The Gasthuis was originally a "passer-by's guesthouse", a kind of hospital where nuns took care of the needy and foreigners passing through the city. Only later would the nuns start taking care of the sick, to concentrate exclusively on this in the 18th century. Since 1990, the hospital chapel has served as an exhibition space. On the side wall are obituaries, a custom that still exists in Torhout and Bruges. The death is announced to the local population by the posters that can also be found on the three churches of Poperinge.

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