Museum of Medicine

© Museum of Medicine

In 1977, the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) decided to build a huge university hospital complex on the far side of the ring road, in the municipality of Anderlecht. The complex also included a school of public health, a nursing school, a centre for the development of new technologies, a library and accommodation for students, followed in 1995 by a building to house the Museum of Medicine.

Whereas most such museums exhibit historical items from their respective universities and hospitals, primarily old instruments, medical devices, portraits of celebrated physicians, and so on, the one here in Brussels focuses on the theme of medicine in art and history, which guides and enhances the visitor experience. The museum brings together an original collection consisting mainly of objets d’art and archaeological artefacts. Its eight exhibition rooms showcase medical practices and give an insight into how the art of healing developed over time, from a magical/religious practice initially, to a rational one in the Graeco-Roman period, then a scientific one as Renaissance doctors and artists became interested in anatomy and as experimental medicine took off in the 19th century. The museum also features over 300 Spitzner anatomical waxes representing diseases and surgical techniques of the 19th century, as well as a highly original collection of terracotta statuettes showing clinical signs (deformities of the face, malformations of the spine, skin lesions, etc.), which were used by the ancients to ‘transfer’ or ‘protect themselves’ against a series of diseases. Others illustrate shamanic practices.

Europeans radically changed the way colonised peoples understood life, death, illness and healing, as reflected in their mythological stories and popular tales. Come and listen to a selection of these on Saturday and Sunday at 10:30, 13:30 and 16:00 (FR).

Practical information

Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 18:00

Route de Lennik/Lenniksebaan 808, Anderlecht

Activity by reservation only

Non accessible

Non accessible