De Resident Ministry of VWS and SZW

In a multi disciplinary team with cepezed and Antea Group HofmanDujardin connected and renovated two existing office towers in the center of The Hague. Known as ‘De Resident’ the new 60.000m² office houses the combined Ministries of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) and Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS). From the light and welcoming entrance in the atrium new stairs, bridges and voids give access to the lower five floors where a great variety of meeting areas, work zones and restaurants can be found. The fifth floor of both Helicon and Castalia are dedicated to the offices of the ministers and their staff. The regular office floors can be found between the 6th and 20th floor. The highest floor of Castalia is reserved for a shared meeting center with grand views of The Hague.

On Tuesday 10th of November 2015, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander officially opened De Resident in The Hague. The building, which houses the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, features a glass roof as a connection between the two ministries and an atrium as the joint entrance. After the opening His Majesty was given a tour of the new building where he met with numerous employees from various departments as well as visited the Petit Café De Resident.

The original Resident offices were designed by American architect Michael Graves and Dutch architect Sjoerd Soeters. Both architects are known for their Post-Modernist designs. Sjoerd Soeters found his inspiration for Helicon in New York’s Manhattan and in The Hague itself. The horizontal white lines are an important element in many The Hague neighborhoods. When designing the facade of Castalia, Michael Graves was inspired by the traditional Dutch Canal houses. According to an extensive culture historic study that was done on the interior of Castalia, Graves is said to have used the Italian classical renaissance palazzo as a reference.

'Hey Graves, I see what you did there'

Arjen Aarnoudse | senior architect HofmanDujardin

On the Sunday after handing over the definitive design to the Central Government Real Estate Agency, Arjen Aarnoudse, Senior Architect at HofmanDujardin, visited the newly opened Rijksmuseum and posted a photo of a painting by De Hoog, a famous Dutch painter. In this painting a floor can be seen which has a remarkable resemblance to the tile patterns that can be found on the fourth floor of Castalia. Could it be that Graves found his inspiration not in an Italian Classical palace but in famous Dutch art. Triggered by this resemblance HofmanDujardin started a research in which many other references to Dutch art and architecture were found in the interior architecture of Castalia. Alongside De Hoog, Graves was inspired by paintings from Vermeer, by architecture from famous Dutch architect Berlage and by art from Escher.

One of the most spectacular flooring designs you will ever see @ Ministry of VWS & Ministry of SZW Offices.

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Similarities between the existing post-modern interior and Dutch classic artists such as Vermeer, De Hoog and Berlage.

Enlarging Dutch Classics

Inspired by Graves’s enlarging of Dutch classics HofmanDujardin used this theme as a concept to enrich and improve the colors and materials in the interior design. Paintings from famous traditional and modern Dutch painters were selected related to the identities of both Ministries. For each floor of the combined offices a different painting was selected, resulting in a selection consisting of over 30 different paintings. For the Castalia offices for the Ministry of VWS the paintings were selected on the theme ‘health and leisure’. Paintings with the theme ‘work’ were chosen for the Helicon office floors of the Ministry of SZW.

The process of Enlarging Dutch Classics

Each of these selected paintings was enlarged to the size of the floor. The painting then was translated into 50x50cm carpet tiles and projected onto the floor plan. For this 70 additional carpet colors were developed with the chosen carpet supplier to be able to transmit all the beautiful tones of the paintings. The carpet patterns are used at specific locations in the closed rooms.
This approach resulted in over 300 unique floor patterns throughout the offices and meeting areas. A great diversity of lively, dynamic and colorful floor patterns is the result.

Paintings and floors


Project De Resident Ministry of VWS and SZW
Client Central Government Real Estate Agency
Location The Hague Netherlands
Surface 60.000m²
Date 2013-2015
Design atrium and design coordination cepezed
Design interior HofmanDujardin
Project management Stevens van Dijck
Consultant construction Antea Group
Consultant installation Antea Group
Consultant light design Studio Rublek
Contractor Heijmans Utiliteitsbouw
Contractor installations ETB Vos
Contractor millwork Retera
Special carpets Desso
Photography Matthijs van Roon