Royal Jaarbeurs | VNU Group announces 300M investment in a new venue and district based in the centre of The Netherlands

Royal Jaarbeurs, together with MVRDV, is today presenting its design for a new and contemporary trade fair, event and conference centre. "We believe that the plan offers fantastic opportunities for Jaarbeurs, the region of Utrecht, and its residents," says Albert Arp, President & CEO Royal Jaarbeurs | VNU Group.

A new Jaarbeurs fully equipped with all facilities for national and international trade fairs, events and meetings. Designed to the highest technology and sustainability standards. Innovative and inspiring, with a green roof. A waterfront with catering establishments on the Merwedekanaal.

These are aspects of the masterplan that Jaarbeurs Albert Arp, together with MVRDV, presented to the Municipality of Utrecht today. "With the new Jaarbeurs, we hope to be able to respond to the current and future needs of our clients, our visitors, and Utrecht's residents. We want to help build an appealing city, with the focus on livability and sustainability," Arp says.  The total investment for this ambitious plan is 1.2 billion euros. The investment of Royal Jaarbeurs will be about 300 million euros.

Livable, sustainable and appealing

The ambitious masterplan, created by architect and urban planner Winy Maas, MVRDV's co-founder, covers a completely new district of the city: the Jaarbeurs district. It's an appealing district in which to live, work and enjoy yourself. The new trade fair, event and congress centre is the beating heart of the neighbourhood. The innovative and more compact Jaarbeurs will be topped with a living green roof. Arp calls it an urban oasis: "A new icon for the Netherlands, for Europe, and especially for the city of Utrecht."

The Jaarbeurs district will be an important link between the city centre and the station on one side, and the Merwedekanaalzone and Kanaleneiland on the other. The Jaarbeurs Boulevard is its backbone: the bustling main route from the station to the Jaarbeurs and the districts on its other side. The logistics will vanish from sight and the new waterfront with restaurants on the Merwedekanaal will increase the area's livability, sustainability and appeal.

Passion for the city

"Jaarbeurs is a private entity that is not only investing in its own building, but also including the surrounding area in its plans," says Winy Maas of MVRDV. "This masterplan shows that Jaarbeurs has passion for the city and dares to venture off the beaten track. Badly needed, because the area is currently underutilised, while it has the potential to become a fantastic district. The plan is also an opportunity to improve the city significantly, and to create good connections to the larger centre."

Both Jaarbeurs and the city of Utrecht have big ambitions when it comes to sustainability and healthy urban living. The United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals are important basic principles here. These goals go further than the standard technical and green solutions. Arp: "For example, we're also looking at how Jaarbeurs can contribute to a greener and more diverse city, and how we can make our business operations more sustainable."

Starting a dialogue

The next step is to draw up a vision for this area. This afternoon Mayor Jan van Zanen received the masterplan. "Once again, and even more than in the past, Jaarbeurs connects the city centre, Kanaleneiland and Leidsche Rijn. Together with the city and Jaarbeurs we’re going to investigate how we can incorporate the plan in our ambition for Healthy Urban Living for Everybody."

This will involve intensive collaboration with all stakeholders. Arp: "Jaarbeurs primarily wants to enter into a dialogue with the city. We hope that in this way we can jointly contribute to a new future. For Jaarbeurs, the city, its residents, and our economy."