National Military Museum

Felix Claus Dick van Wageningen Architecten as Architects

The National Military Museum is fitted with the utmost precision into its surroundings: the landscape of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. Like the step of a staircase the building bridges the height difference between the tree line and the airport heath. While the armed forces can come across as a closed bastion, the museum is actually designed to have great openness and visible technical ingenuity. In this glass box with an airy flat roof, plenty of room is created for a dialogue between peace, freedom and security.

The armed forces in one museum

Heijmans Bouw as Contractors

Heijmans has realized the new National Military Museum (NMM) on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. The contract includes the design, development, maintenance, financing, as well as the facility management of the new National Military Museum and the museum quarters at the former Soesterberg military airbase. A socalled DBFMO (Design, Build, Finance, Maintain & Operate) agreement in the form of a PPP (Public Private Partnership) with a term of 25 years.


More than a year of planning in many areas of expertise - from museum layout to catering facilities - preceded the realization of the NMM. The challenge was to incorporate the complex customer demand in an integrated plan. The Ministry of Defence evaluated the submitted plans in terms of architecture, landscaping and museum layout. A unique criterion was that the scores were based exclusively on quality and not on price. A ceiling price was established thereby preventing bidders from obtaining extra points by submitting tenders for a lower price. As a client, the Ministry of Defence has not prescribed solutions, but has merely set the various function requirements. The contract was awarded on the basis of EMAT (Economically Most Advantageous Tender): the most value for your money. This criterion offered maximum room for creative integrated solutions from the market.


Heijmans’ plan included a fully-equipped museum and landscape park, which will be maintained by Heijmans and provided with services, such as catering facilities, security and cleaning services, for a period of 25 years. We are therefore not just providing a ‘pile of stones’, but a ‘service’. This service comprises a fully-equipped, up-and-running museum with landscape park offering every comfort and convenience. Heijmans is also paid as a service provider: the operating period has meanwhile commenced for which, over a period of 25 years, a monthly fee will be received for our services. If specific requirements are not performed satisfactorily, the fee to Heijmans will be reduced. In short: the client knows exactly what he is getting and Heijmans has the incentive to provide the best possible service over a longer period.


What does this partnership with the Ministry of Defence involve? > Heijmans is responsible for the design and the realization of a fully furnished museum, warehouse and park landscape. The realization of the museum building has meanwhile been completed; Heijmans is now responsible for the maintenance of the building and the landscape, the catering facilities, cleaning services, security, ticket sales and reservations, shop, events, website and IT services for a period of 25 years.


> Heijmans is not responsible for the programming, marketing and sales (number and price of the entry tickets sold), collection management, staffing of the museum (employees and volunteers). Heijmans has brought various disciplines together for this PPP assignment. Heijmans has also involved external areas of expertise: from museum layout to catering services. Heijmans is the director and the partners focus on their core activities.


About the building The museum is a smart and sustainable building. Large column-free spans and a load-bearing facade provide a minimal construction which, in combination with a flat, strong floor and installation systems in the roof, allow a clear and unobstructed museum floor. The roof has been designed to accommodate suspended collection pieces. A variation of museum pieces can thus be displayed from a generous height.


The design is based on the sustainable (re)use of materials. Through calculating the life cycle costs, an optimum is constantly sought between initial costs, the minimization of maintenance and a reduction of the energy consumption. On the roof measuring some 27,500 m2, more than 3,000 PV panels will be placed before the end of this year, generating an estimated 750,000 kWh per year. This will supply 25% of the museum’s energy requirements.

NMM exhibition design

Kossmanndejong as Interior Architects

Kossmann.dejong exhibition architects has been working on the museum layout of the Dutch National Military Museum in Soesterberg since January 2011. This completely new museum is located at the former Soesterberg Air Base and comprises the former Military Aviation Museum in Soesterberg, and the Army Museum in Delft. His Majesty King Willem-Alexander opened the museum on 11 December 2014.


Kossmann.dejong exhibition architects was part of the Heijmans PPP consortium, which, in addition to developer Heijmans, consisted of Felix Claus Dick van Wageningen Architects, and H+N+S Landscape Architects. The new building, the entire museum layout, and the surrounding landscape have been designed as an integrated entity.


The total project area, including the museum complex, covers around 45 hectares. At the centre of the site, the large museum building is realised with a total amount of exhibition floor space of 20.000 m². Two museum concepts are elaborated on in the new museum. A ‘daylight museum’ is based on the ground floor, which offers a chronological overview of about a thousand years of military technology. And on the first floor a ‘black box’ has been developed, a thematic museum without daylight. Here, seven exciting, theatrical environments have been created. “The story of the armed forces” takes centre stage, including stories about the importance of water for our defense, about the present, past and future of the armed forces, about the position of the armed forces in Dutch society, as well as personal stories and dilemmas. A mix of media and education tools, among which models, films, animations, sound and theatrical, dynamic lighting, offer many opportunities to convey these rich stories in an exciting way.


Expected is that the new museum will also appeal to families and attract a broader, culturally inclined audience, next to an audience interested in the armed forces. Not least because of the extraordinary architecture and the beautiful surroundings, which offers a lot of other activities and experiences.

Representing the essential role of the armed forces

NMM as Other

The National Military Museum is situated on the former air base at Soesterberg. It combines the collections of the former Military Aviation Museum in Soesterberg and Army Museum in Delft. There are numerous pieces on display, including tanks, planes, armoured vehicles and helicopters. Here you will find all the information you need to plan an exquisite day out at the museum.


The NMM represents the conviction that the role of the armed forces is essential to our society. The NMM wishes to share this conviction actively by establishing and demonstrating links between the armed forces and society.


The National Military Museum is located in the beautiful Park Air Base in Soesterberg. There are lots of things to see and do around the museum. Take a nice walk through the park and let your children enjoy the various opportunities for play, including a real assault course, or enjoy the weather with a cup of coffee in the outdoor café.

Products used in this project
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct name
ManufacturersFSB
LED manufacturerCLS-LED
Lighting manufacturerPhilips Lighting Signify
Product Spec Sheet
LED manufacturer
by CLS-LED
Lighting manufacturer
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