top of page
ABT_Deutschland_NationalesMilitärmuseum (c) Hans Roggen3.jpg

Military Museum


Architects: Felix Claus Dick van Wageningen Architecten // Project size: 30.000 m² GFA // Completion: 2014 // Awards:  National Steel Award of the Netherlands 2016 - Utility Building

Commissioned by Heijmans, one of the largest construction companies in the Netherlands, Felix Claus Dick van Wageningen Architecten designed the museum, which is located in a landscape that is as rich in history as it is impressive. The museum opened in 2014 on the former Soesterberg airfield. It houses the collections of the Delft Army Museum and the Military Aviation Museum of Soesterberg. Under its exceptionally large roof, it houses 5.000 years of Dutch military history on land and in the air.

The museum's roof is the size of approximately 4 football fields, making it a true technical marvel. It is the central feature of the building and thus the most important architectural feature of the museum. Several of the many aircraft - some weighing more than 10 tons - from the museum's large collection hang from the ceiling as if in a realistic snapshot.

This presented the challenge of designing a roof structure that could support more than 72 load and suspension combinations. To achieve this, conventional calculation methods were no longer sufficient. ABT developed a computer-aided optimisation tool especially for the calculation of the bearing loads, which can calculate the optimal roof construction. The result is a roof that weighs only 60 kg per square metre compared to a conventional roof construction that weighs about 100 kg per square metre. Another feature is the museum's all-round glass facade. Seen from a distance, it makes the roof seem to float in the landscape.


Planes, cannons and tanks are no lightweights. Individual free-standing exhibits in the museum weigh up to 60 tons. This is a particular challenge for the museum's floor, which has to withstand these concentrated individual loads on the sandy subsoil of the Utrecht Heuvelrug. ABT's calculations showed that the entire building would require a steel foundation. The floor was fixed to the sandy subsoil with special anchors, and a layer of hybrid concrete was poured on top, which contains additional steel fibres and thus provides the actual stability and load-bearing capacity.

The novel construction method of the roof is very light and thus contributes significantly to the cost savings and sustainability of the museum, as considerable amounts of CO2 emissions were also saved due to the savings in steel production and processing, reduced transport volume and faster assembly. The weight savings in the steel roof and concrete floor contribute significantly to the longevity of the building. In addition, 3.240 solar modules were installed on the roof, which together generate an annual energy output of 753 megawatts (that is roughly as much as 200 two-person households consume in a year).

Scope of services: Structural engineering, concrete floor engineering, computational design


Photos: Felix Claus Dick van Wageningen Architecten B.V., Christian Richters, Hans Roggen, Anne Reitsma Fotografie, Siebe Swart

bottom of page