Old Dutch Hospital
The History of the Dutch Hospital
The Old Dutch Hospital is one of the oldest buildings in the Colombo Fort area, having been built somewhere in the late 17th century by the Dutch. It was constructed in order to manage the health and welfare of staff serving under the Dutch East India Company, and its location close to the sea was considered to be ideal for catering to Dutch sailors. Paintings depicting the hospital in the past show that a canal once ran alongside the building (what is now known as Canal Row Lane), but it was covered up and filled in by the British.
After declining into disuse during the time of British occupation in Sri Lanka, the building eventually became home to the Colombo Apothecaries. It again changed hands to become the Colombo Fort Police Station in the 1980s and 1990s, but was damaged during the Civil War and subsequently abandoned in 1996.
A Modern Facelift – From Hospital to Entertainment Precinct
The Urban Development Authority renovated the hospital in 2011 and it became the vibrant place that we know today. Now, the Old Dutch Hospital is an attractive shopping precinct that also houses several enticing dining establishments within its historic walls, including the Ministry of Crab, Colombo Fort Café and Spa Ceylon . The building has five wings that form two courtyards, and occupies two different levels. Its architecture was designed to keep out the intense tropical heat of the island, and instead encourage a more relaxing atmosphere for visitors within.