shaded dome technologies — a joint venture between royal haskoningDGV, poly-ned and architectural office ZJA — has secured the commission for the new ‘freedom museum’ building in groesbeek, the netherlands. the museum has been occupying this location since 1987, commemorating the story of the country’s liberation, by organizing exhibitions, educational programs, and events. the existing facilities, initially designed by antoon croonen, were replaced to make room for the new structure, heralding a new episode for the museum.

freedom museum groesbeek 8
the building, situated on an elevated plateau, is slightly lifted, tilted and cut away on the side facing the valley
all images courtesy of ZJA



the project by royal haskoningDGV, poly-ned and ZJA, seeks not only to expand the surface area, but also to house a new program, which will be presenting history in a more international, european context. with a growing number of both dutch and international groups of various backgrounds visiting the museum daily, the scheme intends to portray the story of the liberation of the netherlands as an example of a battle for values that are at stake today, as much as they were then: freedom, democracy, and human rights.

freedom museum groesbeek 1



the freedom museum in groesbeek finds its home in a shaded dome, a patented, sustainable dome in which an optimal climate is created, even in extreme weather conditions in order to expand the museum to 3000 square meters with a quick, cost-efficient construction that takes the form of a stark landmark, an exceptional type of building is required. the ‘shaded dome’ is an innovative concept, where a network of steel cables, an inflated dome, and a cover made out of hi-tech textiles come together to generate an extremely flexible volume. in this way, a free span of 60 meters, like groesbeek requires, is no problem at all. the interior lay-out, which allocates a reception area, a restaurant, a cinema, and a commemoration room, is free and open , allowing for facilitated, unobstructed circulation.




in terms of costs and sustainability, this ‘shaded dome’ is a very efficient structure, adopting the shape of an elongated hemisphere of bright textile, in reference to the parachutes that filled the sky during operation market garden. the shape also echoes the dome once designed by croonen. the building, situated on an elevated plateau, is slightly lifted, tilted, and cut away on the side facing the valley. offices and storage facilities are built underground, so that the restaurant offers a clear view of the valley from where the allied divisions once left for germany. 

freedom museum groesbeek 2
seen from the road, the slightly tilted dome is located towards the back of the plateau in order to accommodate parking and provide space for outdoor events



a part of the landscape seen from the road, the slightly tilted dome is located towards the back of the plateau in order to accommodate parking and provide space for outdoor events. in doing so, also some distance and trees and shrubbery can be kept between the museum and the adjoining canadian field of memory. the dome has a very distinctive and recognizable shape, and sits on top of a hill, but the reference to the old dome, the flowing shape and texture that evokes images of parachutes and liberators all make sure that the museum forms a natural part of this flowing landscape with its winding roads and green vistas.

freedom museum groesbeek 5
the elongated dome is made with bright textile


freedom museum groesbeek 6
offices and storage facilities are build underground

freedom museum groesbeek 7

freedom museum groesbeek 9
the freedom museum in groesbeek has a distinct and iconic presence, and yet its gentle curve and the texture of its skin ensure that the museum merges into the surrounding landscape

freedom museum groesbeek 4
the microclimate is created by a constant airflow between the outer membrane and inner layer, and also by the different membrane materials that are used

freedom museum groesbeek 10

the dome roofing consists of an outer tensile membrane and an insulated inner layer, which are separated by spacers

freedom museum groesbeek 3

because the inflatable hall is completely supported by air pressure, a column-free interior space of 2,400 m2 is created that can be freely arranged



project info:


name: freedom museum, groesbeek
architecture office: shaded dome technologies ( ZJA, royal haskoningDHV and poly-ned)
location: groesbeek, the netherlands



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom