Illness & Health in Collectielab #2
7 nov 2020 - 16 may 2021

Illness & Health in Collectielab #2


Many stories about illness and health are hidden away in the Breda Collection. Covid-19 is not the first infectious disease to strike humanity. Together with the city’s archivists, archaeologists and curators we will spend one year searching for special objects and documents that tell the tales. The Amphia Hospital is also participating in this show.

The Pox on you, or Typhus or Cholera!The Dutch have been really good at using names of diseases to swear at people, but do we even realise what we’re saying? The literal meaning has become lost in the Dutch usage. Most people probably don’t even realise that these words refer to actual diseases any more, but these swear words do come from a time when people lived in constant fear of getting these diseases. Many believed that God gave you the disease as a punishment for your sins, so saying Cholera on you! was like the opposite version of saying Bless you. Will ‘Covid on you’ soon also be heard on the street? Upsetting infectious diseases are sadly no longer a thing of the past. 

The evolution of today’s modern hospital system was only very gradual. Nearly every hospital was started by a religious order that took the initiative to help the sick. Breda led the way in the province of North Brabant. 

In recent months, the importance of a good health care system has once again become clear. Breda was located at the centre of the Corona storm in the Netherlands, while the new Amphia hospital has not even officially opened yet. In this room you will be introduced to objects, films and photographs that show which diseases and health institutions have been important in Breda throughout the centuries.

Illness & Health in CollectieLab was produced by Stedelijk Museum Breda, City Archives Breda, Team Heritage Breda and Amphia.

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