The train station of Driebergen-Zeist is located on the Rhijnspoorweg and opened its doors in 1844. The station is located between Driebergen-Rijsenburg and Zeist and has had many name changes over time, until it was given its current name in 1948. Thousands of people use the Driebergen-Zeist traffic junction every day, to travel to and from work, home or recreational areas. This resulted in major overcapacity of the outdated station. The traffic jams at the railway crossing, overcrowded bicycle sheds and track decks and a shortage of parking spaces not only caused inconvenience, but also dangerous and unsafe situations. These were important reasons to seriously tackle the Driebergen-Zeist train station area.
The renovation of the train station was initiated by ProRail in 2015 on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Environmental Parties in order to be able to handle the expected increase in passenger flows. This development not only requested a new station, the entire station area has been given a complete upgrade. Arcadis was hired for this assignment. This turned out to be a fascinating search for a combination of new technology, existing means of transport and an attractive environment. Sustainability became the common thread and has become a core value at all levels in the station estate. Material use and design solutions are inspired by Cradle2Cradle. Lighting and installations are innovative and energy-efficient.
Since then, a new station has been built, with a new bus station and a new parking garage with approximately 600 parking spaces. The landscape is leading in the Driebergen-Zeist station area. The landscape consists of the unique combination of the natural geomorphology of the Heuvelrug with the man-made estates on top. The concept of the station environment design is, therefore ‘train station estate’. The station is centrally located between monumental estates and forms a connecting link in the estate zone of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, the Stichtse Lustwarande.
By approaching the entire station area as an estate, a seamless transition from station to the environment is created. For this, five building blocks are used from the English landscape style, which is typical of the Lustwarande. The English landscape style is a staged representation of nature, for maximum experience. The building block elements are sightlines, groups of trees, relief, water and flowing lines. The experience of the landscape on the estates by pedestrians, cyclists, car, bus or train passengers is leading in the design for the roads and the station environment.
The infrastructure makes the sustainable approach noticeable and visible. The Hoofdstraat now runs under the railway via an underpass for traffic, and the railway crossing in the Odijkerweg has been closed. There is a bicycle shed under the station where cyclists can park their bicycles dry and safe. In addition, cyclists have their own cycling route, which means that they can safely traverse the station area. Pavement is implemented when strictly functionally necessary. Where possible, water is drained off on roadsides, retained or drained and infiltrated into the area. Large horizontal surfaces such as roofs and the railway viaduct have a green sedum package, which reduces the paved surface, slows down water drainage and creates a large natural surface. Heat collector systems have been incorporated into the road surface, which are created in combination with heat-cold storage systems. This contributes to the safe and always accessible ramps required for the underpass access ramps. Making these systems visible is an important part of the sustainable image.
By removing two level crossings and installing two passing tracks for intercity trains, rail safety will be increased and traffic flow between Driebergen and Zeist will be substantially improved. The integration of the traffic, transport and passenger flows takes place with careful attention to preserving the ecological, landscape and cultural-historical values of the area.
Functionally, the user has clear and logical routes, easy orientation, clear information provision, and good and comfortable facilities. In addition, the experience of the user is decisive. Due to its unique location on the edge of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, the experience for the user in the station area is focused on experiencing this nature and landscape quality. Spoorbeeld describes the design policy of the Dutch rail sector and the environment of Station Drie-Bergen-Zeist complies with Spoorbeeld’s core values for the desired experience: accessible, human, familiar and characteristic.
In the coming years, Driebergen-Zeist train station will serve as an example for sustainable mobility in the Netherlands. The Station and its surroundings have changed from a traffic bottleneck into a compact, safe, and sustainable public transport hub. The level crossing no longer causes traffic jams and unsafe situations. The track has been given more capacity and there are more bicycle sheds and parking spaces. The redevelopment has been seized as an opportunity to further enhance the green character of the area. The new use of the area also improves the accessibility of surrounding companies, including the new Triodos head office and the De Reehorst estate. The unique station has been an asset to Utrecht since May 2020. Less than a month after the official completion, Driebergen-Zeist station has become part of the landscape of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug.
Landscape Architects: Arcadis
Other designers involved in the design of landscape: Luc Veeger, Jeroen Eulderink, Kees Neven, Leonoor van der Linden, Hans Smolenaers
Project location: Station Driebergen-Zeist, 3972 NG Driebergen-Rijsenburg, The Netherlands
Design year: 2010-2020
Year Built: 2017 – 2020