17 January 2019

Everyone should feel welcome at the UU

Improve accessibility of buildings

Toegankelijke entree van het Educatorium op de Uithof: een draaideur met bestickering voor mensen met een visuele beperking en een schuifdeur voor rolstoelgebruikers
Accessible entrance to the Educatorium on Utrecht Science Park: a revolving door with stickers for people with a visual impairment and a sliding door for wheelchair users.

The Directorate of Real Estate and Campus makes a structural contribution to Utrecht University's diversity ambition. The aim is to give everyone, with or without disabilities, the best possible access to the university's buildings and grounds and thus make them feel welcome.

What does accessibility mean?
This means that everyone should be able to physically reach their destination unhindered and independently, and should be able to use facilities. In addition, it also means that there is sufficient information available about the accessibility of buildings, grounds and facilities so that everyone can find his or her way.

How do we do this?
Within existing buildings, we are taking stock of the bottlenecks in the field of accessibility and how we can solve them. This often succeeds, but now and then it is simply not possible to modify an existing building. The monumental buildings in the city centre are particularly challenging.

Starting point
For new buildings, the architect is commissioned to design a building that complies with accessibility guidelines. Despite this principle, as a client we have to stay very alert. Legislation and guidelines still offer a lot of room for interpretation. This brings the risk that solutions do not fit in well with the needs of users.

A similar approach applies to outdoor spaces. A point of attention here is that the university is often not the owner of the outdoor space. That is why we have discussions with various parties, such as the municipality and transport companies. In this way we work together to ensure that the situation improves.

Online information
In order to give everyone a good idea of the accessibility of the buildings, specific information will soon be available online. On the building pages, for example, you can read more about the accessibility, presence and location of facilities, the degree of wheelchair-friendliness, contact details for assistance and any areas that are not easily accessible.

In discussion
In order to identify all wishes and needs in the area of accessibility, we hold regular meetings with faculties, services, specialists and experience experts (students and employees with disabilities). They provide valuable information to improve the existing accessibility of buildings and sites.

More information
Do you have any questions about this message? Or do you have ideas? Feel free to contact Jan-Willem Moerkerk. He will be happy to help you.