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Hospice Général de Douai


The ‘Hospice Général de Douai’ did never have a medical function, but was a place that housed the poor and homeless.

The Hospice sought to employ beggars in order to help them spiritually. But in the end people were forced to go here, and it was soon seen as a prison.

The cornerstone laying ceremony took place on July 22, 1756, led by Charles-Joseph de Pollinchove, the first president of the Parliament of Flanders. It took four years to complete the building, which has a cross-shaped design with separate wings for men, women, girls, and boys. The heart of the building is the kitchen, equipped with two large soup basins, connecting the four dining rooms on the ground floor. The chapel was constructed on the first floor, right in the center of the four wings. The infirmaries on the right and left of the entrance were added in 1788, but the construction was halted during the Revolution and finally finished in 1806.

World Wars

The hospice has had a tough history, being affected by both World Wars. Back in 1918, the chapel was bombed in an attempt to scare away the occupying Germans. Then, in 1944, the building itself was partially bombed. However, it was rebuilt and recognized as a historic monument in 1946.

Fast-forward to 2008, the building was repurposed as a nursing home, providing care for around 160 individuals. But in 2010, they relocated to a new facility. Sadly, in 2011, after standing for 255 years, the buildings were left abandoned.

However, there is a silver lining. The abandoned hospice is now undergoing a transformation. It will be partially rebuilt and transformed into a luxurious hotel complex, complete with a brewery, spas, and salons. The project commenced in 2017 and was completed in 2018. The captivating photos of Hospice Général de Douai were captured in 2017.

Built in 1760
Abandoned in 2011
Reconverted in 2018