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At home in the Netherlands the 17th Century Dutch relied on conventional forms of torture such as the rack, but racks were heavy and expensive, and could not easily be transported aboard ships of the Dutch East India Company. In the Dutch dominions of the Far East, the preferred technique was the Dutch water torture, which was highly effective and required a minimum of equipment. At its most basic it only required a funnel, but aboard ship it was more common for a rigid conical canvas collar to be placed around the victim's neck. This collar extended from the neck up to the level of the eyes or a little higher, and once secured around the neck was water tight from below. The victim would then be bound to an upright frame, such as a door frame. Also required for this torture were a stepladder and a large jug.

Water would be poured slowly over the victim's head, slowly filling the collar. More water would be added every time the victim failed to give a satisfactory response. As more water was added, the victim's mouth and nostrils would become submerged, forcing them to drink in order to breath. The torturer would add more water, so the victim was forced to alternate between frantic swallowing and gasping for breath.

If the torture continued for a period of time, the victim would become bloated, and if there was any danger of them actually drowning, they would be taken off the frame and forced to vomit. It is reported that after 3 or 4 cycles, the victim's body would be bloated to over twice its original size. At this point, the exhausted victim would be willing to confess to anything they were asked to.

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