In America, prison overcrowding is a real problem. But in the Netherlands? Their prisons are so empty, they’re creating new ways to use the buildings.
About 10 years ago, the Netherlands had one of the highest incarceration rates in Europe. Now, it has one of the lowest. New priorities for the police departments—plus prison alternatives such as community service and fines—have lowered the rate of inmates to 57 per 100,000 people.
This drop in the inmate population has resulted in a number of empty prisons. According to the Ministry of Justice, as many as one third of Dutch prison cells sit empty. While some of these prisons have already been re-purposed as housing for asylum seekers, others are being transformed into high-end attractions.
The Het Arresthuis (or “House Arrest” in Dutch) is just one example. It’s a former prison that is now a luxury hotel near Amsterdam. Aside from the fact that the doorways to the room are jail cell doors, you can barely even tell it used to be a prison.
Honestly, come on now. Look at this bathroom!
Guests can stay in one of four suites—appropriately named The Judge, The Lawyer, The Jailer and The Director—or you can book a room in the Comfort Cell or Deluxe Cell. Rooms include WiFi, TVs and even a minibar. Additional packages are also available, including Jail Stop and Shop, if shopping is your thing, or Hole in One Arrangement if you’re more of a golfer.
There’s even a gourmet restaurant and a fitness center!
Het Arresthuis even posts pictures of what the prison used to look like on their Facebook page, showing potential visitors just how much it has changed.
While a prison-turned-hotel certainly seems unique, it’s actually not that uncommon. There are prisons in Stockholm, England and Helsinki that have also been converted into luxury hotels.
What do you think of this oddball trend?