The Old Colombo Dutch Hospital (known as The Dutch Hospital ) is considered to be the oldest building in the Colombo Fort area dating back to the Dutch colonial era in Sri Lanka. It is now a heritage building and a shopping and dining precinct.
Built as a hospital by the Dutch, it has been used for several different purposes, over the years. It is believed to have existed since 1681, as recorded by German Christoper Schweitzer. The Dutch established the Colombo hospital to look after the health of the officers and other staff serving under the Dutch East India Company. The hospital’s close proximity to the harbour allowed it to serve Dutch seafarers. Most patients were provided with a mat, while the most ill were given a mattress. Patients clothing was imported from Tuticorin, India. The surgeon with the longest service at the Colombo hospital was Alleman. Alleman sought to improve conditions at the hospital, including increasing provisions. The most famous of all the surgeons who worked in the Colombo hospital was undoubtedly Paul Hermann, who served from 1672-79. Herman has been described as the father of botany in Sri Lanka. Paintings from the era show that it once had a canal running along what is now Canal Row lane. This canal was filled in by British colonists after their capture of the city.