Ondergrondse schatkamer

An underground treasure trove

The major renovation of the Binnenhof also offers us a unique opportunity for archaeological research. Archaeologists can now dig in places that are usually inaccessible. Producing some interesting finds...

Jug (13th century)

This pottery jug was found on the west side of the Binnenhof complex. It was found inside one of the walls of the oldest part of the Binnenhof, from the thirteenth century.  As the jug seems to have been deliberately bricked in, archaeologists assume that this was a building sacrifice. Such a sacrifice was made to ensure a successful build.

Skate and kolf club head (14th century)

The counts of Holland used to love ice skating. Ordinary people used bone skates. But the counts had wooden skates, specially ordered in Amsterdam. The kolf club head was at the end of a stick, for playing kolf. A kind of ice hockey.

Sewer contents (19th century)

Marbles, clay pipes, uniform buttons, coins... All from the early nineteenth century. These were found in an old sewer directly underneath the Opperhof, the square in front of the Ridderzaal. Probably lost or discarded by Royal Cadets (Koninklijke Kwekelingen). These young soldiers were recruited from orphanages. The idea was that they were given a military training so that they could make something of their lives. In the early nineteenth century, they were billeted in the Ridderzaal. 

Wig curlers (17th or 18th century)

These are pipes made of bone, the curling tongs of the eighteenth century. After being heated, they were wound into the wig, ensuring that the curls kept their shape.

Slate mould (15th century)

In the Middle Ages, only the more expensive houses had slate roofs. By the late Middle Ages, slate had started to be replaced by roof tiles. A lot of the slate was then reused for other purposes. It proved to be a very versatile material. For example, you could use them as a writing slate. Or as here: as a mould. This stone was covered with liquid metal. Once it had cooled, you had a lovely brooch that you could pin to your clothes.