Would you pay to spend a night in jail? Now you can, at this former German prison


  • Europe
  • Wednesday, 27 Nov 2019

Hotel guest Michelle Ferrari can be seen through a peephole in a cell of a former official prison in north-western Germany. Photo: Friso Gentsch/dpa

The small cells are anything but luxurious, but that doesn’t seem to be putting off visitors to Fuerstenau Prison.

Since the prison in the north-western German town of Fuerstenau reopened in May 2019 as a hotel, dozens of guests, including a freshly married couple, have voluntarily slept in the hotel’s former prison cells.

The 90cm-by-200cm beds offer a high level of comfort in the sparse cells, says Werner Pries, chairman of the local Archaeology and City History Working Group, which has been working on the restoration of the former prison since 2015.

He’s even slept in one himself: “It was wonderfully quiet.”

All visitors are given black-and-white striped prisoner overalls to wear during their stay. “Most of them do it, too, ” says Guenter Sponheuer, another member from the association.

The association is even planning to offer guests the option of being picked up from the station, tied up in chains and driven to the hotel in an open cart. It’s also considering installing stocks and a pillory.

Fuerstenau Prison was built in 1720. Its cells have housed many convicted criminals, including a murderer and a horse thief who was executed in Fuerstenau in 1883, according to Sponheuer.

Six of the cells have been transformed into guest rooms, while two have been left in their original condition so they can be shown during city tours, says Pries. These include the cell of the murderer and the former shower room. This gives an impression of how tough life was for the former prisoners.

Today, the prison in Fuerstenau, half way between Amsterdam and Hamburg, has something to offer not only adventurous tourists, but also those simply looking for a place to sleep and eat breakfast, Pries says.

Those who want to spend the night in the former prison can do so for just €45 (RM200) a night – or even €37 (RM170) a night for longer stays. – dpa

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