The prison at Højgade 6
In the early 1800s, Lavgade 5 served as Haderslev’s town hall and district court. Six prison cells were built the basement, which were used for those set to appear before the district court. The conditions in the six prison cells were very poor, but they were used until 1856, when the new building was built on Højgade, which housed both a police station and four prison cells in the basement.
The conditions in Haderslev’s prison cells are described:
“An underground, rock-solid thief hole, securely protected by heavy, double, iron-clad doors, locks, etc., equipped with a rudimentary, horrendous thief’s bed and a block screwed to the floor with a thick, rusty iron chain. There was no table, bench or chair to provide any form of comfort. The small window positioned high in the wall let only dim light into the uninviting abode, and cold, oppressive basement air blew in grimly towards me.”
During the 19th century, the judicial system changed more and more in Haderslev, just as in the rest of Western Europe. The district court was gradually phased out and, for a period, was replaced by a special police court in 1839. They could preside over minor cases that could result in fines or imprisonment of up to 2 times 5 days’ bread and water.
Today, Højgade 6 is occupied by Haderslev Kjøbstads Vægterlaug (the Borough of Haderslev’s Night-watchman Guild). Part of the building has been turned into a museum about the history of the night-watchmen, where, among other things, you can visit the old prison cells.
Find the museum’s opening hours here: https://www.visithaderslev.dk/vaegtergang-haderslev-vaegter-museum-gdk1099050