Prison Gate Museum (Gevangenpoort)
Prison Gate Museum (Gevangenpoort)

Prison Gate Museum (Gevangenpoort)

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Buitenhof 33 2513 AH Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands

The basics

The Prison Gate Museum is one of The Hague’s most fascinating attractions, offering a unique glimpse into the history of the Dutch criminal justice system from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The museum features the country’s largest collection of instruments of punishment and torture, but the focus of the exhibits is less on the gruesome aspects of the prison and more on the culture around crime and punishment in the Netherlands over the centuries. Stop to visit the storied prison as part of a walking or cycling tour of The Hague, or pop in on your own while exploring the Old Town with an independent audio tour.

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Things to know before you go

  • Older kids can visit the museum with a special audio guide and see the dedicated exhibition in the former courthouse, but the Prison Gate Museum is not appropriate for children under 8.

  • Though the museum exhibitions are focused on exploring the historic relationships between crime and punishment, the torture chambers and instruments can be disturbing for impressionable visitors.

  • Multilingual interactive audio guides are available at the entrance, with narrations from the points of view of the prisoner, the jailer, the executioner, and the judge.

  • The prison museum is located in its original medieval building, with narrow passages, uneven floors, and interior steps. It is not accessible to wheelchairs or strollers.

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How to get there

The Prison Gate Museum is located in the heart of The Hague’s Old Town, about a 10-minute walk from The Hague Central railway station (Den Haag Centraal) and close to many of the top sights in the city’s historic center. The museum is easily accessible by tram or bus and there are nearby parking garages and secure bicycle parking.

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When to get there

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday and on many national and religious holidays. Schedule your visit during the week to avoid the Saturday and Sunday crowds, especially during the summer high season. Guided tours in English are offered on Wednesdays and weekends. Check the website for operating hours and tour times when planning your visit.

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Must-see historic sights in The Hague

The Hague has a number of premier historic sights that first-time visitors are encouraged to see. In addition to the Prison Gate Museum, you can tour the Inner Court and Hall of the Knights (Binnenhof and Ridderzaal)—former aristocratic residences that now house Parliament—and admire the nearby Noordeinde Palace from the outside. Be sure to explore Mauritshuis, the 17th-century residence that is now one of the top art museums in the Netherlands.

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Häufig gestellte Fragen (FAQs)
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