Dialogue Centre: Open yourself up to other perspectives

Published on
October 29, 2020

The Dialogue Centre’s breaking-ground ceremony, which was attended by a select committee, was held on Wageningen Campus on 8 October. This multifunctional building will be built between the Atlas and FrieslandCampina buildings. Simone Ritzer, Wageningen Dialogues programme coordinator, talks about the ambition behind Wageningen University & Research’s future eye-catcher.

“The Dialogue Centre is set to become Wageningen University & Research’s (WUR) showpiece, offering an on-campus opportunity for students and researchers to engage in open dialogue with each other and with the public. It is to become an inspiring place for people to meet up in person with different groups of people during a wide variety of gatherings. Especially in these strange times, you realise more than ever how important the face-to-face experience is. Not only to inspire each other and advance innovations, but to also step outside of your own bubble and open yourself up to other perspectives. That’s exactly what we want to achieve in the Dialogue Centre.”

The new centre will primarily be a place where people can come together to discuss the major social issues of our time, providing these issues are relevant to Wageningen. According to Simone, the layout of the dialogue area will soon encourage the types of meetings for which the centre has been designed: “The large hall, which will be able to accommodate almost three hundred visitors, will not follow the standard layout with a podium and lectern, but will be U-shaped and designed in such a way that interaction can occur anywhere. For example, round table discussions will also be able to held there.”

PhD graduations and the Faculty Club

In addition to being the perfect place for dialogue, the centre will also have two other functions. It will consequently assume all of the main Auditorium’s functions (in the city centre), where Wageningen’s PhD graduations and inaugurations have traditionally been held. The hall that is being created for this purpose will have an academic character. The centre’s third function will be that of Faculty Club: this attractive meeting point will include a restaurant where staff members can dine and entertain their local and foreign guests. Simone: “Until now, Wageningen Campus has not been able to offer people a permanent location that serves this purpose. The Atlas or Impulse buildings are usually converted to facilitate these kinds of get-togethers. The centre also aims to also offer guests the opportunity to taste innovative food products that have been developed on the basis of Wageningen’s technology.”

Opening in May 2022

The Dialogue Centre will be an absolute eye-catcher. A glass facade will subsequently span the entire width of the Mansholtlaan side of the building. This will symbolise the centre’s connection with society. In addition, the building will boast a Sedum roof that protects against the sun, the rain and extreme heat. And thanks to its connection to the ground-coupled heat exchanger that is currently being installed on the campus, the centre will also be supplied by sustainable energy. The opening of the centre is scheduled for May 2022.