With paintings such as the Girl with the Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer and the Anatomical Lesson by Rembrandt, the Mauritshuis is a key tourist attraction in The Hague. Thanks to the complicated, subterranean walk-through, it has become possible to connect the Mauritshuis with the building across the street. This has actually doubled the surface area of the museum.
The museum is located in the historic city centre, which also has an important political function. As a result, subterranean construction is a highly complex activity, which has to be performed very carefully. ABT has applied the latest design technology to make subterranean construction possible and feasible.
The construction of the connection between the underground foyer to the adjacent building was a complex and spectacular venture. ABT, the responsible designer, and contractor Volker Staal en Funderingen applied numerous complex techniques. For the walls, cutter soil mixing was used: the soil present was mixed with water and cement to realise a soil and water-resistant wall. Other innovations included jet-grout columns, soft-gel massives, and fibre-reinforced underwater concrete, as well as jacking techniques.
This major underground job was performed without any damage or subsidence regarding the surrounding monumental buildings. This demonstrated that subterranean construction, on the condition that it is done in a well-prepared and careful manner, may provide attractive solutions to spatial issues.