Hospice des Vieillards de Nivelles
THE ABANDONED CARE HOME IN BELGIUM
‘Hospice des Vieillards’ is an abandoned health center and chapel in Nijvel, Belgium. The history of this hospice goes all the way back to 1867.
The initial building on this location is the parish church of St. Andrew, created in 1231. In 1754 Its ruins are bought by the Trinitarian fathers. But the new church they wanted to build on the old foundations was never finished. A charity organization started a shelter for the poor in 1804. Seventy people were offered soup and bread and were allowed to come to warm themselves in the winter. But the charity was abused, it leads to closure in 1812.
In 1815 a ‘Hôtel des Pays-Bas’ opens its doors. After 5 years, the hotel closed its doors. But in 1824 another hotel, the ‘Hôtel de la Couronne’ started here. Later the railway company rented the site to house workers of the new built rail track. Finally, in 1867 a new hospice was built to house the aged. ‘Hospice des Vieillards de Nivelles’ had 91 beds in a three-story building. The highlight of the building is the old chapel.
Most of the old building has been demolished, but during my visit the chapel, and one wing are still standing. The new owner has to give the neoclassical chapel a public purpose. Because of this, selling the old building is not easy. Also, a pipe leak filled the cellar with oil and the building is damaged by local youth and nature. The hospice was abandoned in 2005, the residents moved to a new building in the same city. The site was demolished in 2015, shortly after my visit. Eventually also, the chapel was demolished in 2017.