SPECIES is an undulator-based soft X-ray beamline that replaced the old I511 beamline at the MAX II storage ring. SPECIES is aimed at high-resolution ambient-pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (APXPS), near-edge X-ray absorption fine-structure (NEXAFS), X-ray emission spectroscopy (XES) and resonant inelastic X-ray scattering (RIXS) experiments. The beamline has two branches that use a common elliptically polarizing undulator and monochromator. The beam is switched between the two branches by changing the focusing optics after the monochromator. Both branches have separate exit slits, refocusing optics and dedicated permanent endstations. This allows very fast switching between two types of experiments and offers a unique combination of the surface-sensitive XPS and bulk-sensitive RIXS techniques both in UHV and at elevated ambient-pressure conditions on a single beamline. Another unique property of the beamline is that it reaches energies down to approximately 27 eV, which is not obtainable on other current APXPS beamlines. This allows, for instance, valence band studies under ambient-pressure conditions. In this article the main properties and performance of the beamline are presented, together with selected showcase experiments performed on the new setup.