As society develops and becomes increasingly digitised, the role of the City Hall is being transformed. More and more, the City Hall is becoming a place for residents, entrepreneurs, clubs and associations and for employees. An open and relaxed place to meet where people want to be and can feel welcome. A place where ideas and initiatives are developed and where people can find answers to their questions. A place that offers space for society: a work café, a library and places to read, space to learn and explore history and attend lectures in the council chamber.

ZENBER was commissioned to renovate the City Hall in the municipality of Harderwijk and transform it into a meeting place with state-of-the-art services, in which connecting with society and bringing residents together take centre stage: in other words, the ‘House of the City’.

Stadhuis Harderwijk renovatie


In the public hall on the ground floor, an attractive and inviting ‘plaza’ is being created. This central meeting point serves a variety of functions and is home to the city service desk (Stadswinkel), a work café, the library, Sociaal Domein social and employment services, the Meerinzicht operations department and other city partners.

The ‘plaza’ will be a vibrant place for people to meet, clearly identifiable as the ‘House of the City’. Specific parts of this public area are deliberately multi-purpose and can be used for exhibitions (by the City Museum, for example) and events. Through this new interior, the municipality of Harderwijk aims to give a positive boost to its services and its hospitality.


The first and second floors are designed as working environments. A mezzanine connects this area to the public hall and plaza and a main route links the various zones in the working environment together. Each zone serves as a logical focal point, in which employees, domains and facilities are located side-by-side. These zones are positioned around free-standing units. Places conducive to quieter work can be found at the extremities of the building. The areas for collaboration and communication are sited near the main staircases, the conference centre and the lifts, enabling easy access from the various different floors. At the heart of these zones, there are ‘lounges’, where you can start your day and meet up with colleagues.

On the first floor, there are zones for public administrators, the various municipal departments, facility and operational services and part of the library. On the second floor, social and employment services provide a range of different workstations.



The renovation of the City Hall marks a major step forward in sustainability improvement. The energy label has been increased from label G to label A++ as a result of the renovation. This has been achieved through additional insulation, modern mechanical and electrical systems, triple-glazing and the transition to completely LED lighting. Cold spots caused by thermal bridges have been resolved. New window frames have been fitted on the façade, which are triple-glazed.

The external façade has floor-to-ceiling windows, connecting with the new Waterfront district and the entrance has been given a new look. As far as possible, existing furnishings have been reused and revitalised.

In addition, this House of the City has had some 1,000 m2 of new solar panels fitted on the roofs. For a building that dates from 1982, the transition from label G to label A++ is quite a remarkable achievement.

“Sustainable renovation of label E to label A+”


The ‘Hanzestad’ Harderwijk is beautifully situated by the waterside and has a rich history. The city, situated at the Zuiderzee at the time, joined the German Hanze. With the coming and going of merchants and commodities, there was plenty of activity in the city. Fisheries and linen industries have been important sources of income. Now, in the 21st century, the traces of this era are still visible. Some of the buildings are still there. The scenic inner city of Harderwijk was declared a protected cityscape in 1969 and contains a few hundred national monuments.

In order to make this rich history visible in the new work environment, we specially designed room dividers inspired by the fishing knots and designed graphic designs on glass films inspired by the significant national monuments of Harderwijk.


Client: Gemeente Harderwijk
Locatie: Harderwijk
BVO: 10.000 m²
Jaar: 2017

Project team ZENBER: Eric Wezenberg, Edwin Kamphorst, Ingrid Heijne
Building consultancy: PgL Vastgoedadvies en management

Contractor exterior: Van Wijnen
Contractor interior: Van Norel
Interior finisher: Verschuren interieurbouw
Lighting plan: ZENBER Architecten
Graphic design: ZENBER Architecten
Photography: Roos Aldershoff