Living conditions

The law establishes a minimum standard for living space per prisoner


The minimum living space per prisoner is 10m2.
Cells are equipped with a bed, a wardrobe, a table and chair, a toilet, and a sink.

Prisoners sleep on

a bed

All the prisoners are provided with bedding


Natural daylight, ventilation and artificial lighting are considered satisfactory, according to the 2016 CPT report.1

  1. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, “Report to the Government of the Netherlands on the visit carried out from 2 to 13 May 2016”, p.21. 

The cells/dormitories are provided with electric lighting


The cells/dormitories are equipped with heating and/or air conditioning


Cells are equipped with heating.

Prisoners can smoke

in their cell

A non-smoker cannot be placed in the same cell as a smoker.

Inmates may decorate their cells with posters and photographs on a designated area of the wall.


Prisoners have access to water

in their cell

Showers are located in the cells/dormitories

in some facilities

This is the case at Krimpen aan den IJssel and Zuyder Bos.1
The psychiatric patient cells in Zwolle prison are equipped with a shared toilet block.
Cells in Scheveningen prison are equipped with a semi-partitioned sink and toilet. Each unit has showers that are accessible every day.2

  1. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, “Report to the Government of the Netherlands on the visit carried out from 2 to 13 May 2016”, p.21. 

  2. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, ibid, p.38. 

Types of sanitary facilities


Sanitary facilities are clean, adequate and accessible


The prison service provides personal hygiene products free of charge


The prison service provides cleaning products free of charge


Beddings are refreshed

yes, once a week

The prison service is responsible for the provision of clothing and shoes (Article 44, paragraph 1 of the PBW). It ensures that the necessary funds are made available to meet this requirement.

All prisons are equipped with washing machines.

Staff organise the cleaning of collective areas within facilities. Inmates are assigned to these tasks. They may also be hired to complete other day-to-day tasks.

Drinking water is free and available in all areas of the facilities


Number of meals per day


Food services are managed by

  • prison service
  • private companies

The French group, Sodexo, manages the food service in a number of facilities.

The prison service is required to meet nutritional standards regarding quality and quantity


Prisoners complain about the poor quality and low quantity of food served by the Sodexo group.

  • Des chercheurs ont mis en évidence le lien entre mauvaise qualité nutritionnelle de la nourriture et comportement des détenus (dépression, agressivité, repli sur soi). Les services de restauration des prisons aux Pays-Bas ne fournissent pas de nourriture suffisamment riche en vitamines et en minéraux, se contentant de plats rapides et peu onéreux.

    / Dutch News

The prison service provides food that respects special dietary needs


Specific dietary requirements owing to health, religion, personal beliefs or for reasons relating to employment are met.

Prisoners eat their meals in

their cell

Prisoners can buy food products


Prisoners can have access to a refrigerator


Refrigerators, located in cells, are available to rent.

Prisoners are allowed to cook in their cells or in a shared space


  • i
    / Trouw

Prisoners are allowed to receive food parcels


Part of the prisoner's food is produced by the prison

in some facilities