A visit at “Salve Mater”

Author Frits Vrielink - Last updated: 10.09.2009

August the 1st, 03:00 o’clock at night….

I was dreaming, dreaming about some good stuff, when suddenly some sound woke me up… What’s that!?! It’s my alarm, Damn I wish I went to bed earlier last night! I got out of bed, hit the shower and prepared myself for another mission.

It was about 04.15 when I arrived at ” B ” (my usual urbex in crime partner) I was already late because I forgot my TomTom on my way to B and I had to turn back to pick it up. So no time for coffee this time because we supposed to pick up ” Fotogravirus ” ( I will use “F” for Fotogravirus from now on. )at 05:00 o’clock somewhere on our way to the location.

It’s 05:10 o’clock when we arrive at our meeting point, 5 Min’s later F arrived. We had a little chit chat and of we go, on our way to Belgium, Salve Mater the Psychiatric Centre.

Before I’ll continue my story I would like to give you some background info about this Psychiatric Centre.

Psychiatric centre in Belgium, partly used, partly abandoned

Queen Elisabeth of Belgium opened the Salve Mater psychiatric centre for women in 1926. The centre was set up by the ‘sisters of love’ from Gent on the lands owned by the counts of Spoelbergh. The buildings were designed by architect Joseph Hachez.

The psychiatric hospital was a centre for female patients and was owned by the university to educate student psychiatrists.

Until 1997, the main building held the psychiatric clinic’s administrative offices and the sisters’ convent.

The surrounding park, set up as an English scenic garden, was protected by the Administration of Monuments and Landscapes due to its rich collection of trees and plants.

Built in 1926

Partly Abandoned in 1997

After a 2 hour drive we arrived at Salve Mater, we parked the car, took our stuff and walked towards the location.

A gate where the initials ” S M ” is treated in, decorates ours entry to the building. We took a look around to see if someone could notice us, and of we go! Took a little sprint, pushed myself through a window and went straight to an another room so we won’t be in sight of someone else and we could take out our gear out of our bags and explore this beauty!

The gate with the S M initials

The gate with the "S M" initials

So we where in and we where all setting up our camera’s and tripods. I was taking a few shot’s with my 18-55mm lens, walking around when F told me that he brought some other lenses that I could use if I wanted to, so I asked what he had to offer and he came up with the Tokina 12-24mm. I always wanted to play with such kind of lens, so I changed it with my canon 18-55mm and got ready to play.

The first shots I took with the kit lens where done in a bathroom and it was very difficult to put in the entire bathroom with that lens, so i walked back to the bathroom to see the difference with the Tokina 12-24mm. Set up my tripod, took a few shots and I checked them on my cam… Damn I’m impressed! This is real fun to play with…

Impressed by the wide angle.

Impressed by the wide angle.

The lens was not the only thing that impressed me, this whole building impressed me as well! High ceilings, big windows, Lot’s of decay, crazy wallpapers, Stairs, checked floors etc…We walked up the stairs up to the 1st floor and we passed through to another room where the ceiling partly collapsed. What ever used to be a beautiful white room has now been caught up by decay.

Stairs to the 1st floor

Stairs to the 1st floor

Caught up by decay

Caught up by decay

In the meanwhile I was shooting this room, “B” and “F” where already gone further with their exploring. So we are walking around separately from each other, documenting this building crossing one room after the another. While exploring I noticed that the floors and the ceilings are almost everywhere unstable so that might be tricky on the upper floors.

Unstable ceiling.

Unstable ceiling.

Collapsed by decay

Collapsed by decay

As I walked through some rooms, taking some shots I run into “B”. I asked him if he know where “F” could be and he told me he was already went a level up, so we walked towards the stairs when “F” already comes down to tell us to watch out where to walk on the attic because on some places the floor is moving as you walk on it. I looked at “B” and we went upstairs to take a look….

At first sight we didn’t noticed something until we went to this room..

Collapsed floor..

Collapsed floor..

It’s hard to see, but the entire left site of this floor is collapsing. The picture I called ” Unstable Ceiling” is the room directly under this one. After seeing this i decided not to go any further in this room for my own safety, because I already saw the room directly under it. Me and B turned around to take some other shots on the attic.

Urbex-partner In Crime Mr. B

Urbex-partner In Crime "Mr. B"

We found this stairs on the attic and decided to go up to see what’s there. At first sight it looks quit stable, but after a few steps you can feel the movement under your feet.

Looks stable at first sight

Looks stable at first sight

So going down the stairs to the 2nd floor to find “F” again. The stair’s in this building are really beautiful, allot of detail and decay. The floors are checked and large windows are providing the stairs with some light.

From the 3rd to the 2nd floor

From the 3rd to the 2nd floor

Half way down the stairs..

Half way down the stairs..

Back on the 2nd floor again we didn’t saw “F” on the place we left him, so we had some time to check out the 2nd floor while we where looking for him. Going on room after the another to see how much effect the decay has on the building. Some rooms are more terrible than the other…

I fee like taking a bath....

