the prison adventures of Piet van Der Molen

On the morning of the 19th of July 2023 - while being commissioned by Volkskrant Magazine - I picked up ‘Piet van der Molen’ at the prison of Sittard, the Netherlands. A few years before - Piet got quite the attention in Dutch media because of his uncommon and bizarre case - the body of his deceased mother was found in their parental home. After two years of her passing, the authorities found out and concluded very fast that she died a natural cause.

Piet - who wanted to fulfill his mother’s last wish - kept her deceased body in a self-made coffin close to him. His case went on for almost a decade, before the authorities sentenced Piet to a 4-month prison sentence. He didn’t serve the time for keeping the deceased body of his mother, he kept collecting his mother’s pension hoping no one would find out of her passing away.

Writer ‘Joris van Casteren’ – the author of ‘Moeders lichaam’, a book about Piet his case – spoke to him right before Piet served his time and also joined me for this publication. Piet told Joris how scared he was before going to prison – after all he wasn’t a ‘real criminal’, therefor afraid to be not accepted in prison culture – and how he experienced his time in jail. Meanwhile I documented ‘Piet van der Molen’ his homecoming.

Commissioned Work

Published in Volkskrant Magazine
9th of September 2023

Piet van der Molen holding his guitar in front of the prison building he normally lives
Prison wall
Piet van der Molen in front of his house
Portrait of Piet van der Molen
Piet van der Molen standing in his hallway
Piet van der Molen reading old letters
Suitcase and shoe standing in the hallway
Picture of an old picture of Piet van der Molen
Bedroom with an opened window
Piet van der Molen wearing glasses
Piet van de Molen making himself a meal
Piet van der Molen eating a sandwich and reading his grocery reciet
Piet van de Molen looking at his car engine