A Dolhuis – literally “Mad house” was an asylum or facility for the care of the mentally ill.  During Evelyn’s time people were considered mentally ill if they suffered a range of symptoms including epilepsy, the mentally handicapped, people with antisocial behaviour, rioters, addicts and dementia. Once people were admitted to the Dolhuis, they typically stayed there for the rest of their life.

“Psychiatric hospital (Het dol huys), Amsterdam, Netherlands” Artist unknow. 17th century. Source:



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Further reading


  • Background from Wikipedia