Redevelopment of railway station The Hague Hollands Spoor

Architectural refinement and spatial cohesion in a richly layered station complex

Ruland Architecten is involved in improving the functionality and passenger experience at railway station The Hague Hollands Spoor. As coordinating architect the office acts between the many stakeholders and station projects. The intended result is the restoration of the architectural cohesion, original refinement and historical stratification of this extraordinary railway station ensemble.


The Hague Hollands Spoor station was designed by architect D.A.N. Margadant and opened in 1894. Since 1991 it has had the status of a national monument. The railway station was originally designed as a ‘traveller machine’. Each part of the passenger route has its own function but work as an ensemble. Core element of the design is the experience of the train passenger; from the station square to the platform.

Over the years, the original concept and its spatial cohesion changed radically and has largely been lost. Particularly due to the growth of train traffic and the disappearance of original passenger facilities, such as baggage handling and various waiting rooms. Moreover, during two major renovations, in the mid-1950s and late 1990s, the existing architecture in the interior was almost completely replaced by a contemporary design.

A third major round of renovations is now underway. On the Laakhaven side, the station entrance from the 1990s has been completely renovated. The new entrance, executed in a contemporary architecture designed by NL Architecten, provides for additional shops, a bicycle shed and the extension of the existing passenger tunnel.

This important intervention in the structure of the station connects the monumental station hall and the platforms with the new entrance building on the Laakhaven. The pedestrian routes from the platforms to the ‘interwijktunnel’, an essential part of Margadant’s design as an exit tunnel, have been closed. The management of this ‘interwijktunnel’ has been transferred to the municipality of The Hague.

The integrated approach to the station hall and the passenger tunnel
Due to renovations, changes in facilities and years of intensive use, the monumental station hall and the passenger tunnel have largely lost their original refinement. The function of platform 1 will also be expanded as a stopping point for intercity and international trains. This requires a new lift to improve accessibility and an adjusted position of the public transport control gates. Moreover, there is no cohesion with the architecture of the new entrance on the Laakhaven side.

In the integral design that Ruland Architecten has made for ProRail and NS Stations, these sub-projects are subtly attuned to each other and to the monumental value of the station complex. The design indicates what is needed in the current situation to adapt and where new elements and materials can be added. The starting point is to restore peace and refinement in the station hall and passenger tunnel, creating a new connection between the renovations of the past, present and near future.

The integrated approach to the platforms and platform buildings
Commissioned by ProRail, Ruland Architecten is involved in the modernization of the platform pavement and the adjustments to the platform heights. The office has an advisory, designing and coordinating role for the integration of technical requirements and regulations within the monumental situation of the platforms and platform buildings.

The buildings on platform 2 were an important part of Margadant’s ‘travelling machine’. However, the current furnishings look dated and have no relation to the original rich 19th century finishes. NS Stations is looking at a possible redevelopment of these buildings in which the functional and monumental connection with the station complex can be restored as much as possible.

The integrated approach to the station complex
Commissioned by ProRail, Ruland Architecten has made an inventory of all current construction projects at railway station The Hague Hollands Spoor. The spatial assignments following from this overview have been identified with associated bottlenecks and gaps. The bureau provides recommendations for these current and future developments.

Based on this study, a ‘Kader Ruimtelijke Kwaliteit’ is being developed to safeguard the spatial quality of the station. In the long term partial designs can be implemented and adjusted within this framework. Two main points define the framework: restoring the architectural cohesion of the station complex and improving the passenger experience at this special station.

Because of its unique position as coordinating architect, Ruland Architecten has been able to put the architectural cohesion between the projects on the agenda. An integrated design is aimed at, in which the original refinement and spatial quality of the national monument is restored as much as possible. We are working with precision on a renewed and richly layered station complex.

LocationDen Haag
Year2011 –
StatusStudy / Under development
ClientsProRail and NS Stations, Utrecht
ArchitectRuland Architecten, Amsterdam
Photograpy / ImagesRuland Architecten, Amsterdam
© Ruland Architecten 2021