Friars’ hole

The name Patershol  means ‘the friars’ hole’ and refers to a dark tunnel that once ran underneath the infirmary of the former Carmelite friary and came out in the Plotersgracht. It was the monastery of the Calced Carmelites.


The Carmelites were originally a community of hermits living in the Near East. Tradition holds that the Virgin Mary appeared to them on Mount Carmel in Palestine and commanded them to form a monastic community. For that reason the order is officially known, under its full title, as the Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, more commonly referred to simply as ‘the Carmelites’.

As the Holy Land came under increasing pressure from the advance of Islam the Carmelites returned to Europe in the 13th century, where they became a town-based mendicant order. The 16th century saw a split in the movement, with a break-away group forming the Discalced (or Barefoot) Carmelites who set out to return to the strict rules of the original monastic order.