Loading...
Meer en Berg Hospital

“This former psychiatric hospital is tucked away in a beautiful natural setting and surrounded by old trees. The silence inside makes you wonder about the mentally ill who lived here. What happened to them? Did they ever recover their sanity? Perhaps the serene chapel with the eye-catching red ceiling provided them with some temporary solace.”

Jan Stel, Meer en Berg Hospital-01

Meer en Berg Hospital-01

Jan Stel, Meer en Berg Hospital-02

Meer en Berg Hospital-02

Jan Stel, Meer en Berg Hospital-03

Meer en Berg Hospital-03

Jan Stel, Meer en Berg Hospital-04” title=

Meer en Berg Hospital-04

Located close to the sea and just outside the dunes, there is an abandoned psychiatric hospital known as Meer en Berg. Up until the 19th century there was hardly any treatment available for the mentally ill. They were cared for and sheltered, but didn't receive the necessary treatment. Outsiders had no idea what was going on in these asylums. Rumors got around that extreme and experimental treatments were used. Patients had to endure shock therapy, isolation cells and contrast-bath therapy while tied down. These circumstances were depressing as were their cramped, locked living quarters. Beginning in 1849 the hospital, which was also called a madhouse, was continuously enlarged. Until the 1930s it housed around 1,500 patients. The building was divided into different wards based on patient gender, social position, class and diagnosis. The last patients left the hospital in 2002 and from then on it was abandoned.

“In 2014 adjustments were made to prevent further decline. Around the hospital new apartments are constructed and some of the old buildings were demolished while others were renovated. However, the damage had already been done: the red chapel was defaced by graffiti vandals and most of the stained glass windows were smashed. This is the main reason that I usually don’t share the exact location of the sites I photograph. These sites and their fascinating history need to be protected and cared for. In 2016, some reconstruction works have been started, more new apartments are being built and now someone is living in the chapel. I’m lucky that I got a chance to photograph the beautiful chapel with its red ceiling before all of this. Enjoy!”