Het Dolhuys in Haarlem is a national museum for psychiatry. In this museum, all the visitors are given the chance to observe and touch the collection of artifacts gathered from seven psychiatric hospitals in the country, this museum is very special because it aims to show and teach the visitors a difference between sanity and insanity to help them comprehend how it is the life in a real psychiatric hospital.
History of the Het Dolhuys
The history of the Het Dolhuys started many years ago. It was very common in Dutch cities to have a hospice to send people with terminal diseases or with contagious diseases, like lepers, victims of the plague, etc. The Het Dolhuys was located in the town named Schoten before it was annexed to Haarlem in the year of 1927. The tradition at that time was, if a leper begged enough money then he would be cured after that.
The Het Dolhuys was not always a psychiatric hospital. There was a time in 1653 when it was converted into a poorhouse for children. But, the building was created the first time to become a monastery. The monastery belonged to the Order of Saint Lazarus. This is a historical building in this country with many visitors from other countries every year.
There was a chapel built next to the Dolhuys, this chapel is the oldest chapel dedicated to St. James and is still standing today in the Netherlands.
What To Expect
The Het Dolhuys offer its visitors a view of what it was the psychiatric hospital when it was working, many of the treatments used on the patients of the hospital are displayed there for the amusement of the visitors. It is a very important and fun place to visit if you are a tourist visiting the city of Haarlem or the cities nearby.
The psychiatry in the Netherlands
Besides the story of the Dolhuys, there are more things displayed to the public, gathered from important psychiatric hospitals from the Netherlands. The museum owns the possessions of many other psychiatric hospitals like paintings, clothes, objects built by the patients, and many other things. The museum gives shows for the visitors so they can live and see what it was like to live in a psychiatric hospital in that time.
The Museum Café
The old St. James Church located next to the Dolhuys is now a very comfortable restaurant for the visitors of the Dolhuys. There is a back entrance of the Dolhuys located there, even if there is not a normal admission for everyone, the restaurant can be rented for a certain amount of time for reunions and parties. The hall in the building is very cozy and sometimes theatre performances happen in there.