Militair Hospitaal Antwerpen
THE ABANDONED HOSPITAL IN BELGIUM
This military hospital ‘Militair Hospitaal Antwerpen’ is completely locked from the public streets. The buildings on the site were build between 1898 and 1910 on the site where Fort 4 of Berchem used to be.
The old Fort 4 in Berchem was demolished in 1884. ‘Militair Hospitaal Antwerpen’ or ‘MHA’ opened in 1911 by Lieutenant Colonel Waffelaert. The architecture is an eclectic style with mainly neo-Flemish Renaissance elements. In the following years buildings were reconstructed, demolished and rebuild.
During the First World War the MHA was occupied by the Germans. In 1927 the Neuro-Psychiatry Department was added to it. The site was once again occupied during the Second World War until 1946. The driving force in the post-war period was colonel physician Van der Meiren, who modernized the hospital in many different ways. At the end of the 1960s the head pharmacy was transferred to Nivelles, but in the same period under Colonel doctor Van Praet three completely new departments were opened. ‘Militair Hospitaal Antwerpen’ had a capacity of up to 120 beds, which could be increased to 400 patients in case of disasters.
Besides the hospital rooms there is also a chapel, a monastery and housing for the technical employees. We also found a building for the outpatient departments and a rooms where the surgery took place. Almost all buildings are connected by hallways of glass. Underground there are also hallways, connecting every building. The first signs of closure occurred in the 1980s with the transfer of the neuropsychiatry department to Neder-over-Heembeek. After the abandonment in 1993 the site was locked and left unused. It took until 2006 before the first bulldozer entered the site. The hospital buildings are protected and will be reconverted for a new use. Other buildings will be demolished and new houses will be built there. I visited the abandoned military hospital in 2007.