Student - March 13, 2014

New hope for tropical greenhouse

Roelof Kleis

It might yet be possible to save the tropical greenhouse on the old Dreijen campus. A plan to build apartments in and around the greenhouse appears likely to succeed.

The plan is the initiative of Vandenbrink Property B.V., an investment company based in Ermelo. It is keen to build 80 apartments: 20 in the greenhouse itself and the remaining 60 in two adjacent buildings that will be connected with the greenhouse via pedestrian bridges. Underpinning this plan is the understanding that the greenhouse remains easily visible from the Arboretumlaan. ‘It’s good news that a plan has been submitted to develop the greenhouse into student accom­modation,’ says the councillor responsible, Lex Hoefsloot.

The investor has now reached agreement with Wageningen UR concerning the redesign of the greenhouse. Wageningen’s mayor and councillors are enthusiastic about the plan. The municipality is keen to keep the greenhouse for its cultural and historic significance.

Earlier plan failed

Earlier attempts to preserve the tropical greenhouse came to nothing in October of last year. Student Sander Onsman wanted to turn the greenhouse into a multifunctional educational centre. As in the present plan, home building was the financial bedrock of Onsman’s plan. He wanted to see 24 rental homes built for graduates. The plan failed because the investor withdrew at the eleventh hour.

Vandenbrink’s plan is considerably more ambitious. In any event, it depends on a provincial subsidy. Whether this has been secured will be known at the end of May. In addition, the current zoning plan will need to be changed to permit a substantial number of student homes.