Internationally the UMCG plays a leading role in the development of hospital architecture. In the design of the new hospital in the 70s a radically new approach was used: a building where patients can feel comfortable and where it is pleasant for employees to work. Until then, hospitals had been cold, functional structures where the doctor rather than the patient was the focal point. The UMCG was the first hospital to do things differently. The new construction concept resulted in a surprising interior design with shopping streets and a lot of art.
The UMCG, with its striking entrance at the Hanzeplein is not the first new addition to the hospital. Around 1900 a beautiful new teaching hospital was built at what was then the edge of the city. Completely in line with the vision of those days, each specialization was given its own pavilion. The hospital had a total of 390 beds and had the very latest technological ‘gadgets’. For a long time this hyper-modern hospital complex was the classic example of hospital construction in the Netherlands. As a result of the rapid development of medicine the number of specializations increased and therefore also the number of pavilions. After 1945 the hospital grounds became a maze of buildings and streets. From an organizational point of view this translated into a situation in which each Professor ruled his own little kingdom. The pavilion structure also obstructed multi-disciplinary collaboration. By the 70s everyone was looking forward to a new building that would be more accessible to patients, more efficient and user-friendly. The UMCG as we know it today was given shape in a Construction process that lasted nearly 20 years. One by one pavilions were demolished and all the clinics were brought under one roof. The UMCG was opened in 1997 by her royal Princess Margriet.
Buildings can make people ill, or have a healing effect. Research has shown that the hospital building affects the healing process. The exterior, the interior design, the atmosphere, the views, the use of color… all these affect the well-being of the patient. If patients are comfortable and positive then this is good for the healing process.
City within the city
UMCG feels that patients have to be able to continue to participate in society. This is why the hospital has brought the outside world into its walls. The result is a city within the city, with a bookshop, a hairdresser, a chemist, a pharmacy, cafés, a travel agency and much more. There is even a supermarket. Patients who are capable of leaving their bed meet visitors, employees, students and local residents in the inner streets of the UMCG. This allows them to temporarily stop feeling like a patient.