For a long period, the Netherlands embassy in Brussels and the Permanent Representation in the European Union (PREU) resided on the periphery of Brussels. A strategic relocation brought the posts into the political and diplomatic heart of Belgium and Europe. The deputations are now housed in a building that dates from the 1970s, whose construction shell has recently been renovated. cepezed designed the interior, again in close collaboration with the art and interior-design advisors of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The building has nine storeys plus two subterranean layers largely intended for car parking, amounting to a total of 11,000 m2. It is entirely geared to sustainability and high-quality allure, with Dutch design, Dutch products and Dutch art again playing a leading role.
The existing entrance has been doubled in height, while a void has been inserted in the ground floor, linking that level with the storey below. In this way, a large, multifunctional space has been created, housing the canteen. It also accommodates a light, transparent winter garden adjoining the park garden to the rear.
On the upper floors, the office spaces have been situated along the façades. The zones between the office strips are methodically laid out with combinations of copy units, meeting rooms, pantries, informal spots and reading tables. These have been designed slightly differently for each storey so that each level clearly has its own identity. The inner walls along the corridors are transparent, while the partitions between offices consist of perforated steel with panels for acoustic baffling, flanked by transparent fitting pieces on either side.
The further programme consists of VIP lounges, VIP rooms and a VIP lunchroom, archive spaces, and a meeting room with a table at which no fewer than 44 people could meet at the same time.
The layout is flexible and easy to modify. The sunbreakers neutralize the glare of the sun, but do not eliminate daylight. The building has a ‘grey water’ circuit for use in the toilets.