We look back on a centuries-long tradition of health care, during which we have evolved into an innovative organisation where patient experience and quality take center stage.

Maria Middelares General Hospital in Ghent

Maria Middelares General Hospital in Ghent

From as early as the 13th century, the Cistercian nuns of Ghent took care of the sick, destitute and passers-by. First in the Hospital of Our Dear Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwhospitaal) next to St Michael's Church, later just outside the Ghent city gates in the Bijloke Hospital.

When the sisters purchased a castle estate on the Kortrijksesteenweg in 1934, it was given the name ‘Maria Middelares’. The castle was converted into a hospital and, by 1939, a left and right wing had been added. And care has been provided here ever since.

A separate pavilion with a Maternity Unit and Gynaecology Department was built in 1957. During his career, the inspirational Dr Daels helped more than 50,000 children enter the world. At that time, no less than 1 in 50 Flemish people were born in Maria Middelares General Hospital.

The campus expanded considerably in 1982 with a building for general surgery. With the new building, the hospital received new impetus and an extremely rapid technological development commenced.

In 2000, the Flemish government recommended centralising all acute care on one campus. This recommendation gave rise to a new strategic care plan, the most important achievements of which are:

A room in Maria Middelares General Hospital – 1960
Historical photo of Maria Middelares General Hospital

Witje Wiebel Nursery and Maternity Unit

During the first phase of this plan, the 'Witje Wiebel nursery' and the existing maternity building, which were located behind the current hospital, were moved to the front of the site (along Kortrijksesteenweg) to make way for the site where the new complex was erected in the next four years. The Maternity Clinic at Maria Middelares General Hospital was housed in a separate pavilion with a Maternity Unit and a Gynaecology Department. This building long functioned as a modern skills lab, that is a training and education centre for employees. The building was demolished in 2022.

New building of Maria Middelares General Hospital

Our new building was completed in 2015 (phase 2 of the comprehensive master plan for Maria Middelares General Hospital, as approved by the city of Ghent's College of Mayor and Aldermen). On 10 April, Maria Middelares General Hospital relocated 290 patients to the brand new building in one day through an above-ground, temporary, heated and illuminated 241-metre long tunnel.

With the new building came an increased focus on high-tech medical health care, both curative and preventive.

Heritage takes on a revitalised function

Maria Middelares has a significant amount of heritage sites. Time and again, these sites has played an important role in our history. Even now, they occupy a significant role, though with a new function. In 2019, the Cistercian nuns relocated from our campus to the residential care centre The Refuge and the assisted living facilities Village in the City. The convent and the chapel where the nuns lived all this time were transferred over to our hospital.

Alongside the castle renovated in 2021, the convent and chapel now form part of the Maria Middelares Meeting Centre. The castle has a restaurant and meeting rooms, and the convent has both meeting rooms and offices, next to the beautiful courtyard garden.

St Vincent General Hospital in Deinze

St Vincent General Hospital in Deinze

The Congregation of the Sisters of St Vincent à Paulo in Deinze was founded in 1823. These buildings were historically used to provide patient care, elderly care and education.

In 1951, the hospital moved to a separate campus on Schutterijstraat. A modern wing was added to the hospital in 2011.

On Saturday 26 December 2020, St Vincent General Hospital in Deinze, together with the general practitioners' circle Schelde & Leie, opened a GP outpost in the hospital's new wing.

After a long collaboration, since 2017, under the form of a personal union, Maria Middelares General Hospital and St Vincent General Hospital in Deinze have decided to merge together on 1 January 2024.

A photo of the old hospital.

Medical Centre in Ghent-Bruges

Medical Centre in Ghent-Bruges

On 1 January 1999, Maria Middelares General Hospital merged with St Joseph’s in Ghent-Bruges, a clinic which the Sisters of the H. Vincentius a Paulo from Waarschoot founded together with Dr Odilon Van der Linden. This resulted in a modern hospital with two campuses. Maria Middelares General Hospital in Ghent and Maria Middelares Medical Centre in Ghent-Bruges.

The Medical Centre in Ghent-Bruges underwent a thorough renovation, and since 2016, the outpatients’ clinic, radiology and dialysis have been providing an attractive local care offering.

Maria Middelares Medical Centre
A photo of the old hospital.

Aalter Medical Centre

Aalter Medical Centre

In 2021, Maria Middelares General Hospital and St Vincent General Hospital in Deinze jointly invested in the Aalter Medical Centre. The goal was to provide specialist care closer to home, in close consultation with GPs.

Book presentation 'From Care for the Sick to Health Care'

Book presentation 'From Care for the Sick to Health Care'

Published in 2021, the book 'From Care for the Sick to Health Care' takes you on a richly illustrated journey through time, starting around the year 1200 when a Ghent family decided to care for the sick, needy and passers-by in one of its premises that also served as a hospital. At the time, no one could have even imagined that over the next eight hundred years, simple health care would evolve into the professional high-tech medical health care of today.

‘With this book, we pay tribute to the lay and religious people who have contributed to compassionate care, in and around Ghent, always keeping the focus on the patient. It is this Christian tradition that forms the benchmark for our ethical treatment and that supports us in our striving towards value-driven health care. Rarely has the future been so well prepared by the past.’

Prof Pascal Verdonck (Chairman) Maria Middelares General Hospital

Practical information about the book

  • Hardcover
  • 280 x 240 mm
  • 200 pp. and approx. 300 illustrations
  • Snoeck Publishers - ISBN: 978-94-6161-568-8
  • €32.00
  • Available at the shop in the hospital and in finer bookstores