St. John’s Hospital is one of the oldest preserved hospital buildings in Europe, with its origins dating back to the 12th century. A visit to this historic site allows travelers to learn about the past medical practices and see how hospital wards appeared in the mid-17th century. The impressive collection of artworks and medical instruments displayed within the hospital tell the fascinating story of early healthcare.
The recently renovated museum will feature engaging stories about its collection, the historic hospital site, the old pharmacy, the herb garden, and the history of healthcare.
The hospital’s chapel highlights the works of Hans Memling, a renowned Flemish (North Belgium) Primitive painter who lived and worked in Bruges during the 15th century. Memling created some of his most important masterpieces for the hospital, including the famous Ursula Shrine. The museum houses six of Memling’s exceptional works, four of which were specially created for this location and have been here since the late 15th century.
Visit the Pharmacy
The Pharmacy Saint John’s Hospital (Apotheek Sint-Janshospitaal) is located in the former monastery next to the museum. It was established in 1643 after the death of the last monk. Operated by nuns until 1971, the pharmacy provided medicines purchased from local Bruges pharmacists and also produced its own medicines using ingredients grown in the herb garden.
A visit to this unique and historic pharmacy is a must for travelers interested in the history of medicine and healthcare in Bruges.
St. John’s Hospital is located in the city center of Bruges, making it easily accessible on foot from all major attractions in the city.
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