Accessibility of buildings and grounds of Utrecht University

The main entrance of the Educatorium

If you are in a wheelchair or have another disability, such as being visually impaired, it is important to know how accessible the location you are going to is and which facilities are available.

On the internet pages Binnenstadscampus, Campus Utrecht Science Park and International Campus Utrecht, you can look up how to get to every Utrecht University location and see their individual facilities such as wheelchair access.

How is the accessibility of Utrecht University buildings for people with disabilities increased?

Accessibility is an important theme to Utrecht University. Translated to housing, this means that the university wants to provide everyone with as much access and independent access as possible to its buildings and grounds.

In pre-existing buildings, the departments Real Estate and Campus and Facility Services are solving bottlenecks in consultation with users. This often succeeds, but especially the monumental buildings in the city center can sometimes be quite a challenge. Small adjustments and serious accessibility problems will be addressed on short notice as much as possible. Big adjustments will be subsumed under specific projects.

For newly constructed buildings, the various guidelines and norms regarding provisions and facilities are taken into account from the design phase onwards. On top of that, these projects will be permanently monitored in order to safeguard the agreed-upon choices.

Luchtfoto van Utrecht Science Park

In order to assess the adjustments to the accessibility of its buildings, Utrecht University uses the following baselines as starting points:

ITstandaard

In the Integral Accessibility standard 2018, general accessibility guidelines and standards have been reworked into building technical requirements that can be applied in the design and realisation of integrally accessible projects. The standard is based on the Accessibility Handbook and various national and international guidelines and standards in the field of accessibility. Various specific interest groups and experts have also been consulted.

UU-specific starting points

For employees, students and visitors, Utrecht University accounts for situations that are not covered under the ITstandaard guidelines and norms, such as:

  • principles for accessible classrooms;
  • additional services where the physical accessibility is insufficient;
  • special test accommodations;
  • the availability of silent rooms.

Input from users and experts
An important sparring partner is the Studying without limitations platform. It is a platform for and by students with disabilities. As experience experts, they look at whether the adaptations in practice meet the wishes and needs of the user group. In addition, various discussions with specialists, other UU user groups or individual employees or students have led to new insights and further refinement of our principles for accessibility.

For specialist knowledge, for example about facilities for visually impaired people, Utrecht University works together with various advisors. Utrecht University also works together to improve accessibility. For example, with the area partners at Utrecht Science Park for an integrated approach to the site, with the municipality to also make the monumental buildings in the city centre accessible, and exchanges knowledge and information with other institutions such as Utrecht University of Applied Sciences. 

Platform Onbeperkt Studeren - Voor en Door studenten met een functiebeperking (fotograaf: Erik Kottier)

Finished projects
The concrete improvement of physical accessibility has already taken various forms. For example, entrances to the Koningsberger, David de Wied building, Janskerkhof 3 and the University Hall have been made more accessible, wheelchair spaces have been created in the lecture halls of the Ruppert building and the Bolognalaan and various study rooms, corridors and toilets have been made wheelchair accessible. The accessibility of the outdoor area has also been tackled in several places. Think of the adjustments to the tram area and the crossings of Leuvenlaan and Cambridgelaan, for example, and at various locations bicycle parking spaces have been created for employees and students who have difficulty walking.

Projects in preparation
Accessibility is integrally taken into account in the development of new Utrecht University projects. Think for example of the extension of the David de Wied building, the renovation of Achter Sint Pieter 200, the renovation of the University Museum and the adaptation of the Cambridgelaan car park.

The students of the platform are currently performing user tests at more than 50 buildings of the Utrecht University. Bottlenecks that this brings to light will be addressed. Solutions are implemented within specific projects or within the natural adaptation and maintenance cycle of the buildings. This is assessed per bottleneck and building. An example of a specific project are the adaptations that will soon be carried out in the Minnaert- en Koningsberger- and Buys Ballot buildings to improve accessibility. 

Aangepaste zaal blauw in Ruppertgebouw

For bottlenecks regarding a property that provides access to the university but does not belong to Utrecht University, Real Estate and Campus contacts entities such as the municipality or the public-transport company in question in order to improve the situation together.

More information
The Facility Service Centre and Real Estate and Campus issue a monthly newsletter on facility matters and real estate. Sign up for this newsletter. Questions or remarks about the accessibility of the buildings of Utrecht University can be asked via the FSC Report Form.

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