Oudewater Witches Weighhouse

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Each year, thousands of people from all over the world visit Museum de Waag in Oudewater, better known as the Heksenwaag (Witches Weighhouse). In the past, each city had its own weighhouse, where people could have their merchandise weighed before it was sold. However, a few centuries ago, these scales were also used to weigh people who were accused of practicing witchcraft.

It was believed that witches weighed next to nothing. After all, how could you fly all night on a broomstick to a witches’ sabbath if you didn’t? Oudewater became famous for these weighing tests. There was never an incident in which someone was found to be too light and sentenced.

Witchcraft in Europe

It wasn’t that difficult to accuse someone of practicing witchcraft. A rumor was often enough for those who were superstitious or malicious to accuse innocent people of sorcery. It was much harder however to be cleared of these accusations. From the mid-15th until very late in the 18th century, thousands of innocent people, mostly women, were put to death in Europe.

The Witches Weighhouse in Oudewater became famous for its refusal to participate in the delusions about witchcraft. All of the so-called witches who were ever weighed here were not found to be too light, and were thus not sentenced.

Are you a witch?

Curious whether or not you’re a witch? Take the test! Come to the Museum de Waag in Oudewater and get weighed on the original oak scales dating back to 1482. If you pass the test, you will receive a certificate as proof, just like the ones they used to hand out way back when. The Witches Weighhouse is open from April 1 to November 1.


 

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