History Session - 2011 Meeting, Copenhagen, Denmark

Article Index

On the origin of institutions for medical education and treatment in 18th century Copenhagen.

Sven Erik Hansen

In the 18th century The Danish state comprised Denmark, Norway, Schleswig and Holstein with a long coast line from the river Elbe to the Arctic Ocean. Copenhagen was the capital, and base for a big navy which ran a hospital for sailors. In 1736 a school of surgery was established for the improvement of the education of barber surgeons. In the mid-18th century Danish trade prospered, and the city of Copenhagen became enlarged by a new district called “Frederiksstaden” after the king Frederic V. The best architects created a range of magnificent buildings, several of which were intended for medical purposes. In 1757 a big hospital opened for clinical education of physicians and both military and civil surgeons. The buildings still exist as a museum for decorative arts. In addition a maternity ward, a nursing home for abandoned infants, a municipal hospital and a botanical garden were established close to each other. Finally in 1787 the school of surgery was accommodated in a new spacious Academy of Surgery, the present day’s Medical Museion. The buildings and the activities in them, the first medical center of Copenhagen, will be described