I fee like taking a bath....

Wash your hands before dinner..

Wash your hands before dinner..

In the meanwhile we found “F” back and we where all taking shot’s and having a good time. I walked into what used to be a room I think… I took a shot of the room and I saw there was still a mirror on the wall. I set up my tripod to take a shot of the mirror and the sink below. As I looked through my cam this is what I saw….

Take a look behind you...

Take a look behind you...

I looked backward and there was nothing at all! Am i becoming mad?…

I walked to the door, turned around and took another shot…again nothing at all….

Nothing at all..

Nothing at all..

Maybe it’s because I had just a few hours of sleep last night….

I continue my exploring on the 2nd floor and took some shots…

Wich way to go from here..

Which way to go from here..

From the 2nd to the 3rd or from the 2nd to the 1st...

From the 2nd to the 3rd or from the 2nd to the 1st...

Lonely right shoe..

Lonely right shoe..

So once we where all done at the 2nd floor and having a short break for a drink and something to eat we continue our mission on the 1st floor. The stairs we walk down leads us to a corridor, one down I turned to the left to get a clear shot of the corridor.

Whats that in the corner....

What's that in the corner....

And there he was again.. Standing in a corner in the corridor I look up and as quick as I saw he disappears..

At the end of the corridor I see a large room with a chair, as I have a passion about urbex chairs and stairs I had to take a shot of this one as well for my collection.

Passion for urbex chairs...

Passion for urbex chairs...

I wanted to take another shot at the window, so again I set up my tripod, chose a angle, looked on more time at the object and looked through my camera to see that freak again..

Freak

Freak

Now I know for sure the freak is here for real.. Would my buddy’s have seen him as well? Should I ask or…. Nah maybe I’m mad indeed….

Walking around the first floor wondering what the hell is going on in here I walked into several interesting rooms..

This room was small, It had a low ceiling compares to the other rooms and the paint was coming down of the ceiling, this is the kind of decay I like..

Painting comes down...

Painting comes down...

This room was quit interesting too, don’t know what they used it fore back in the days.

Another interesting room...

Another interesting room...

The next room was a beauty, the decay, a missing window and some other objects in this room makes it just complete.

Beauty in decay...

Beauty in decay...

Some other objects in the room...

Some other objects in the room...

An old Closet…

Old Closet...

Old Closet...

A shot of the corridor on the 1st floor.

Im walking down the corridor and there is no place to hide..

I'm walking down the corridor and there is no place to hide..

Well this takes us back to the place we entered the building, we all where taking shots in the same room when we saw it again…. yes you have read it well WE saw the freak again! My Urbex-Partners in crime saw it too! I’m not becoming crazy!

Look behind the window...

Look behind the window...

It’s clearly he don’t want us to be here taking shots of this place, so we are off to our next building of Salve Mater.

This building was a small one, it was used to examine the deceased’s and it had a some kind of little chapel in it as well. Strange to see a such a table where they used to examine on dead people…

Examine dead people...

Examine dead people...

Examine room...

Examine room...

From the other site of the room...

From the other site of the room...

After this building we wanted to enter another one which included the church, the old kitchen part and some parts where patients use to sleep of the Psychiatric Centre Salve Mater. It turned out to still be in use by some artist’s and some other people with other aims for that building.

We managed to get in, but that is a whole other story that I am going to tell you guys but in a Part 2 of ” A Visit to Salve Mater “

So please stay tuned for Part 2 the ” The Infiltration”

I hope you enjoyed reading my article about Salve Mater as much I enjoyed exploring and documenting this location!

Brought to you by :

Frits Vrielink – Talkurbex crew

Have fun and remember – www.talkurbex.com – going the extra frickin mile to bring it straight to you!

7 comments

#1Tenacious BSeptember 11, 2009, 3:45 pm

Awesome story Frits! And great pics as always! And what a handsome dude that Mr B…….

#2manof2worldsSeptember 11, 2009, 5:53 pm

Part 2 please!!! Part 2 pleeeeeeeeease!!!

mo2w

#3Frits VrielinkSeptember 12, 2009, 7:47 am

Thanks “B”

@ Mo2w

Be patient my friend..it will be worth waiting ;)

#4sonjaSeptember 17, 2009, 6:09 pm

great ..

i keep track of your story’s

sonja

#5WinchOctober 16, 2009, 1:36 am

Nice one, I enjoyed this last weekend.

#6GilletteDecember 31, 2009, 3:27 pm

What a great story,i really enjoyed reading it,love the photo’s !

#7IoannaSeptember 15, 2013, 11:57 pm

Extraordinary site indeed. Just came back from there and here is a selection of some mindblowing shots at the pavillions of St Paulus and St Cecile as they look like today http://www.flickr.com/photos/ioannasakellaraki/sets/72157635543406305/

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