Bruges, one of the most perfect examples of the Middle Ages, has a hospital dating back to the 11th century. St. John Hospital, one of the oldest hospitals in Europe, is now open to visitors as a museum.
The artifacts exhibited in the museum shed light on medical history in general. Aiming to meet the medical needs of travelers, travelers and locals, the hospital was also a shelter for those in need. This historic riverside building remained in operation until 1978.
The first medical equipment used in the history of surgery, methods and techniques of curing diseases are exhibited in a great variety.
Saint John’s Hospital also exhibits various paintings. By examining these paintings, you can see how the hospital functioned when it was active and observe the behavior of nurses and doctors to their patients.
Before the hospital was turned into a museum, we see that the areas with architectural elements in the main hall were also used as infirmary rooms. One of these paintings is one in which anatomy lessons are given on a dead body. It is quite impressive.
Hans Memling, one of the first period Flemish painters who emerged around Gent and Bruges, has 6 works on display in the museum. For example, the chapel-shaped painting of St. Ursala was painted by Hans Memling in 1489. Another important work of the museum is the St. John Altarpiece, which was completed in 1479 to be hung in the hospital church.
In the side building, which is a continuation of the hospital, you can see the pharmacy where plants, herbs and other medicinal substances used in the medicinal treatment methods of the period were supplied.
What are the entrance fee and visiting hours of Bruges St. John’s Hospital?
The Old St. John’s Hospital is not a museum that will interest everyone. If you are interested in architecture and the history of the health sector, I highly recommend it. The entrance to the historic hospital is paid, you can also visit the pharmacy with the same ticket. The museum can be visited between 09:30 – 17:00 every day of the week except Monday.
Where is Bruges St. John’s Hospital? How to get there?
St. John’s Hospital is located at number 38 on Mariastraat. It is directly opposite The Church of Our Lady, the tallest building in Bruges.