Hofje van Paling en Van Foreest
The Hofje van Paling en Van Foreest, or rather ‘Provenhuis Paling en Van Foreest’, is an extraordinary site in Alkmaar. Pieter Claez Paling and his wife Josina van Foreest built it in 1540, which makes it the oldest hofje or inner court in Alkmaar.
Initially the provenhuis was intended only for Catholic ladies, but Protestant women were allowed from 1670 onward. However, they remained strictly apart, with the Catholics living in small house on 'de Geest' street and the Protestants on Kanisstraat. The latter did not have a door to the inner court garden, although this was added later.
Beautiful collection of paintings
Even today the court houses are reserved for ladies only, and one concierge couple. If you are in Alkmaar, visiting Hofje van Paling en Van Foreest will definitely be worth your while. If you are interested in the Provenhuis’ unique collection of paintings, go to the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar. The hofje can be found on Steijnstraat 14-70.