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Lessines wins funding to complete restoration of Hôpital Notre-Dame à la Rose

00:00 04/07/2017

It’s a modern-day miracle. The Hôpital Notre-Dame à la Rose, one of Europe’s longest running hospitals, was facing possible demolition before a group of local volunteers campaigned to save it. Since 2000, the building has been undergoing resurrection, being listed as an exceptional heritage building; now, thanks to a subsidy of €521,815 from the Walloon region, its rehabilitation can be completed.

The museum in Lessines, near Tournai, has become an important tourist attraction, as one of the finest examples of a complete and self-sufficient community from the Middle Ages. The rare architectural ensemble includes a Baroque chapel, 16th-century cloisters, gardens with medicinal plants, convent, hospital wards, farm and ice house.

It was built in 1242 as a hospital for the poor by French princess Alix de Rosoit in honour of her late husband, lord of Lessines Arnould IV d’Oudenaarde. A religious community was also founded here, and the hospital continued as a geriatric service until 1980.

Today, it provides a fascinating insight into medieval life and the evolution of medicine. One exhibition explains the history of medicine and pharmacy from the 15th to 19th century; a second, From Ambroise Paré to Louis Pasteur, is a long-running show that features a large cabinet of scientific curiosities.

Written by Sarah Crew