Omnia: open for business

Dialogue centre Omnia is in business after the first PhD defence this morning.
Faculty Club Novum is Omnia’s attention stopper. Photo Roelof Kleis

No efforts were spared in the last few days to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. And then, without further ado: the first PhD defence in the Small Auditorium. In the presence of former rector magnificus Martin Kropff. His is one of the three portraits gracing the walls.

The remaining portraits from the old Aula will be hung across from the restaurant. This restaurant, called Faculty Club Novum, is immediately considered one of the building’s eye-catching features. The restaurant, run by catering business Hutten (who also runs the Aurora location), can seat 62 for lunch, dinner or drinks on office days from 9-5, with extended opening hours till 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Some are already calling it the campus balcony

Chris van Kreij, manager Omnia

The term “Novum” refers to the menu, says Omnia manager Chris van Kreij. ‘We aim to include products from our start-ups and experimental farms.’ The restaurant also caters in the foyers and other rooms. The Spectrum reception hall is adjacent to the restaurant.

A vast wall made of glass offers a view of the Mansholtlaan. And vice versa. Photo Roelof Kleis

Those who prefer the outdoors can choose to sit on the Novum terrace. ‘Some are already calling it the campus balcony’, Van Kreij states, not without pride. ‘It is a great spot with a beautiful view of the campus.’ And, more importantly, a view of the gardens that are being planted. ‘In front of Omnia, an extension of the Atlas wet garden, and across the road, the garden designed by students.’


With all these beautiful features, one could almost forget the purpose behind Omnia’s design: dialogue. In addition to PhD ceremonies and small-scale symposia in the Small Auditorium, the dialogue will take place mainly in the Podium room. The 272 seats have been set up in a semi-circle. This is the venue for graduation ceremonies, inaugurations and larger congresses.

There are seven small break-out rooms available on the ground floor, below Podium and the Small Auditorium. These rooms can seat thirty persons each and can be merged for larger groups. It is the only place that is carpeted. Wide staircases link the floors together. For those that are less mobile, elevators are available. With a striking feature: no ceiling. And thus, they will remain.

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