The Hospital of the Holy Ghost(Helligåndsklostret), also known as Aalborg Kloster, is a former establishment of the Order of the Holy Ghost in Aalborg, Denmark. It was the hospital of Aalborg from 1431 to 1953 and is one of Denmark's best preserved medieval establishments. These are the oldest buildings in north Jutland, and the former hospital is also the oldest social institution in Denmark.
The hospital was founded in 1431 by the wealthy Lady Maren Hemmingsdatter with the gift of a large house, adjoining land and an endowment as a 'House of the Holy Ghost' (Helligåndshus), common in Denmark at that period, a charitable institution of a religious nature for the care of the sick, old and poor. In 1434 the house burnt down and the present buildings were built to replace it.
On 20 August 1451 it formally became a part of the Order of the Holy Ghost, a hospitaller order which had originated in Montpellier, France, with the aim of caring for the sick, the old and orphans. The Aalborg hospital specialised in the care of lepers. It was a double house, with provision for both male and female religious. It gained high status within the order, the prior in Aalborg being the grand master's deputy in Scandinavia.
The monastic complex when completed in 1500 consisted of four ranges round a quadrangular garden with the magnificent church on the south side, and separate wings for the male and female religious. It was constructed in late Brick Gothic style.
The work of the hospital was paid for with income-producing farms, mills and fishing rights scattered throughout northern Jutland. It even owned its own brick works. The hospital was also authorized to send out 'gatherers' who solicited donations of food, cloth, money or goods for the benefit of the sick poor.
During the Reformation in 1536, the Hospital of the Holy Ghost was dissolved. Its important function as a city hospital was still needed, however, and the city just secularized it: most of the religious simply gave up their religious status and continued doing the same work for the poor. Also, the Order of the Holy Ghost made extensive use of lay people in its hospitals, whose status was unaffected. The hospital continued to operate here until 1953.
The church was another matter. After the Reformation, Aalborg had three large churches without religious organisations to provide for their upkeep, and the townspeople did not want the cost of their maintenance. It was therefore decided to demolish the hospital church and the Vor Frue Church, leaving St. Budolfi Church as the city church. (The tower of the hospital church remained standing until 1880).
For 300 years the grammar school of Aalborg was also located in the buildings. During the Second World War, Denmark's first resistance group, the Churchill Club, was established here.
Today the buildings contain a retirement home with independent apartments for the elderly, as well as meeting and exhibition rooms. There is also a chapel where services are held by clergy from the Budolfi Church, now the cathedral of Aalborg. The present Aalborg Kloster is directed in its social care functions by a board consisting of the Bishop of Aalborg, a representative of the North Jutland Region, the mayor of Aalborg, the Chief of Police and two other church representatives.References:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.