Historical laundry/bleachery at the Nederlands Openluchtmuseum
(Dutch Open Air Museum) in Arnhem.
Location: Overveen, municipality Bloemendaal (NH)
Building period: 1702
Interior: about 1900
From 1817 until 1932, this bleachery was owned by the Gehrels family. It was the last laundry in the Netherlands to be driven by horsepower.
The upper middle classes would have their washing collected by out-of-town laundries every three to six months. Depending on the preference of the customer, the laundry would return the washing dry, damp or ready to put away in the wardrobe. In the laundry you can see every stage of this process. First, the washing was sorted - a dirty and unhygienic task. It was then washed in pounding vats which were driven by a horse in the horse mill. After this, the washing was taken on large barrows to the bleaching fields, where it was laid out in the sun to bleach. Next, it was rinsed clean again in ice-cold water. Finally, the washing was dried, put through a mangle, ironed and folded.