The Bergen Map

Bergen Mental Hospital

People who suffer from psychological diseases have always been “taken care of”. But what kind of care have the ill people received? In the early 19th century it was believed that the opportunity to take walks in a beautiful garden could be of some help to the ill. In 1815 the hospital purchased an ajacent meadow, and Bergen Mental Hospital was newly built with gardens in 1833.

Bergen Mental Hospital was to replace the Bedlam, which was no longer considered a satisfactory institution for the care of the mentally ill. The new hospital did of course soon get it’s nickname – the Mental House. The Mental House was built in it’s predecessor’s gardens, close to Bergen Civil Hospital on Engen.

The new hospital did of course soon get it’s nickname – the Mental House.

Bergen Mental Hospital was a two-story wooden house. The architect was Jacob E. Flintoe, who based his work on plans made by the chief medical officer Christen Heiberg. It was made room for 27 patients. Separate departments was made for men and women. The staff should live in their workplace, in rooms in the attic. The hospital was equipped with a work room, dining hall and a bath room on the ground floor, and with gardens and a yard outside. This was an clear progress compared with the Bedlam.

A new cell unit was added to the hospital in 1843, giving room to 12 more patients. In the 1860’S it became evident that Bergen Mental Hospital no longer covered the need for care in Bergen. A few private institutions had been started to cover an increasing need for care for mentally ill people. Sandviken Hospital, a mental hospital still in work today was consequently built and opened in 1891. The Mental House was torn down. Today Engen Centre for seniors is located at the site.

In this map from 1880, the mental hospital is indicated as "Sindsygeasylet".


Til alle som har en fot i fortidens Bergen - hva med Elisabeth Welhavens fornøyelige historier fra Bergen rundt 1800? Boken kan bestilles på Histos forlag!

Photo: Gamle Bergen Museum
Painting by Johanne M.F. Lund.
Present day picture: Histos.

Mentalsykehuset i Bergen, eller Bergen Bys Sindsygeasyl, var et kommunalt sinnssykeasyl som ble tatt i bruk 1. august 1833. Asylet, som på folkemunne ble kalt Mentalen, lå på Engen ved Bergens Civile Sygehus. Institusjonen avløste det tidligere dollhuset.

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