This is one of the best preserved medieval hospitals in Europe , where a religious order cared for pilgrims, travellers and the sick.
There is a collection here of paintings by Hans Memling who lived in the town from 1465 and his paintings show how the hospital was in this era. There are also exhibits showing medical care and old surgical instruments.
Outside , beneath the arch to the courtyard , is the preserved apothecary / pharmacy. There is also nearby a herb garden .
Admission in 2013 is / was 8 euros.
“We were highly delighted by our visit to the Hospital of St. John's. It is a Gothic edifice of ancient structure. The sick lie in a large apartment, which is supported by Norman arches and pillars. The Sisters of Charity attend upon the invalids; and every thing appears in that state of order and excessive neatness, so admirably conspicuous in this town.”
— from a letter written by Charles Alfred Stothard 1786-1821, English antiquarian draughtsman) to his mother 20.September.1820
Near to the Welcome Church of Our Lady stands St. John’s Hospital (Sint-Janshospitaal, in Flemish), a large complex of Medieval buildings. Last used as an active hospital in 1978, today a museum dedicated to the works of the painter Jan Memling and to the hospital itself and to its pharmacy occupies the space. It is one of the oldest hospital buildings in Europe still standing.
A document, with rules for the hospital, dating from 1188 is oldest written evidence of the hospital’s existence. Among the rules listed in this document were those concerning the vows taken by the brothers and sisters of the hospital; they did not take vows as other religious orders. In 1236 this arrangement changed; from that date onward the brothers and sisters made vows of obedience, chastity and poverty; required to wear a religious habit. Then, for political reasons, the lay order of brothers and sisters of St. John’s Hospital was changed to an established religious order with formal vows in 1459. Thus, the city’s magistrate and Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy could exercise less power over the hospital and its brothers and sisters as part of a a religious institution
The Hospital is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:30 to 17:00.
The Hospital is closed Mondays, 01.January, Ascension Thursday in the afternoon and 25.December.
“Hans Memling at Bruges! Have you never seen that dear old hospital of St. Jean on passing the gate of which you enter the fifteenth century?”
— from “Roundabout Papers” by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)
The former St. John’s Hospital, dating to the 13th and14th centuries, is now a fabulous museum.
In the Hospital’s Cornelius Chapel six masterpieces by the Flemish painter Hans Memling are displayed; four of these paintings were works by Memling for St. John’s. Among these paintings, the most famous is the Shrine of St. Ursula. Throughout the former hospital wards you can see collections of furniture, paintings, sculptures, silverware, pewterware and other items related to the hospital’s past. Two examples of the sculptures on view are a Calvary grouping (see photo #3), carved out of oak in Brugge between 1450 and 1475; and a pair of angels in flight (see photo #4), also carved from oak in Brugge between 1450 and 1500.
The Hospital provided housing and care for pilgrims, passers-by and traveling tradesmen. If the illnesses of the sick were not contagious, they were accepted. In the Middle Ages people turned to this and other hospitals to put a roof over their heads, food in the stomach and religious guidance and when they were dying. St. John’s Hospital was a powerful and rich institution. The sisters were in charge of the daily organization of the sick and the kitchen; the brothers took responsible for the hospital’s administration. Around 1600 St. John’s Hospital became an all-female institution.
The Hospital is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:30 to 17:00.
The Hospital is closed Mondays, 01.January, Ascension Thursday in the afternoon and 25.December
St. John's hospital was one of the oldest existing hospitals in Europe. It stopped being a hospital in 1978 and now houses the Memling Museum, the hospital museum and the old pharmacy.
The oldest part of the hospital was built in the 'Mariastraat', near to the Mariapoort (Mary's gate, one of the city gates of the first city walls). The hospital was built to provide housing and care for pilgrims, passers-by and travelling salesmen.
This building is right across the street from the Church of Our Lady. It was once a hospital, but is now the Memling Museum. Amazingly this was a working hospital for over 800 years until late 1970's. It's also the building seen in the famous picture of the Bruges canal.
