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“I still can't be enthusiastic about this museum”

Gevangenisemuseum (The Prison Museum)
Certificate of Excellence
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Reviewed March 4, 2014

The history of the "Kolonie" in Veenhuizen is very interesting. Some of this history is recalled in this Prison Museum, which is housed in a heritage "Kolonie" building. However, visiting again with family, some time after my first visit I was again bewildered by the hodge podge of information about punishment through the ages, the "Kolonie", administration of justice etc. The first improvement of this museum should be the removal of the bunker experience after entering the museum. This can go to another part of the museum. This museum is a diversion when you are in the neighborhood, but not something worth a journey in my opinion. By the way, the admission price is a bit stiff, but luckily our annual museum passes were accepted.

Thank Hendrik_NL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 24, 2014

I visited with a Dutch friend, who knew to ask for the English printout kept behind the counter. As the displays and stories are only in Dutch, I think the various language translations should be more readily available and accessible for foreign visitors - after all, we are there to better understand parts of the history of a country we obviously like enough to come and visit ... again and again and again. So, better attention to those of use whose first language is not Dutch would be a very good next step in their presentations.

Having said that, with the small amount of Dutch I have learned so far, and with the help of my friend translating and the handout, I was able to learn much about the long-hidden system of Dutch penitentiaries and judicial /prison system. It is darkly interesting, so it is difficult to say I 'enjoyed' the museum as a purely pleasurable visit, but I was drawn to learn more about this (dark) side of Dutch history and it was very well presented ... at times it was strangely un-nerving to realise I could feel the despair of those sent here - a life sentence, there was no returning back - no hope. In that regards, this is a very successful museum to engage the visitor so completely.

I would not recommend this museum for small children as they would have a very difficult time processing much of what is here, even I, as an adult, did ... but I am glad I did go.

Thank KLsWanderlust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2013

All around the world one can find museums dedicated to middle age torture, but there are few museums that are dedicated to history and development of the prison system and also relate it to the development of the judical system in the Netherlands.
The museum is located in a building that used to be a prison. The surrounding buildings are still prisons, which gives the museum a unique touch.
The museum is very accessible for children and wheelchairs; accessibility for non dutch speaking visitors can be improved. I visited with my young son and he enjoyed the place (especially the swords to chop of heads). There are some puzzle routes for younger and older children (although I didn't check if they are available in English) and for the younger children there is a playground.
Last but not least, especially not on a cold and windy day, the restaurant serves excellent food, with homemade soups and bread. Definitely better than what the prisoners had to eat!

Thank Egbert M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2013

Being in many different museums around europe this one is definetly special - but for non dutch speaking people difficult to grasp idea behind it. Even woman working on the counter selling tickets did not speak any english at all (very rare situation to encounter in Netherlands). After passing basic level of dutch I could understand some things and court room was interesting, but as already mentioned, there is no central topic everything is scattered.

I would definetly not recommend it for families with small children, we went there with our friends who had small children and they were extremly scared. Especially during entering when they close u in this small room where a lot of violence is shown in a video. Definetly lacks interactivity compared to other museums and more information should be available in english.

1  Thank _Matea_2411
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2013

Interesting visit: the history of Veenhuizen, the original idea behind the establishment of Veenhuizen and the evolvement of it through the years. It also features an exhibition of crime and punishment through the years (as of 1600 till today). The actual museum is situated in the old Veenhuizen institute established in 1823 specifically for beggars and vagrants. Very interactive museum with specific activities for kids.
Additionally you can visit ‘De Rode Pannen’ which is a modern day prison (no longer in use) and do a tour through the village of Veenhuizen in the bus that was originally used to transport prisoners. The village has many national monuments and a number of prisons still in use.
Check with the museum whether specific language tours are available. Signage was in Dutch only.

1  Thank Astrid D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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