Hart van de Waalsprong: the first heartbeat

Project update

Since the beginning of May, the project Hart voor de Waalsprong in Nijmegen has been in full swing. On Friday 18 June, a festive meeting was held to celebrate the first ‘heartbeat’ of this pleasant and future-oriented city district in Nijmegen North.

René Steman is project director of Hart van de Waalsprong and was, of course, present during the first official event: “Construction really started at the beginning of June, but with this occasion we created a festive - Coronavirus-proof - moment. Alderman Noël Vergunst (responsible for urban development, spatial planning, cultural history, land policy, and culture) symbolically gave the go-ahead for the construction work with a couple of hefty blows with a stick. It was the first heartbeat of Hart van de Waalsprong.” 

First phase
The new district is characterised by high sustainability ambitions, including measures to reduce heat stress and a good solution for water storage. René: “The area will be climate adaptive, thanks to rainwater collection on roofs and the creation of innovative bioswales. The green design with various water features will reduce heat stress.”

These and other plans have started to become concrete in recent months, says René: “In that sense, 2021 is the most important year for the Hart van de Waalsprong project. This spring, we started the construction process that will continue until the second quarter of 2024. Also, in the last month we signed many agreements that will soon literally give shape to Hart van de Waalsprong: with contractors, housing associations and retailers. Thus, before the summer holidays of the construction industry started, we managed to complete an important part for the first phase of this project. We can draw lessons from this for phase two.”
Shopping centre that is ready for the future
Bold, future-oriented and connecting, those are the guiding principles for the new city district that will become the heart of the Waalsprong, for both living and shopping. Around this first energy-neutral shopping centre in the Netherlands, there is room for 500 owner-occupied and rental homes. The shopping area, also called ‘Heart of the Waalsprong’, will generate as much energy as possible, from local and sustainable sources. René: “There will be solar panels on the roofs and the district heating network of Vattenfall will be used. The residual heat from the cooling systems will be actively used to heat the shops. Systems such as LED lighting with time and twilight switches will also be used in the shops to limit the energy consumption.”
Distinctive character
The many (visible) sustainable measures, the abundance of water and greenery, and the unique urban architecture will give the neighbourhood a distinct character. René: “The solar pergolas, green roofs and public gardens will catch the eye, but all sorts of less visible sustainable choices have also been made. The external walls will provide accommodation for swallows, bats and sparrows, as well as other wildlife. The future-oriented design has been implemented down to the smallest detail.” Sustainable mobility solutions are also part of that. The electric cars of We Drive Solar store energy that can be used again after the sun has set. The residents can use these shared cars.
First residents next year
The first homes are expected to be completed approximately one year after the festive opening. This means that the first residents will be able to move into their new homes in the summer of 2022. The entire project is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2024.

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