History of Medicine

A Tale of Two Nineteenth-century Dutch Jewish Hospitals—One a Success, The Other a Failure

Jack Y. Vanderhoek


The development of the modern hospital is usually dated to the nineteenth century. During this time, many municipal and sectarian hospitals were established and developed, and Jewish hospitals were no exception. Such developments also occurred in the Netherlands. This essay describes the different histories of the Jewish hospitals in Rotterdam and The Hague during the nineteenth century. The Rotterdam institution lasted for more than 130 years (until it was closed by the Nazis during the Second World War), whereas the one in The Hague existed for only 31 years. This study will suggest a number of possible explanations for the relatively long and successful history of the Jewish hospital in Rotterdam and the contrastingly brief duration of the Jewish hospital in The Hague.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2020;11(4):e0037