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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Psychiatrists from Brussels’ biggest hospital recommend cultural visits against anxiety

Take a tour of the city’s old sewers, peruse the coveted Manneken Pis, or review some of the most emblematic outfits at the Museum of Fashion and Lace. These are some of the therapies offered by the biggest hospital in the city to patients of anxiety, stress or depression.

Local authorities have developed a pilot project that will allow patients to visit museums and heritage works for free by medical prescription for six months to improve mental health. The objective of the initiative is twofold: to promote access to culture for a vulnerable population and to provide an additional tool within the framework of clinical follow-up.


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The project can be summed up as follows: Stop and consider treatment, an ambitious goal that Belgian doctors rely on. It will be held with the participation of psychiatrists from Brugman Hospital and five cultural venues under the direct jurisdiction of the city.

Patients will be able to visit the Central Contemporary Art Center, the City Museum, the Fashion and Lace Museum, and the Manneken Pis Wardrobe, where visitors will be able to travel around the world through the costume of Brussels’ famous sculpture. They will also be able to enter the Sewer Museum, which gives visitors an insight into the underground area of ​​the Belgian capital.

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Statue of Manneken Pis in a traditional Ukrainian dress to mark Ukraine’s Independence Day in Brussels on August 24, 2022.

Kenzo Triboulard / AFP

Operation is simple. Once the patient visits the doctor, it will be the experts who will indicate which museum the patient wants to visit and how many people, relatives or other close people will accompany him. The prescription has been signed and the Brussels government will be in charge of paying for the tickets for the patient and three companions.

“Art helps all human beings to forget that we are mortal beings,” explains Vincent Lustigier, a psychotherapist at Brugman University Hospital, in charge of the center for this pilot project, in statements collected by efe, The initiative will run for six months and then it will be evaluated, with the hope of expanding it.


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This type of medical travel has never been seen before in Europe. It is considered a pioneering initiative in the continent. The project is inspired by a practice started in Quebec (Canada), in which, from 2018, doctors issued prescriptions, allowing patients to visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for free.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the arts can play an “important role” in promoting health and treating disease. In one report, the agency recognizes growing evidence these treatments can help improve the health and well-being of patients.

World Nation News Desk
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