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A better, greener vison at Van der Valk Hotel Nijmegen-Lent

The Van der Valk Family has been a household name in the Netherlands for over 150 years. Originally, Martinus van der Valk decided to build a hotel for each of his children. Martinus was devoted to his offspring and dedicated to creating unique hotels that would hold a guaranteed place in the hospitality market. There are now over 100 branches of Van der Valk Hotels. A sense of permanence has been of utmost importance to the family as they manage the cross-generational business. Hotels and restaurants continue to be built with the idea in mind that many generations of Van der Valks will reside in and manage each property.

Marije van der Valk and her partner Thijs Boomkens share this vision and built Van der Valk Hotel Nijmegen-Lent in 2016 according to the standards of the BREEAM Excellent certificate. The combination of BREEAM and Green Globe certification makes the property at the Waal River currently the most sustainable hotel in the Netherlands.

Marije van der Valk and Thijs Boomkens said, “We believe that hospitality goes together perfectly with eco-friendly operational management. This is why we invest in provisions that make our hotel, restaurant and boardrooms better and greener.”

BREEAM is the main assessment method worldwide and the most important assessment method that is used to determine the sustainability performance of buildings. A BREEAM assessment is based on recognized performance criteria that are compared to pre-defined baselines to be able to assess specifications, design, construction and use of a building. The measurements used represent a broad spectrum of categories and criteria that vary from energy to ecology. They comprise aspects related to energy and water use, the internal environment (health and wellbeing), pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes.

Van der Valk Hotel Nijmegen-Lent has acquired the BREEAM Excellent certificate (4 stars, 72.5%) based on the BRL 2011 v1.0. guideline for both the design and the completion phase.

Locally sourced bricks were used extensively in the build of the property. During the “Room for the River Waal” project the dike near Nijmegen-Lent was extended 350 meters inland to make space for a secondary channel of the Waal. This channel offers extra capacity for water drainage, so less damming up occurs. The clay removed for this project was used for, among other things, making the bricks used to build the hotel. The bricks manufactured in Bemmel are named “Bemmel blue” and a total of 280,000 bricks, all laid by hand, were used in the construction of the Plinth building, the car park and the hotel tower.

Cutting-edge green technology is also being utilized to reduce the property’s carbon footprint. KAT (Kitchen Air Technology) is an integral and innovative climate installation for industrial kitchens that guarantees minimum energy use. Hot air generated from cooking is cleaned and reused via the KAT system which uses a special liquid that is atomized in the kitchen extraction ducts. This liquid primarily consists of all-natural products. Greasy vapor and aromatic substances bind to the liquid instead of binding to duct surfaces. The KAT filter catches the liquid, enabling heat from the clean air current to be transferred to the cold supply air. Up to 80% of heating requirements is saved using this method. In addition, KAT minimizes fire hazards and deodorizes air by up to 90%.

The hotel also uses a TT68 heat pump, a high temperature electric heat pump with substantial higher efficiency, for the generation of tap water and CH water. Together with an intelligent controlled energy management system the TT68 provides optimum energy efficiency in the production of hot tap water and heating (70ºC). This leads to an improved energy performance of 40% in the built-up environment and newly completed buildings, compared to competitive high temperature heat pump technology. And up to 50% – 60% energy performance improvement compared to existing buildings that generate heat with a modern CH installation.

Ecological measures have also been implemented in line with sustainable goals. Green roofs improve environmental and living conditions. The roof garden of Hotel Nijmegen-Lent filters harmful substances from the air and holds in moisture produced by precipitation to insulate the building. The design for the extra green space is fully dependent on precipitation that occurs year-round so an assortment of blooming plants and herbs are specifically chosen to continually grow and adapt with seasonal changes. Bees and a variety of insects find their way to this natural spot while other animals also make their homes at planned locations within the hotel grounds.

Green Globe is the worldwide sustainability system based on internationally accepted criteria for sustainable operation and management of travel and tourism businesses. Operating under a worldwide license, Green Globe is based in California, USA and is represented in over 83 countries. Green Globe is an Affiliate Member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). For information, please visit

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