Dutch Hospital

Top choice in Colombo


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This terracotta-tiled, Dutch-era structure dates back to the early 1600s. Beautifully restored, it's now home to trendy shops, cafes and restaurants. In the central courtyard, surrounded by low, tiled eaves and now populated with stone picnic benches, it's just possible to imagine the hospital in use, with patients lined up on mattresses beneath the stars.


Colombo Fort, of which the hospital is now part, was originally established by the Portuguese, who landed in Sri Lanka and slowly colonised the island during the 16th century. The hospital itself was added to the fort complex by the Dutch after they captured the city from the Portuguese following a seven-month siege in 1656.

The hospital was established to serve staff of the Dutch East India Company, both those on-land and those arriving on long voyages from sea – hence the building's location close to the city's port. Upon completion, it was the largest hospital in the country. A canal once ran alongside the building, but it was filled up by British colonialists after they invaded and captured the city from the Dutch.

Following Sri Lanka's independence from Britain in 1948, the hospital was used as an apothecary and police station before being restored and opening as a bar, restaurant and shopping complex in 2011.

Restaurants at the Dutch Hospital

Restaurants in Colombo's Dutch Hospital complex include Ministry of Crab, Heladiv Tea Club and T-Lounge by Dilmah, among many others. It's also a good spot for an evening drink, with live music performances in the open-air courtyard on occasion.