Nijenborgh 4 is finally getting a make-over

After years of having to work in a run-down building with broken windows, asbestos in the ceilings, and power short circuiting, the researchers staying behind in Nijenborgh 4 are getting good news: it is finally getting a make-over. 

The research groups that were supposed to go to the brand new Feringa Building have moved out of Nijenborgh. The space they left behind is now being renovated so the groups who aren’t moving can do their work comfortably, too. 

Some of the offices and labs in building 5113 are still littered with cardboard boxes full of equipment and office supplies, ready to be transferred elsewhere. Other offices are completely empty, their inhabitants already having moved to shiny new offices and labs without taped-over windows and asbestos-ridden radiator pipes.

Completely rebuilt

‘Where we were before was full of cobwebs, the floor was dirty. Everything was just old’, says biomedical design engineer Thom van der Honing with Sencilia. This medical technology startup, part of the Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen (ENTEG), is moving from building 5113 to 5112, to a lab that is twice the size and has more equipment. ‘The place we’re going now has been rebuilt completely, with new concrete floors, new walls. It’s as clean as can be. It will be a lot better than where we came from.’

ENTEG research and education officer Shantanu Nath is happy too. He is getting an office to himself now, while the Feringa Building is ‘a little more crowded’. ‘My students prefer Nijenborgh 4, too’, he says. ‘It’s more academic and educational. Feringa feels more like a corporate office.’


Others do see some drawbacks to the moving operation. ENTEG has been split in two: one part of the group is staying behind, while the other has moved to the Feringa Building. ‘It’s going to be difficult to ensure togetherness and cohesion in the institute while we are apart’, says institute manager Karen Voskamp.

The original plan was for all staff members and researchers to move, but Voskamp says that plan changed. ‘Now we’re seeing others moving into fantastically beautiful new buildings, while we have to stay in this building which is quite run-down.’

She is happy with the ongoing renovations, she stresses, but is unsure about how long ENTEG will be there for and what their next location will look like. ‘The story is that we won’t be here much longer than three or five years. But yeah, it’s maybe, maybe, maybe. I have faith that everything will turn out alright, though.’

Nevertheless, the overall sentiment is that as long as they have the necessary equipment, people are happy. ‘Which building we work in is not that important, provided we have sufficient lab and office space’, says networks and robotics professor Ming Cao. ‘The point is to have a quiet, well-equipped place to do our research and teaching. That’s what matters.’

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