State Hospital [now Ministry of Health], Gravenstraat 64-66
The former State Hospital, in even older days the Military Hospital, nowadays houses the Ministry of Health.
What today is the State Hospital is housed in different buildings on the premises behind the old building and the main entrance has been moved to the Tourtonnelaan. Its history is pretty much one of constant changes: form the very start (it is believed construction on the Gravenstraat buildings started in 1758) construction took place, extensions were made, parts demolished, renovations were carried out.
In 1772 the premises were dotted with buildings next to the main building: a “negro hospital” where patients with scab and leprosy were accommodated, other “negro houses” (there definitely was distinction), a laboratory, a hospital for contagious illnesses (situated as far as possible from the main street, against the Sommelsdijk creek) and annexes such as toilets, a kitchen, a bakery, a laundry. Around 1850 a large nursing home was build. The historic building facing the street was thoroughly reconstructed in the 20th century.
Mr. J. de Bye constructed a website on the history of the State Hospital (in Dutch).
The old hospital is build breadthways and consists of 11 bays and 2 floors. The centre part is somewhat elevated. It is built
on a brick basement that has windows with bars. The entrance consists of a brick flight of stairs with sidesteps. The building
has a hermetic appearance, almost fortified, the closed balcony contributes much to this image. In the rear a gallery with
arches, which was added in 1793, has completely vanished. The roof construction also underwent radical changes: it used
to be a lot steeper. If one looks at the time lapse below, the roof shifts to a large extend. This is due to the changes.
The building next to the old main building which is now used for the Pharmaceutical Services,
was build around 1925. It is a building build in the breadth that gives an impression as closed
as the old hospital. It shows characteristics of the Amsterdam School, like the brick embellishment
that makes up the corner pillar which can be seen so prominently in the picture. One is inclined to
compare it with the Police Office at the Waterkant (Waterfront) that burned down in 1980.
The building has a brick substructure, which is not a basement as one would expect, but is part
of the ground floor. Two pillars, that are rather out of proportion, carry the closed balcony above
The inner grounds
Anno 2007 the hospital proper is accommodated in buildings on the inner grounds, accessible via the Tourtonnelaan. It has become a indistinct cluster of rather uninteresting buildings except for one: the large nursing home which dates from 1850. It’s construction had become necessary because the fire of 1821 also destroyed the People’s Hospital in the Kerkplein (Church square). Now that non-military patients were allowed in, the function of military hospital changed into that of general hospital. The most prominent features of the nursing home is the iron latticework of the balconies.
Large nursing home of the State Hospital, drawing: L. Springer