‘BNG knows exactly which laws and regulations are relevant to your plans’

11 July 2024 - 

Eijkhagen College has been a household name in Landgraaf for decades. Many local residents were educated in the well-known building in the heart of the town, next to the Eikenbos. So when it turned out that a new school building was needed, the municipality opted for a high-quality replacement. In doing so, they relied on the extensive professional knowledge of BNG.

Photo: Christian Wilbach and Jean van den Hoff

The news that renovating the school building was not an option due to sustainability requirements was a bitter pill for the municipality of Landgraaf to swallow. Christian Wilbach, alderman at the municipality: ‘Constructing a new building doesn’t just take a big chunk out of our budget, it also brings uncertainty. After all, the combined school of which Eijkhagen College is part could have chosen another location. For our part, we obviously wanted to keep the school located centrally for the benefit of our residents.’   

Future-proof education

‘All the more reason to choose a high-quality and future-proof building,’ says Jean van den Hoff, Senior Financial Management Officer at the municipality of Landgraaf. ‘For example, the new building is completely energy-neutral, thanks to solar panels, heat pumps and insulation. In addition, it’s designed with contemporary views on education in mind. This is expressed, for instance, in learning zones: open spaces where students can study flexibly or work together. Moreover, the new building is both lighter and greener, and the air quality is excellent.’ 
With a price tag of some 30 million euros, the project was an exceptional expense for Landgraaf. BNG Bank was one of the candidates to provide suitable funding. The initial contact was made through John Kuijten, Senior Relationship Manager for Government & Education at BNG Bank. ‘I showed Christian and Jean similar cases from other municipalities,’ he explains. ‘Points for attention derived from practical experience offered a first starting point, but later on they explored the issue in depth with our colleagues in the dealing room.’ 

Committed and fast

When looking for sizeable long-term funding, you’ll also be looking for the best possible conditions. To achieve this aim, it helps enormously if the lender is committed and offers a high-quality service. Jean: ‘You’re faced with all sorts of choices, like: do we borrow the 30 million in one go or is it better to borrow 10 million three times? As you discuss and explore the issue with BNG Bank, you increasingly come to an idea of what the best solution is.’ 

Timing is a recurring theme in this sense. You don’t need the 30 million for the initial soil surveys, but once you’re faced with large expenses, you want to set the interest rate for the loan at a favourable time. Christian: ‘Are you too early or too late? You’ll have to deal with the consequences of your decision throughout the entire period to maturity. In addition, as a municipality we must of course also comply with all kinds of laws and regulations. BNG Bank has the knowledge and expertise to think along with you and to respond quickly once you know what you want.’  

Always available 

John, the relationship manager, explains why BNG Bank is able to offer both good conditions and excellent service. ‘We have a great deal of experience with funding such as this. We’re the principal bank of 95% of Dutch municipalities and take care of some 60% of their financial requirements. As a result, we’re able to optimise our processes continuously and respond quickly and flexibly. The fact that we’re relatively small helps. Our lines of communication are short: we’re always available for a call to discuss something. And because we don’t pursue profit maximisation, we offer competitive lending rates.’ 

The construction of the new building has already started. In the meantime, classes at Eijkhagen College continue as usual. This is possible because the new building will be located on the playing fields right next to the old one. This saves rental costs for temporary teaching spaces as well as moving costs. ‘It’s also very useful,’ Jean jokes, ‘because if we need a new building in 50 years’ time, we can simply return to the old one. As a former pupil at Eijkhagen College, I like the sound of that idea.’ 

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