This hospital dates back to the 13th century, when nuns took on the care of pilgrims, travelers and the sick. In the 15th century, it evolved towards a more modern type of home for the elderly. The hospital wards with their valuable collection of works of art, monastic and religious relics and a range of objects used in nursing have been converted into a museum. The Gothic church with its baroque interior can also be visited.
As of 1276, the Augustinian nuns at Our Lady of the Potterie focused mainly on the care of the elderly. As was customary in the Middle Ages, the hospital’s small infirmary has an adjoining church. In the 15th century a convent was also built at the site. The building was first used as a museum in 1934.
The current museum is housed in the old infirmary and displays the eclectic collection accumulated by nuns down the centuries. The oldest pieces date back to the 14th century. Many miracles have been attributed to the white limestone statue of Our Lady of the Potterie in the baroque church. These are detailed in stained-glass windows, wall tapestries, and a miracle book. The 13th century statue is one of Bruges’ oldest preserved statues.
The museum collection includes a large number of triptychs. The highlight, however, is the silver cabinet with reliquaries, candlesticks, and holy water fonts. This liturgical silver is still used during services in the church. Also noteworthy are the little mid 16th century ‘cantoortje’ or secretary with device featuring the initials of Charles V, a 15th century Spanish Moorish ceramic plate, and a duck-billed glass from the 17th century.
This historical hospital complex (13th – 17th century), along with its baroque church, surprises with beautiful paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries, stained-glass windows, and an exclusive silver collection.