Raising the bar for sustainable museums

The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands, telling the story of 800 years of the country’s art and history in a building which dates from 1885. Committed to becoming one of the world’s most sustainable museums, it chose BREEAM-NL certification to measure and benchmark its sustainability efforts. 

BREEAM-NL In-Use is an instrument to monitor the performance of an existing building. Its three components - asset performance, management performance, and occupier performance - are assessed on nine sustainability categories: management, health, energy, transport, water, materials, waste, land use & ecology, and pollution. 

Royal HaskoningDHV provided expertise and assistance during the process, drawing on our considerable experience within the cultural sector helping museums obtain BREEAM certification. Our BREEAM Expert coordinated the activities, advised on topics and measures, and gathered the information required. Close collaboration was central to successfully translate the ambitions of the Rijksmuseum into a BREEAM trajectory and certificate. 

High BREEAM scores for management of water, energy and waste

Using the BREEAM In-Use 2014 scheme, the museum achieved a high standard in the 2017 certificate. This was increased with recertification in 2020, when particularly high scores were achieved on the management of water, energy and waste. Building maintenance and installations were also positively assessed.

The museum continually refines its sustainability targets and is increasing the awareness of employees. It is using heat-cold storage in a heat transfer arrangement for nearby buildings as well as steadily reducing volumes of waste generated. Its gardens offer opportunities for endangered species to grow and it is investigating the reuse of rainwater in a future project.