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In medieval Netherlands, weigh houses were a common feature in many markets up and down the country. They were run by the local authorities, and traders were required to weigh their goods before they were sold. The authorities would then levy a tax on the goods transported through or sold within the city.

Many a times, people accused of witchcraft would be dragged to a weigh house to be weighed. It was believed that a witch weighed next to nothing. After all, how could they fly on a broomstick? The Heksenwaag (Witches' scale) in the town of Oudewater became famous for such witch trails.


A witch trial at the Heksenwaag, in Oudewater. Photo credit: Memory of the Netherlands

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