Former Central Library at the Oudegracht/Stadhuisbrug
UtrechtDownUnder 2020 can be found in the former Central Library and former Broese at 167 Oudegracht. The municipality of Utrecht owns this special building; the preconditions for sale will be formulated in a vision document over the next two years. In the meantime, the property will be rented out temporarily.
When in June 2015 word came out that the central library of Utrecht would be moving to de Neude it was perfectly clear that this was the perfect location for the next UtrechtDownUnder. The distinctive building at Oudegracht/Stadhuisbrug, in the heart of the historical centre would be ideal for the bi-annual art manifestation, an initiative of the Kunstliefde project team.
For who doesn’t know this stately building from 1850, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, full of historical land architectural details. How many book and music lovers have spent hours or days here on one of the vast floors? Up to 1975 it was the home of department store V&D and then it became the Central Library.
History of the building Former department store 'Magazijn De Zon', a national monument
The history of the building dates back to 1850 when a shop was built in the bend of the Oudegracht, commissioned by Vroom & Dreesmann, with facades on Choorstraat, Stadhuisbrug and Oudegracht. A design by the architect C. Kramm in a neoclassical style.
It came about in several phases, the new building around 1850 to a design by C. Kramm in the Neo-Classicist style, expanded in 1903 with a third floor, then expanded in 1909, 1913 and 1922-24 in a related style by P.J. Houtzagers. Finally in 1933 the old part from 1850 was replaced. Under the direction of the in-house architect of the V&D J. Kuijt, an extension was made in a different style in which Kramm’s work was renewed. The facades were provided with stained glass and sculptures such as medallions throughout the renovation process. As artists, A.J. Dresmé, L. Kamman and A. Termote involved in the renovations. The oldest – still existing – part of the building is the facade on the Stadhuisbrug and the Oudegracht.
The building was known under the name ‘Magazijn De Zon’.
The V&D remained in the building until around 1974, after which it became the property of the municipality. The building was then split up so that, among other things, the Utrecht headquarters of the Public Library could be located in it. There was also a design shop under the name Mobach (until 2014) and the Broese Kemink bookshop opened its branch there. In 1995 the architect M. van Schijndel was involved in a renovation of the retail area.
In 2001, the striking building was valued as a national monument for the reason: “of general interest because of its cultural and architectural-historical value as a good example of a shop building around 1900 with later extensions. Also because of its urban value due to its prominent location on Stadhuisbrug / Choorstraat. / Oudegracht in the historic city center. ”
In 2018, the municipality of Utrecht conceived the plan to sell the property in the future. The library moved this spring, as did the Broese bookshop, to the former main post office on the Neude.
[Sources: National Monuments, Wikipedia]