Salve Mater Psychiatrisch Ziekenhuis
THE ABANDONED HOSPITAL IN BELGIUM
Queen Elisabeth of Belgium inaugurated the ‘Salve Mater’ psychiatric centre for women in 1926. The center was set up by the ‘Sisters of Love’ from Gent on the lands owned by the counts of Spoelbergh.
The buildings are situated in Lovenjoel near Bierbeek, and were designed by architect Joseph Hachez. Originally this was a neuro-psychiatric clinic that was managed by a monastic order. In later times, the hospital became part of a university hospital with the name ‘Universitair Psychiatrisch Centrum Salve Mater’. Until 1997, the main building held the psychiatric clinic’s administrative offices and the sisters’ convent.
The surrounding park, set up as an English scenic garden, was protected by the ‘Administration of Monuments and Landscapes’ due to its rich collection of trees and plants. During my visits many buildings and the park were neglected for quite some years.
The last patients left the Sint-Paulus pavilion in 2007. Eventually in 2010 reconstruction of the abandoned buildings started. I visited ‘Salve Mater Psychiatrisch Ziekenhuis’ in 2008 and 2016. Works were completed early 2018. Today all of the buildings are homes to families. More abandoned health institutes can be found here.