Sint-Janshospitaal, one of the oldest health care institutes in Europe, catered for the poor, needy and pilgrims from as early as the 12th century. We know this because the first dated record in the hospital archives, the intern role, is from 1188, though the Romanesque tower was constructed the following century.
The pharmacy came in 1643 in the old monastery and the original layout has been preserved.
The altar piece of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist is often called "The Spiritual Marriage of St. Catherine" because the baby Jesus, held by Mary seated on a throne, is placing a ring on St. Catherine's finger. Around the Madonna stands St. Barbara (reading a book), and the two St. Johns. This is Memling's work and is one of many in this building which incorporates the Memling Museum.
Currently housing the Memling Museum and featuring the works of German born artist Hans Memling noted for his intricately detailed religious figures, St. John’s structure is one of Europe’s oldest hospitals still in existence. It dates back to the 12th century when going to the hospital meant finding a place that provided shelter, food and religious guidance while waiting to die.
Just down Mariastraat is the oldest surviving medieval hospitals in Europe and a treasure trove of many beautiful paintings.
This,in my opinion, is a must-do in Bruges as it offers a rare insight to the ancient history of medicine. Other than that, you'll get to see beautiful medieval paintings on alter pieces that rich Flemish folks used to put in their homes, the world-famous St Ursula Shrine, etc etc.
Oh yes, there's also a little garden by the side if you need a rest. Do take a look, you get nice views of Church of our Lady over there..
The hospital's church dates from the13th-14th century. In the Cornelius Chapel six original paintings by famous Flemish painter Hans Memling can be seen. In the former hospital you can see paintings, furniture etc, which give a good idea about the history of this place.
Completekly new presentation.
One of the oldest surviving medieval hospitals in Europe, evoking everyday life at the hospital in former times.
The chapel, with its brilliant 15th Century panels by HANS MEMLING and the St. URSULA shrine, is the undisputed treasure-house of the complex.
The old hospital pharmacy is also worth a visit.
This is probably one of the nicest Gothic complexes in Brugge. It dates from the 13th and 14th centuries. Inside is a museum about the history of this hospital. The church contains six medieval paintings by Hans Memling.
On the bridge, almost in front of Our Lady's Church, you have a splendid panorama of the complex of the St Jans hospitaal.
This former hospital is nowadays known for the Memling museum, a museum dedicated to the famous Belgian painter Hans Memling.
Besides that you can also visit the old pharmacy and the former rooms of the hospital.
St Johns Hospital is one of the oldest hospitals in Europe that still exist to this day. It's unsure exactly when the hospital was first used, but the oldest documents date back to 1188. Nowadays it is no longer in use as a hospital but as a museum. It houses both the Memling Museum and the Hospital Museum as well as a pharmacy.
The medieval St. John's hospital was used as a hospital until just a few years ago (1978). Now it is home for a hospital museum, the Memling museum and there's also the old pharmacy to visit.
I fell in love with this building, I think it is one of the most beautiful ones in Brugge. When I saw it at night I was kinda speechless. It was even more beautiful with the light and the reflections in the canal.
The medieval St. John's hospital is one of the oldest still existing hospitals in Europe. The large complex can be found next to Our Ladys church. Since 1978 it is no longer a hospital but hosts the Memling museum, the hospital museum and the old pharmacy.
The oldest known document about the hospital dates from 1188.
The first and oldest part of the hospital was built in the Mariastraat. The hospital was built to provide housing and care for pilgrims and traveling salesmen. Also sick people were accepted (if their illness was not contagious). A hospital then was not the same as a hospital now. In the Middle-Ages people turned to the hospitals to find a roof, food and religious assistance in their hour of need and in their time of dying.
During the 13th and 14th centuries more halls and sick-bays were added to the complex. Not all sick people were accepted, in Bruges there were special institutions for lepers and insane people.