, , 28 Sep 2021

The new library of Goes, situated on the peninsula of South Beveland in the Dutch province Zeeland, is a versatile Third Place where everyone can find something to do. Its interior reflects the city and regional country life. Users are invited to discover the enriching library program and to simply enjoy ‘time well spent’ in one of the numerous cocoons or at the café-like indoor terrace.

All good things take time. Sometimes a decade goes by before the seeds of a great idea or a much-needed change blossom into reality. This was the case for the development process of the new library in Goes, a branch of Bibliotheek Oosterschelde. It took ten years of preparations, interspersed with longer break periods, and the sale of the old location before the library could finally move to the new premises at the Kolveniershof. In the meantime, the aatvos team organized rebranding sessions with the library team and stakeholders, inspirational tours, new feasibility studies, user investigations, and a design workshop.

“It took a while before the library found its perfect new location. What makes this project extra special, however, is that all these years one thing has remained unchanged: Both the library management and the local politicians strongly believed in the role that the library could play in the social fabric of the city. Together we rebranded the library into a genuine Third Place: an instrument for urban renewal and improved socialization. This has been the final destination since the beginning,” Creative Director Aat Vos underlines.

Libraries have a commitment to inclusiveness like no other, and this is reflected in the interior of Goes Library.

Aat Vos Aat Vos Creative Director at includi

Jannie van Vugt, Director of Bibliotheek Oosterschelde adds: ”The long route to the new library was full of obstacles. But the extensive preliminary process provided a strong policy foundation under the final result. The building is the ultimate tool to fulfill our promise to the city of Goes. The Library occupies a central position in the cultural, social and educational network of the city. It brings the residents of Goes together. The professionalism of the staff of Oosterschelde Library, combined with the strength of the local community, enrich the (inner) city.

Commitment to inclusiveness: Goes goes the extra mile 

The library’s new home is located next to the city’s theater, Theater de Mythe, creating a concentration of cultural functions in the center. Aat Vos continues, “We wanted to  reposition the library as a revitalizing boost for civic life.” To ensure the success of a new Third Place as much as possible, several criteria must be met, including factors like the venue having low-threshold access, visibility, usability, safety, comfort, and a hospitable experience. 

In terms of comfort for its visitors, Goes Library truly goes the extra mile. “Next to those crucial standards, we added a dash of informality. The library needs to become a place that you visit for ‘time well spent’ instead of ‘time well saved’. Libraries have a commitment to inclusiveness like no other, and this is reflected in the interior. Just as people are unique individuals, the interior is a mix of moods, shapes, styles, spheres, space and order, look and feel. This vast spectrum of characteristics aims to satisfy the needs of patrons’ different characters.  Aat Vos continues: “This library welcomes everyone. Whether young people, elderly, children, people with disabilities, regulars, day-trippers, tourists, market-goers… Or bookworms, newspaper aficionados, freelancers, cyclists, friends, students, schoolchildren, 3D-makers, collaborators, you name it.”

Crawl and creep through the library

The library of Goes encourages people to enrich themselves in the library and the “crawl and creep” interior style activates you to do so. To highlight Goes’ country life a typical Zeeland barnhouse made of reclaimed wood – within an abstract of Goes’ city skyline –  is the centerpiece of the interior. To highlight Goes’ country life a typical Zeeland barnhouse made of reclaimed wood – within an abstract of Goes’ city skyline –  is the centerpiece of the interior. It holds various functions, such as a course room, a café with a covered terrace, a stage, workstations and an amphitheatre where children can crawl and scramble, also called a ‘reading garden’. A welcoming bar combines library service with coffee. Other highlights include a workshop with its own kitchen, numerous cocoons each with individual identities, living rooms and communal (reading) tables.

Soft materials meet clinker floor

In the reading garden children can pick out a spot on their own. The family room is especially popular with parents with toddlers and preschoolers, thanks to the use of soft materials and a large rug. And then the garden room has a greener and more urban character thanks to the combination of plants, a work bar and picnic tables. The clinker floor in the new library reinforces the idea of an urban environment where you are free to stay and explore. “We wanted to give visitors the feeling that they are as free in the library as they are outside on the street, says Jasper Poortvliet, Architect at includi. Our graphic designer designed prints for the back walls of the cocoons. These prints are abstractions of typical Goese scenes. It may not be immediately noticeable, but the observant visitor will recognize some of the images.”

The library may be very versatile with something for everyone, however library visitors do not have to worry to get lost. The “city light” signage helps find the way. Thus, a visit to Goes Library is a valuable experience for everyone. 


Client: Bibliotheek Oosterschelde
Strategy, Design, Art-Direction: includi (team: Aat Vos, Jasper Poortvliet, Tessa Wennink, Sjoerd Rekker)
Contractor: Stonepark
Barn experience: 20Tree
Supplier rugs: TMC Project
Consulting design phase (w-installations, lighting, fire safety, environmental permit): Bureau Bouwkunde
Integration of digital communication in interior design: digitectuur
Photography: Marco Heyda