Gasthuis St Elisabeth

The old Gasthuis St Elisabeth on the Elzenveld (Gasthuisstraat 45), "Antwerp's first 'hospitale infirmorium' was founded at the beginning of the 13th century near the Cathedral of Our Dear Lady, at that time a Roman construction. It was then transferred beyond the city ramparts to the Elzenveld grounds in 1238, owing to the shortage of space and the threat of infection it posed. In 1258 the community of lay brothers and sisters adopted the rule of Saint Augustine.
The institution fell again within the ramparts of Antwerp following successive extensions to the city. Nothing of the original hospital farmstead remains now. The oldest existing structure is the chapel nave, built around 1400, with its spacious choir, added between 1442 and 1460. Then came the oldest existing wards, the convent, the presbytery and the surrounding shops. In 1797 the religious institution was dissolved and its patrimony withdrawn. The hospice was placed under the management of the Board of Civil Charitable Institutions, the predecessor of the modern-day Public Social Welfare Centre. (…)
Although much has been constructed and reconstructed over the centuries, we can distinguish three major building periods:
- the mediaeval hospital (15th century);
- the 19th century hospital (1825-1900);
- the moden general hospital.
In 1975 a dual-phase plan was launched to build a new clinic on the site of the old 19th century complex. The first phase of the new development was implemented in 1986. From then on, the mediaeval wards were no longer used to provide health care, and, to save them from gradual dilapidation they were restored and re-equipped to house a new socio-cultural and scientific centre"1.

The old botanical garden connected to the hospital can be visited with entrance from Leopoldstraat.


Related items:


- L.De Haes-A.Knockx, The Old Hospital on the Elzenveld - Alderfield - Socio-Cultural Centre - Congresscentre, Hospital of Saint Elisabeth - Antwerp s.d. [1992?], pp. 47.

- Various Authors, L'architecture hospitalière en Belgique, Ministère de la Communauté Flamande, Service des Monuments et des Sites, Brussels 2005, pp. 92-5.

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