LEEUWARDEN – Have you ever wondered how a real jail looks like or what is the atmosphere? Leeuwarden has been permanently inhabited since the 10th century and was granted town in 1435. Moreover, the city was liberated from German occupation during World War II and visitors can see lots of old buildings. One of them is the old jail of Leeuwarden: Blokhuispoort built in 1499 as a type of fort and was turned into a prison in 1580 used till 1995.
By: Debora Dimitrova
Back in World War II Blokhuispoort was used by German people who conquered the Netherlands. Back in the years the building was the house of pain where people were executed in public. After the war the jail continued to be in service for couple of years and lately it has been put out of service.
Nowadays, the building is used by startup organization that rent office spaces. Visitors can see the real cells of prisoners as well as their pictures on the walls which give a real journey back in time. Leeuwarden’s old jail is an extraordinary cultural center, which also offers shops in which people can find really creative paintings, bracelets and souvenirs. There is a hostel as well as a cozy cafeteria where people can enjoy warm coffee. In 2018 the public library of Leeuwarden with many thousands of books will move to the Blokhuispoort.
Blokhuispoort also offers guided tours by a former prison guard every Saturday. As Friesland prepares to be Europe’s Capital of Culture, Blokhuispoort is one of the most interesting places that can be visited as this is the cultural heart of the city.