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Prison Gate Museum in The Hague with seven centuries Dutch history.

Main gate of the 'Binnenhof' which was the count's castle in 13th century and with only some changes for about two centuries ( 16th-17th centuries)  the Prison Gate Museum dwell on it's past and history as a prison with dark and cold cells for people who had committed crimes...

(Text/photography (c) Tzina-Mersina Alimpoutaki-Joustra)






'The Gevengenpoort'- Haags Historish Museum- that in Dutch means prison Gate was in the past the main gate to the Court but later on became the prison where suspects of different crimes awaited the trial and way of punishing according to the law. Their cells were dark and cold and sometimes could be fifteen persons together in a cell even if some of them had committed minor crimes than the others.
' In simple cases like drunkenness, brawling or theft', said Ms Deirdre Schoemaker- responsible for   communication and marketing of Prison Gate Museum, it could take place soon after imprisonment and sometimes even after a week. But in complicated cases the examination of a suspect could take a very long time and one would often be imprisoned for months before a verdict was reached.
The punishment could also be in the form of a fine, humiliation, banishment, corporal punishment or capital punishment...'




Rich or poor, famous or minder well known people made no difference. Stealing or capital crime were not legal and law and order were obeyed for everybody in the society.
Lawbreakers and lawlessness punished with staying in a dark and cold place with a little straw on the floor to sleep on, drinking water from the Court lake where washed horses in it and eating a dreadful food.





Ms Schoemaker explained also that ' ...Richer prisoners were often given their own cells of which the Knight's Chamber was one of these. This was a deluxe cell with its own privy, furniture brought from home, an open fire and good food and drink. You paid for this 'luxury' yourself.
It was in this cell that the most famous prisoner of all was held.
Cornelis de Witt, Ruwaard of the island of Putten in Zuid-Holland and mayor of Dordrecht. He was arrested and accused of plotting an attempt on the life of Prince Willem III..'

He stayed in the Gatehouse only two weeks but as a political prisoner he had to his cell that called    Ridderkamer'- Knight's Chamber- the best wine, a fireplace, candles and portraits. He paid for that 227 guilders that was a big amount those days.










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