Old St. John's Hospital

Old St. John's Hospital in Bruges

Saint John’s Hospital has an eight hundred-year-old history of caring for pilgrims, travellers, the poor and the sick. Visit the medieval wards where the nuns and monks performed their work of mercy, as well as the chapel, and marvel at the impressive collection of archives, art works, medical instruments and six paintings by Hans Memling. Also worth a visit: the Diksmuide attic, the old dormitory, the adjoining custodian’s room and the pharmacy. Sint-Janshospitaal is one of the oldest preserved hospital buildings in Europe. In the museum, you can learn more about hospital life in the past and how the wards would have looked then. Furniture, paintings, sculptures, silverware, and pewterware are the silent witnesses of the care for bodies and souls that took place in this hospital through the centuries. The building’s supporting framework is also unique and is one of the oldest and largest in Europe. The old apothecary’s and herb garden is also well worth a visit. In the hospital chapel, the focus is all on the work of the most famous of the Flemish Primitives: Hans Memling. This painter lived and worked in Bruges in the 15th century and created his most important masterpieces here, including the famous Shrine of St Ursula, which was painted specifically for Sint-Janshospitaal.

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