Utrecht University creates green Arboretum park in USP

Fancy a stroll? Amid the bustling developments in the Utrecht Science Park (USP), we are working on a green Arboretum park that not only connects but also enriches. The Arboretum Park will soon form a green link between the centre of the USP and the buildings in the Northwest Cluster. 

Green connection; Arboretumpark

Image design Arboretumpark - Deltavormgroep

The Arboretum Park (working title) promises not only a green transformation of the Northwest Cluster in the Utrecht Science Park, but also an enrichment of the overall campus experience. The park forms a green runner from the USP buildings to the Botanical Gardens. The word arboretum comes from the Latin 'arbor' = tree. An arboretum (plural: arboreta) is a specialised part of the Botanical Gardens, in which the current and future tree collection is managed.

With the arrival of a Circular Pavilion as an entrance to the gardens, the restoration of the Hoofddijk and making the Botanical Gardens' tree collection accessible, the Arboretum Park forms an important link in the development of a green, sustainable campus. A place for relaxation and nature experience, for all students, staff and visitors in the Utrecht Science Park.

Bird-eye Arboretumpark - Deltavormgroep
Birds-eye image Arboretumpark - Deltavormgroep

Hoofddijk restored and addition watercourse

We will restore the visibility and the experience of the Hoofddijk, part of UNESCO World Heritage Site Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie by adding a watercourse. This important intervention should ensure that the Botanical Gardens will have a natural border with sightlines to Fort Hoofddijk. This will allow some of the fences to disappear. The Arboretum, the Botanical Gardens' special tree collection, will thus become part of a publicly accessible park. The park not only offers a green campus experience, but also serves as a natural transition between different areas. Restoring the Hoofddijk also improves water storage in the area. 

Fort Hoofddijk on a sunny day
Fort Hoofddijk

Design Arboretumpark

The design of the Arboretum Park focuses on preserving the trees present. Gerard van Buiten, Hortulanus at the Botanical Gardens, says: "Of course, we are extremely careful with our collection. To protect the more vulnerable plants from rabbits (and people with bad intentions), the gardens are behind a fence. This is an immediate disadvantage, as it means they can only be admired during our opening hours. By moving the boundary, part of our special tree collection will soon be accessible to everyone and at all times. Moreover, we would like to add 'Outdoor Learning Spaces' so that the Arboretum can become part of outdoor teaching programmes." The university selected Deltavormgroep from Utrecht to create the design. 


kaart arboretumpark
Design drawing arboretumpark - Deltavormgroep

Botanical Gardens

Thus, within the contours of the Arboretum Park, the Botanical Gardens play a central role. Together, the gardens and the Arboretum Park form the green heart of the Utrecht Science Park. The design and planting of the park create a gradual transition from the park landscape to the lush world of the Botanical Gardens. "With over 175,000 visitors a year, the gardens are already a perfect place to relax for many students, staff and visitors." said Drs Fenna Hanraets, operational director of the Botanical Gardens. "The number of visitors is still increasing and this development will soon make the gardens even more visible and experienceable from all corners of the campus."

With the Arboretum Park and the Circular Pavilion, the Botanical Gardens will soon be even more visible and experienceable from all corners of the campus.

Circular Pavilion

The Circular Pavilion, which will soon occupy a central position in the park, acts as a bridge between the public area and the Botanical Gardens. It will be the new main entrance to the Botanical Gardens, but also provide space for all kinds of initiatives related to sustainability and circularity. Hanraets: "The Circular Pavilion will be the university's sustainable living room where connections on this theme will be established. A place where science is shared and where public and science meet, both organised and spontaneous. There will be space for lectures, workshops, discussion panels and more. And all in the green heart of the Utrecht Science Park." Want to know more about the circular pavilion? Check the website or email circulairpaviljoen@uu.nl.


Utrecht University is working to strengthen biodiversity in the Utrecht Science Park. In this project, the Biodiversity Council is watching the plans. "The new Arboretum Park will contribute to restoring and strengthening the USP's biodiversity by preserving the tree collection, connecting different green areas and constructing nature-friendly banks. This nicely complements the biodiversity restoration plan of the entire USP." said the Biodiversity Council.

Phased development

Arboretum Park is part of the Area Plan North West, which is currently under development. The development also fits within the frameworks of the Environmental Vision USP of the municipality of Utrecht. The development of the park will take place in phases.  

Phase 1: Now - April 2024

In the first phase, the old System Garden will be cleaned up. In recent years, this garden has already been replaced by the Evolution Garden. Lawns will be laid, furniture installed and a footpath constructed so that the area can be used as soon as possible.

Phase 2: September 2025 - April 2026

In the second phase, the visibility and experience of the Hoofddijk will be restored by adding the watercourse. This will allow the fences to be removed from the gardens. The Arboretum Park will continue to be landscaped and made accessible. 

Phase 3: 2028 - 2029

The third phase will extend the park landscape by 'disconnecting' Budapest Avenue and removing the car park. This will be done once the parking facility has been compensated at another location in the Utrecht Science Park.