Van der Lubbe has resulted in a new and interactive interior that not only invites visitors to dig deeper but also shows them how. The genealogy department is introduced in a tangible way with an interactive family tree, while the land survey equipment is signified by huge touchscreen maps. The most visually striking is the parliamentary depot, an enclosed room where red ‘sealing wax’ drips down the walls, stamped with the official emblem.
Referencing the long history of Dutch design, Van Eijk & Van der Lubbe have mixed the past and present. 18th-century Makkum tiles line the walls alongside modern Mosa ones, while in the seating area, classic models by Friso Kramer and Rietveld sit comfortably next to modern designs by Ineke Hans and Richard Hutten.