The Fourth Asylum

The Vierde Gesticht (Fourth Asylum) is an enigmatic name today, but it wasn’t for the residents of the three asylums, who inevitably ended up in ‘The Fourth’ after their death: an ironic name for the Veenhuizen cemetery. This is a historical place at the edge of forest a field, where both inmates and staff members lie buried. In the time of the colony, inmates were committed to the earth anonymously. Under the large grass field, adorned only by a single tree, more than ten thousand people lie buried. Later, the dead did receive a memorial. The strict hierarchy from the time that the Dutch government took over the colony is also clearly visible in the cemetery.

Staff and inmates, Catholic and Protestant – each have their own resting place.

The Fourth is a place for wandering and contemplation. Lush ivy twists through wrought iron grave gates, some graves are adorned with beautiful zinc grave boxes. A little further along, there are innumerable white crosses. There is even a separate section for Belgian refugees from the First World War.

The cemetery is located on the Eikenlaan, immediately next to a nineteenth century so-called ‘star forest’. The paths once formed a star, and have largely been preserved.