Zuiderpark Sports Campus nearing completion

What began more than 10 years ago as an ambition statement under the inspiring guidance of former Academy Director for Sports Studies John van den Berg is soon to become a reality 11 years later with the completion of the Zuiderpark Sports Campus at the end of February. The Teacher Education in Physical Education (HALO) and Sports Studies (formerly Sports Management) degree programmes will be relocating to Zuiderpark this summer.

It had been known for some time that ADO Den Haag would be trading the Zuiderpark Stadium for a new stadium just outside of The Hague, as the stadium was scheduled to be demolished after more than 80 years of use. In 2006, John van den Berg was one of the initiators of a plan to build a centre for sports, exercise and education at this location. The Municipality of The Hague, The Hague University of Applied Sciences and the ROC Mondriaan regional training centre shared this ambition and the Vestia Housing Corporation joined them for the more commercial aspects.

The Municipality of The Hague saw this as an excellent opportunity to pursue its sports ambitions. After all, since the loss of the Houtrusthallen, there were no longer any quality indoor facilities available. In addition, the Zuiderpark area was in need of regeneration (later dubbed a ‘problem neighbourhood’). The Zuiderpark had already been beautifully renovated and the location of the stadium itself had been designated for sports and recreation.

With the start of the Sports Management degree programme, the THUAS campus on Laan van Poot had not only become too cramped in terms of capacity, but the building itself was more than 60 years old. Besides, almost all physical education teacher training programmes in the Netherlands were housed in attractive sports facilities.

So The Hague University of Applied Sciences, the ROC Mondriaan regional training centre, the Municipality of The Hague and Vestia developed a joint plan that was translated into a fantastic design by FaulknerBrowns Architects. Universities of applied sciences and senior secondary vocational education institutions work together in the sports professional sector and will be getting the surrounding neighbourhoods moving with an ambiance of top and mixed sports. Vestia was to exploit the commercial aspects, including sports medical facilities and a short-stay accommodation,

but the project came to a halt in 2012 when Vestia became at risk of collapsing under the obligations of an enormous derivatives portfolio. After lengthy negotiations and a downsizing of the original design, Ballast Nedam finally kicked off construction in March 2015.

The building will be completed at the end of February, officially opened at the end of June and, in September, the Teacher Education in Physical Education, Sports Studies and Lifestyle, Sports Management (Mondriaan) degree programmes will start instructing students at the Zuiderpark Sports Campus. Research will also be conducted in this brand-new, ultramodern accommodation (Healthy Lifestyle in a Supporting Environment Research Group, Gym of the Future) and teams of students of universities of applied sciences and senior secondary vocational education will be getting the neighbourhood moving as ‘team players’.

The sports campus will also serve as the training base for Beach Volleyball Team Holland and will be known as the national Centre for Top Sports and Education (CTO).

Watch the video below in which Teacher Education in Physical Education student Meine Paardenkoper and Sports Studies student Julie Klaasse talk about their expectations of the Zuiderpark Sports Campus.


Bas Schrijver

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