From the stake to the nude on the horse: they distributed these punishments in Amersfoort

You can hardly imagine it, but in the past you would regularly see a fellow citizen with a “pubic flute” walking in Amersfoort. Or Amersfoorter without hands. why? Medieval punishments looked a little different than today. Read and cry.

In the Middle Ages, there were three types of punishment: scandal, corporal punishment and capital punishment. The criminal punishment was related to humiliation. Every Amersfoeter could see what the criminal had done. With corporal punishment, the citizen of the city had to feel as intense pain as possible.

Source: Canon of the Netherlands.

To prison

If you commit a serious crime these days, you will likely end up behind bars. In the past, the prison often had a different function: suspects in Amersfoort were waiting for their sentences to be carried out. The reason a prison sentence is often not handed down is that society has benefited so little from the punishment. So imprisonment was usually seen as an “intermediate step”.

Prison in Amersfoort

Convicted citizens now go to a prison somewhere in the Netherlands. In the past, the Amersfoorters were imprisoned in Dieventoren. By the way, many ancient folk tales were written on this topic.

Source: Historisch Nieuwsblad.

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Stirring tools in Koppelpoort

There are two giant wooden wheels in Koppelpoort. The story goes that he who committed a minor offense had to walk several days in the morning and evening in these great councils to open and close the city gates. These criminals would be called “shelf impersonators.”

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cut hands

Many Amersfoorters used to buy bread, meat, fish and vegetables from the market. Lieve Vrouwekerkhof has been in circulation for years, but unfortunately the products were too expensive for many people. Retracting benefits was not an option in the Middle Ages. The robbery was a huge risk: if Amersfoorter was caught red-handed, his hands would often be cut off. In this way, the thief can be quickly identified and he can no longer practice his “profession”!

Source: Prison Gate.

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pubic whistle

If you walk through Langestraat, you will regularly see street musicians. Fortunately for the musician, he is a professional, because the musicians were having a hard time. A bad musician runs the risk of getting a so-called pubic flute. It was this gigantic flute that Amersfoerter hung around his neck, until the whole city saw that he was no musical hero.

Source: History Journal.

Contraceptive pills

On Sunday, Amersfoort was at Sint Joriskerk to find. Fixed price for everyone! But what if you are late? Then I was punished. The most common method was the pill. You had to wear it around your neck for a while as you walked across the Hove. This may not seem like a big deal, but make no mistake: the stones weighed several kilograms.

humiliating punishments

In addition to the pill, there were also other forms of embarrassment for the Amersfoorters. Think bowl, chair, or even bowl. Can’t find many pictures of these items. Below you see the cloak that was used in Germany.

Source: Wikipedia.


Banning the area, known as banishment, was one of the harshest punishments that the Amersfoorters could receive in the Middle Ages. The verdict was issued for several crimes. According to this site, banishment from Amersfoort is equivalent to the death penalty. “Whoever gets kicked off the stove and home forever has a high chance of ending up as a highwayman or losing life and limbs.” The purpose of the exile was to banish the “undesirable people” from society forever.

Let’s face it: being banned from Amersfoort sounds like a severe punishment, doesn’t it? One of the “exiles” results in the mystery surrounding the seven trees.

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Witches’ Bridge

At ‘t Havik we have the infamous cambered bridge over the water. This bridge honestly got the name “Heksenbrug”. This is where Amersfoorters, suspected of witchcraft, were tested. Those who fail the test are taken out and tortured until they confess.

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Witch Bridge Amersfoort


The stories of witches burned at the stake may be familiar to many people. But burns were more common. Judges, for example, also issued this punishment to people of a different religion. Witches are usually brought to Utrecht for trial. If you are sentenced to death for cremation, there is a good chance that you will be bandaged in Galgenberg.

Source: History Net.

naked on a horse

Yes, you read the title right. Amersfoorters who confessed to having fallen in love with people of the same sex can be punished for this in a strange way. According to this NTR program, these people had to ride a horse naked, backwards, across town. Not only was this embarrassing for Amersfoorter, but it also provided entertainment.

Fortunately, the times of these penalties are long gone!

Photo: Emland Archive

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