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The Dutch Hospital Colombo

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History

The current Dutch Hospital replaced the former Portuguese hospital which was about half a kilometre away which was closer to the Fort and was destroyed completely after the Dutch siege on the area in 1651. The Dutch hospital was at least operational by 1667 as it was mentioned by the German Christopher Schwetizer in his writings, who was in Sri Lanka during that period.

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Its purpose was to cater to the health needs of officers and staff working under the Dutch East India Company and sea farers entering the busy Colombo port, as sickness was commonplace on board ships which had been on long voyages. The hospital was usually manned by a Chief Surgeon, a second surgeon, three junior surgeons, three third surgeons, five interns along with an apothecary and nurses.

Some of the famous surgeons from who served here are BarenAlleman van Ligtenvoord who was the chief surgeon on the ship “Gheisenberg” who was the longest serving Dutch surgeon at the hospital from 1751-1790 (nearly a third of the Dutch occupation and Paul Hermann, the most famous surgeon amongst them who is known as the father of botany in Sri Lanka. He was however also known as a tyrant amongst his underlings and slaves. The companion of the famous writer Robert Knox was also treated here when they escaped captivity from the Kandyan King and came to Colombo.

The Building was in use by the English who took over next, who filled up the canal which ran by it and after independence it was used as the police headquarters from 1980 to 1996 until the bombing on the world trade centre in Colombo by the LTTE left it significantly damaged.


Present Day

Colombo City|Dutch Hospital Colombo|Family Stay in Colombo|Sri Lanka Hotels

It was transformed into a shopping and dining complex and opened in 2011 maintaining the former Dutch architecture which has managed to survive the test of time and terror owing to its thick walls of almost 50cm and large teak beams.

Colombo City|Dutch Hospital Colombo|Family Stay in Colombo|Sri Lanka Hotels
Colombo City|Dutch Hospital Colombo|Family Stay in Colombo|Sri Lanka Hotels

There are three main categories of outlets here: The restaurants sporting the high endand pricy Ministry of Crab which mainly serves export quality crab and seafood dishes prepared to suit local and foreign palates as well as the more affordable but still high quality Colombo Fort Café and the on-site pub Tap House by RnR which is an ideal spot to chill out with friends after dinneror after office on a weekend.

Colombo City|Dutch Hospital Colombo|Family Stay in Colombo|Sri Lanka Hotels

The shops here such as Luv SL by Odel, and Barefoot will provide a wide range of local flavour souvenirs from clothes to ornaments and trinkets while Shilpa National Crafts offers more authentic Sri Lankan craft items. At the Colombo Jewellery Store, shoppers can purchase high quality jewellery items.

Colombo City|Dutch Hospital Colombo|Family Stay in Colombo|Sri Lanka Hotels

And lastly If you want to indulge in some natural beauty products, Natures Secrets and Spa Ceylon are excellent outlets to investigate while you can also get rejuvenating Spa treatments at Spa Ceylon.

Colombo City|Dutch Hospital Colombo|Family Stay in Colombo|Sri Lanka Hotels

All in all the Dutch Hosptial Concept is truly unique in catering equally well to local and foreign clients as well as to a range of spending capabilities and needs, all the while giving a relaxing open air colonial ambiance by the sea.

1. Reference : www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1139507/?page=1