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“Moving”
Review of Sint-Janshospitaal

Sint-Janshospitaal
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$57.31*
and up
Ghent and Bruges Day Trip from Brussels
Ranked #29 of 153 things to do in Bruges
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
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: Wheelchair access, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children
Reviewed September 4, 2013

As a former hospital, this museum was very interesting and instructional on the state of the medical sciences in the pre-modern period. Instruments used for surgery probably killed more people than they saved, and the tiny palanquins which must have been primitive ambulances were fascinating. However, the real point of coming here was to see the amazing collection of paintings by Hans Memling, ranging from the jewel-like reliquary of St. Ursula to the 'Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine', a huge triptych that is one of the most breath-taking art works in Europe. I don't know why this isn't more famous because it should be.

Thank Kunimasa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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433 - 437 of 1,034 reviews

Reviewed August 31, 2013

I was misled, thought this would be a museum of the place as a hospital/convent. Instead, it was a collection of religious artefacts. For those with an interest, it would be fantastic, but I had expected something else from all the literature. I feel the museum has missed an opportunity.

2  Thank David G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2013

Excellent presentation of the work of a Flemish master who had previously passed me by. the setting was very interesting and impressive (former St John's hospital) and the information about the art works was very informative and accessible. Best gallery in town in my opinion.

Thank Janet H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2013

Lots of open space, but we didn't find this museum as interesting as many of the others in the city - fine if you have time but maybe not on the top of a list

Thank SolihullRichard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2013

At first glance, lacking a blockbuster piece of art, the building itself becomes the showpiece. Then you start to explore and find treasures. It's almost like wandering into your grandmother's attic and finding fairies had totally organized it and laid out the best pieces. There are a few relics, some old medical tools, a fearsome painting of a 18th-century eye surgeon, some stunning religious art, and at the end, there is that stunning altar piece highlighted in the former chapel.

Go wander, have fun, and be surprised!

Thank SyrinxSounds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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