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“Memling Memorable but the rest is very disappointing.”
Review of Sint-Janshospitaal

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Ghent and Bruges Day Trip from Brussels
Ranked #23 of 153 things to do in Bruges
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Sint-Janshospitaal owns six masterpieces by the Flemish primitive artist Hans Memling, as well as many religious paintings and sculptures. Objects of applied art, such as furniture, silverwork, medical instruments, reliquaries, archive documents, and apothecary pots reflect 800 years of care. Sint-Janshospitaal is one of the oldest preserved hospital buildings in Europe. In the museum, you can learn more about hospital life in the past and how the wards would have looked then. Furniture, paintings, sculptures, silverware, and pewterware are the silent witnesses of the care for bodies and souls that took place in this hospital through the centuries. The building’s supporting framework is also unique and is one of the oldest and largest in Europe. The old apothecary’s and herb garden is also well worth a visit. In the hospital chapel, the focus is all on the work of the most famous of the Flemish Primitives: Hans Memling. This painter lived and worked in Bruges in the 15th century and created his most important masterpieces here, including the famous Shrine of St Ursula, which was painted specifically for Sint-Janshospitaal.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children
Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
271 reviews
93 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
“Memling Memorable but the rest is very disappointing.”
Reviewed March 7, 2013

So much space is wasted here. There are some beautitul artefacts but surely there could be so much more. For example there is no real effort to recreate what life in the hospital would have been like. The Memling paintings are the highlight and are fabulous. What summed it up for us was entering the very large gallery on the upper, which apart from the carved stone facade on the far wall had nothing in it apart from a 'guard' busy playing on his phone!

Visited March 2013
Thank Pensionerplus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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976 reviews from our community

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Chichester, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Art lovers paradise!”
Reviewed March 7, 2013

My favourite place to visit in Bruges. The hospital complex is steeped in atmosphere and history. The pharmacy is fascinating and the Memlings are gorgeous. Unmissable!

Visited March 2013
Thank LECtravelfan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level 6 Contributor
357 reviews
101 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 120 helpful votes
“Waste of Time and Money”
Reviewed March 6, 2013

Came here, looking forward to seeing both the paintings and the medieval medical exhibits. Well, there were only a handful of paintings that we couldn't see due to class field trips setting up an encampment in front of them. The medieval medical exhibits were few and far between - apparently they were all under renovation. We were in and out in 20 minutes, 16 Euros lighter between the two of us. Complete waste.

Visited February 2013
Thank MKB1701
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2013

The building is cold and unwelcoming, also rather dark. There are very few Memling paintings - the best is the large triptyche which is vibrantly coloured and worth seeing. The other paintings and artefacts are not memorable and all of a liturgical nature. The old dispensary attached to the main building is interesting and the surrounding garden is pleasant. The staff were rather offhand and not very welcoming.

Visited March 2013
Thank Cloudypops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Worcester, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
98 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Fascinating insight into medical treatment”
Reviewed February 28, 2013

The museum has lots of information and exhibits relating to the care and treatment of the sick from the Middle Ages onwards. There are also some lovely art works, e.g. the St. Ursula reliquary.

Visited February 2013
Thank claire_walker12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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