On this page you see a small selection of the more than five thousand so called 'signalementskaarten': dentification cards that contained a mugshot and a set of physical descriptions of a beggar or vagrant. This method of documentation was designed by the French biometrics researcher Alphonse Bertillon. By clicking on the images, you can see more information about the persons on the cards. Needless to say these men are not the only inhabitants of the Colonies of Benevolence. The free colonies were designed for free colonists that lived on a small farm. They often shared these farms with orphans or elderly people. The unfree colonies were inhabited by vagrants, beggars, orphans, veterans and also poor families. All colonies were also inhabited by staff members that were in charge of the supervision. The Agricultural Institute Wateren that was part of the colony of Veenhuizen was inhabited by a small group of trainees.