Bert Hermans
Oil on canvas
60 x 80 cm

This painting shows the Dome Prison in Haarlem, of which Bert Hermans received photos through his good friends. They recently had a tour there. Bert himself visited this place years ago with students from Nijmegen when the dome prison was still in use. As a scientific employee in the field of penitentiary law, among other things, he was able to visit almost all prisons in the Netherlands in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He also organized internships for students. These students often asked whether, and if so how, prisoners managed to escape. You can see that happening here in the painting.

The Haarlem Dome Prison, usually called the Koepel, is a former penal prison in the city of Haarlem. The building is one of three dome prisons in the Netherlands. The other two are located in Arnhem and Breda. All three are included in the National Register of Monuments.

The Dome Prison in Haarlem was built from 1899 to 1901 by justice architect W.C. Metzelaar. He based his work on the design of his father Johan Frederik Metzelaar, who had already built domed prisons in Breda and Arnhem. Just like those other domed prisons, the prison in Haarlem is also a national monument. Until 2016, the building was government property. The prison closed that year due to the declining number of inmates and budget cuts. The monumental building and the surrounding grounds were purchased by the municipality of Haarlem and sold to the Panopticon Foundation in 2019. This ensured the redevelopment of the building and surroundings.