The 15th century courtroom in Gouda's townhall

Years: 2022

Commissioned by: Nathan van Kleij, University of Amsterdam, history department

Research: Nathan van Kleij / Tijm Lanjouw

Modelling: Tijm Lanjouw

Project description: This project aimed at visualising the spatial arrangement and social use of the 15th century public courtroom in the town hall of Gouda, the Netherlands. These visualisations serve to support the hypotheses offered by van Kleij in his dissertation and are used as illustrations in a written paper on the subject of the social function of medieaval court of justice buildings in the Netherlands.

Since the town hall of Gouda has been deeply modified over the centuries, of the original court of justice (Dutch: "vierschaar") very little preserves. Using building historical research and historical parallels, various reconstruction hypotheses of the layout of this room have been developed. In addition, two different use scenerios have been reconstructed: one of the room during a court hearing, and one for common daily usage as public space.


van Kleij, N. (2023). Van wie was het stadhuis? Orde en verstoring in een publiek overheidsgebouw in Gouda en Leiden, ca. 1450-1520. BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review138(3), 4–31.



The court room of Gouda during a hearing
The court room reconstruction based on alternative assumptions regarding floor level and material. The historical research did not result is conclusive evidence for these. The image shows a possible use of the space outside hearing hours,
Another perspective onto the court room.