Medical and Pharmacy Museum: De Griffioen

Old apothecary jars, early ointment tubes, syringes, and antique microscopes. The fascinating Museum De Griffioen takes visitors on a walk through the recent history of medicine.

Standing inconspicuously at Koornmarkt, the museum was founded in 1989 as a rescue mission. When the Reinier de Graaf hospital merged with another hospital and moved to its new location, outdated medical equipment was discarded.

De Griffioen, a director at the hospital, believed that these objects had historical value and salvaged them. He started this collection with his sister who worked as a technical assistant at a pharmacy. “We also have an early, large cardiogram machine; models of embryos and fetuses and other items from the collection of famous Dutch doctor Reinier de Graaf, who was based in Delft during his time,” said Suzy Deyer, treasurer of the board.

The pharmaceutical section of the museum has instruments that were used to compound pills. “Pharmacists back then used raw plant material and in order to keep track of the different plants and their properties, so they created portfolios in large cupboards. That’s also something you can see at our museum,” she added.

The museum charts the evolution of hospital equipment such as bed pans. From models made out of pewter to porcelain and then steel. “For students, it will be interesting to see how doctors, and especially nurses, had to do a lot of hard labour. Really heavy things had to be carried around. And most instruments were reused, which meant cleaning was really critical. Nurses had to be really tough,” she said.

Tours can only be booked by appointment. For more information:

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