In 1755 the Dordrecht shipowner and merchant Gijsbert de Lengh ordered the foundation of a hofje, a courtyard with houses for poor women above fifty who could live there for free. Sadly he died the same year, but regents executed his project (hence the name ‘Regentenhofje’) and the next year the first inhabitants moved in.
On the photo above you see the main entrance built of natural stone with rococo decorations. This court contains the sixteen original houses situated around a square garden with a sundial (see below). The other three courts behind this one are later extensions from the 19th and 20th century.
Nowadays the inhabitants still are exclusively women. Although they pay a small rent now, many of the centuries old rules continue to be valid. Besides this Regentenhofje, Dordrecht boasts more lovely courtyards that I hope to show you later on.
My contribution to this week’s Thursday Doors. Visit this site and have more fun with other interesting doors.