The first reference to the hospital on the Potterierei waterside dates from the late thirteenth century. It offered accommodation to pilgrims and other travelers passing through as well as the sick. The miraculous statue of the Madonna and Child on the church’s high altar attracted a constant flow of pilgrims.
The historical infirmary and cloister now display a wealth of artworks, artefacts from monasteries and places of worship, and items attesting to the infirmary’s many centuries of care. The pièce de resistance is a silver cabinet with reliquaries, candlesticks, and holy-water fonts. The museum collection contains a number of panel paintings depicting the infirmary’s patrons. Also noteworthy is the mid-sixteenth-century writing desk bearing the initials of Charles V.
The adjacent church with its Baroque interior is well worth a visit. The thirteenth-century limestone miraculous statue in the church is one of the oldest surviving statues in Bruges. The miracles attributed to it are depicted in the tapestries, the drawings of the miracle book, and the colorful stained-glass windows.
The Our Lady of the Potterie Church is administered by Musea Brugge.
Anne van Oosterwijk, Director of Collections (November 2022)