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Ventilation in buildings

We want everyone to be able to work and study safely in the UvA buildings. By paying attention to the ventilation in our buildings, we help to improve air quality.

Various factors play a role in air quality

The quality of indoor air partly determines the quality of our study and working environment. Therefore, we opt for a structural approach to assessing the air quality. Various factors play a role in this, including the age and use of a building and the way in which the indoor air circulates.

Facility Services has assessed all buildings

Rooms have been tested, following the ventilation guidelines of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Where the standards cannot be guaranteed, additional measures have been taken. Where necessary, information on how to use the room can be found at the door.

  • The safe rooms are open for use.
  • Things may have changed in some rooms, for example the maximum number of people that the room can accommodate. There are rooms in which only one person is currently allowed to work.
  • In some rooms, we are taking additional measures. This will always be indicated in the room or at the door.
  • Follow the advice about the windows: some windows should be kept closed, while others can be opened.
  • If the indoor air cannot recirculate safely, we have switched off the recirculation system. This means that it may be warmer or colder than usual.
  • Some rooms cannot be used because they do not have good ventilation. 

How does ventilation work?

Ventilation is the constant renewal of the air (24 hours a day). The outside air always replaces part or all of the inside air that is polluted by moisture, gases and possible pathogens. Ventilation can take place in two ways:

  1. through natural ventilation: fresh air comes in from the outside through windows, grilles and gaps and doors, and the dirty air is extracted.
  2. via mechanical ventilation (ventilation system): fresh air enters from the outside via an air-treatment cabinet, and the dirty air is extracted.

How does the recirculation of indoor air work?

In the case of the recirculation of indoor air, the air moves through a room or building without fresh air coming in from the outside. The RIVM distinguishes between two forms of recirculation:
1. from room to room – the air travels a relatively long distance through the building
In the UVA buildings, the central recirculation of the air-treatment system at building level is switched on. Research has shown that this does not pose a risk.
2. from person to person – the air travels a relatively short distance within a room.
The UVA has buildings with this type of recirculation at room level.

  • The recirculation system is still on in some rooms. If we ventilate properly (i.e. let in enough clean outside air and properly extract the dirty air), this does not pose a risk. 
  • If the recirculation cannot be used safely, we have switched it off or limited it. Although this may make it warmer or colder than you are used to, please note that the temperature does not mean anything about the ventilation. At the entrance to each room, we indicate how many people may be present in a room if the supply of fresh outside air is limited. If you stick to this maximum, the room will be properly ventilated and does not pose any risk.

Office spaces with natural ventilation

For good air quality, it is important to ventilate regularly by opening windows and doors. Do you have questions about the ventilation at your workplace? Please contact the FS Service Desk.

  • Frequently asked questions

    Is the ventilation in our buildings in order?


    • In the older buildings, we sometimes have (partial) natural ventilation: fresh air comes in from the outside through windows, grilles and gaps and doors, and the dirty air is extracted.
    • In the more recent buildings, the fresh air comes in from the outside via an air-treatment cabinet. The dirty air is extracted. 

    We monitor whether we can achieve the minimum ventilation specified by the RIVM for all rooms. The ventilation is therefore in order.

    It's stuffy and warm in here, is the ventilation still OK?

    Sometimes the climate in a room might not feel pleasant, but ventilation and climate are different things. Ventilation involves the supply of fresh air and the removal of dirty air. In order to prevent air flows from circulating, we sometimes switch off the recirculation of the cooling in a room. As a result, the indoor climate deteriorates: it gets warm in the room and may feel stuffy. However, this does not mean that the ventilation is not in order.

    Is it wise to open a window? 

    • If we indicate at the entrance to the room that you can open the window, you can do so without any problems. 
    • If nothing is indicated about windows, leave the window closed to avoid disrupting the ventilation system.

    Can I use a table fan?

    • If you are alone in a room,
      you can certainly use a table fan.
    • If you are in a room with several other people,
    • do not use a table fan. There is a chance that the air will flow from you to someone else, or vice versa.

Complaints or questions about ventilation?

Contact the FS Service Desk. We tackle ventilation problems with the highest priority. 
T 020 525 1403
Notification form