Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Bathing in Public

21 December 1953
Photo Ben van Meerendonk, BG B29/582

Workers’ dwellings seldom, if ever, had a bathroom. At the beginning of the twentieth century, public bathhouses were therefore established in all major Dutch towns.
Once a week, school classes went there to be taught about hygiene. Bathing was a collective ceremony, conducted in semi-open shower stalls with a superintendent keeping a close eye on the pupils.
By the 1970s, public bathhouses had become superfluous. Like churches, many public baths underwent a change of use. But the bathhouse on the photo shown here (in Amsterdam) retains its original function. It is now a hammam, exclusively for women.