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History

The Binnengasthuis site in the University Quarter has a long history serving various purposes. Its past dates back to the Middle Ages, when the Oude and Nieuwe Nonnenklooster convents were located here. This area has been home to a convent, a hospital, a museum, residential housing and a university. The University of Amsterdam was founded here, as Athenaeum Illustre, in 1632.

Binnengasthuis patients – June 1940. Source: Amsterdam Municipal Archives
Original atrium with telephone tower – 1981 Source: Amsterdam Municipal Archives

For four centuries, the Binnengasthuis was the largest hospital in Amsterdam's city centre. What started out as a hospital in two convent complexes in 1578 would subsequently be expanded into a hospital complex through various architectural alterations from the 19th century onwards.

Inspired by the former convent structure, F.W.M. Poggenbeek designed the Tweede Chirurgische Kliniek (Second Surgical Clinic) and the Zusterhuis (Nurses' Quarters) with a courtyard in between. The Tweede Chirurgische Kliniek features a corridor system: long corridors connecting several wards.

The internal divisions of the spaces in both buildings are still intact with many original elements, including the stairs with decorated iron railings and the Snijzaal (Anatomical Theatre). As a result, we are maintaining the original structure of the hospital. 

The Tweede Chirurgische Kliniek building in the Binnengasthuis complex – now listed as a historic building – was used by CREA until 2011.