20 augustus 2016


This is the gate to the Boshuisengasthuis at the Jacobijnerkerkhof in Leeuwarden. The gasthuis (lit: 'guest house') was founded in 1652 by Anna van Eysinga (1594-1655). In the Middle Ages a gasthuis served as a kind of hospice.

In Dutch language we would also call this a 'hofje': a courtyard with almshouses around it. A 'hofje' provided housing for elderly people (mostly women). They were privately funded, and served as a form of social security. They are usually built in a U-shape with a yard or garden in the middle, and a gate as entrance.

Here in the Boshuisengasthuis, passers-by are friendly invited to walk through the gate and have a look inside, though are kindly asked not to peek into the windows...

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