This summer the sun doesn't come too often to the Netherlands, we have a lot of rainy and grey days. But luckily the Netherlands is a country with the highest density of museums. So it is perfect to visit museums on a rainy day. One of the most interesting museum for me is the Gevangenismuseum or the Prison Museum in Veenhuizen.

On 18 May 1975 the first Prison Museum in Veenhuizen was open and located in a concrete shed. This was possible because of a person named Standhart had passions to collect stuff and information. Thirty years later the National Prison Museum opened its door in a new location, a place where the prisoners were forced to work, a building from 1823, that was completely restored. Over the years the Museum becomes more professional and now has 24 staff, 90 volunteers and an active members organization. In 2007 this museum was chosen as the best historic museum of the Netherlands and in 2009 reached the highest record of visitors, around one hundred thousand people.

The Prison museum is all about criminality and misbehaviour and anything in between. "Sometimes a person ended up in the prison because of a bad luck, shit happens," the guide explained. But somehow this museum is succed to display unhappy stories in a acceptable way, not scary for common people and especially children. It is informative with statistic backups and a lot of lesson learned. For example is the section that shows creativity of prisoners in creating various type of means by using minimum materials, like a water heater from two spoons and a short cord.

This museum is not everything in Veenhuizen. They have also transformed buildings in the complex to be accomodation facilities, galleries, souvenir shops, coffee houses and large parking areas. Visitors can get into "prisoners bus" to have a tour to see whole complex. The general atmosphere is friendly and cozy. It is difficult to imagine how it looked like 30 years ago when public was not allowed to enter the area. All belongs to the Ministry of Justice and only if you worked for the prison, you may entered it.

The front part of the museum

Visitors may visit the former prison that has been empty for some time.

An isolation room

A simulation of a court in the museum

A lot of children visited this museum and they were kept busy by doing a quiz.

The accomodation facilities inside the prison area.

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