Bruges -St. John’s Hospital (Sint-Janshospitaal) and the Memling Museum

In all honesty, this place is one of the museums that has impressed me the most over time. Not by its volume of works but by its history. What has been experienced within its walls is a mixture of benevolence and altruism but at the same time of sadness and torture.

It is a complex that opened in the middle of the 12th century and which welcomed the sick, the poor and the pilgrims. Over time, a convent, a church and a chapel were attached to it.

This hospital was founded in 1150 and offered medical services until 1977.

One of the oldest hospital buildings in Europe was then converted into a museum where we find original furniture, utensils, and surgical instruments accompanied by images that recall the context of the time.

Today’s medicine is far from the medieval period and this place reminds us of some painful methods that we must recognize and that we are lucky  the medical approach has improved.

You can also visit the hospital pharmacy which was active until 1971 and which has retained its 17th-century layout. See the medicinal gardens where aromatic plants were grown and used in the health service center.

The hospital is attached to a chapel. This chapel is now the Memling Museum where it is possible to admire masterpieces by Hans Memling. Some works were specially commissioned from the painter for this establishment.

Major renovations are planned for 2022-23.

The church next door is the Church of Our Lady.

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