THE ABANDONED HOSPITAL IN BELGIUM
This ‘Rijkskrankzinnigengesticht’ is an old psychiatric hospital in Rekem. It has a long history dating all the way back to 1590 when a castle was built on this site by a noble family.
The old hospital is housed in an 18th century Château named Aspremont-Lynden. The castle is located in the old center of Oud-Rekem. The castle was built for the noble d’Aspremont-Lynden family, who ruled Rekem from here during the 17th century.
During the French Revolution in 1790 the site is transformed to a military hospital for the Austrian troops. During 1809, Napoleon appoints the castle in an imperial decree as the shelter for homeless people. And from 1890 it accommodated juvenile offenders. Eventually, in 1920 the castle became a psychiatric hospital. Small rooms were transformed to halls where several people were treated. In the 1950s, the buildings were renovated to keep up to the modern standards. However, in the 1960s, the institution was overcrowded and the rooms outdated.
After the hospital moved to a new and modern building in 1975, the castle became a spot for tourists. The rich history made it a good location for a restaurant. There is also a small museum, but most of the site is still abandoned and is waiting for a new use. These photos of the ‘Rijkskrankzinnigengesticht’ were taken during my visit in 2012. Also check my report of the derelict cemetery of this hospital.