Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct

Once a centre to treat the sick and injured during the Dutch colonial time, the Old Dutch Hospital is famed for being one of the more stylish and chic shopping precincts in Colombo Fort that eclectically combine the features of the unique Old Dutch colonial architecture with the technologically driven globalized world of today. This unique blend can be seen in the form of the trendy and exquisite cafes, restaurants, shops and bars. If you are to shop for the perfect souvenir and witness some of the best moments in Colombo, be it for some exquisite gourmet food or just have a drink and casual chat with your friends in the weekend, the Dutch Hospital is an idyllic setting to experience such things, making your time in the commercial capital a memorable one.

Best Known For

Interesting Facts

  • The name of the shopping precinct is a dead giveaway to finding the complexes origins, as it was indeed a hospital during the Dutch colonial period.
  • The building is believed to have been built somewhere in the 17th century to treat the officers and other staff serving under the Dutch East India Company, thus making it the oldest standing building in Colombo Fort. It also served as a treating centre to the Dutch seafarers too.
  • After Sri Lanka achieved its independence from the British in 1948, the complex was transformed into the Colombo Apothecaries and then the Colombo Fort Police Station in the 1980s and 1990s.
  • In 1996, the complex suffered great damage as a result of the Central Bank bombings caused by the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE), however, after a prolonged period of abandonment and dilapidation, the Urban Development Authority (UDA) successfully refurbished the complex into a shopping precinct in 2011.
  • The idea was to maintain its Old Dutch architecture and just bring the interior of the complex to the 21st century.
  • Presently, the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct is home to some esteemed establishments such as the Colombo Fort Café, The Steuart by Citrus, Barefoot, Ministry of Crab, Heladiv Tea Club, Semondu, Ikoi Tei by WIP, Taphouse by RnR, Spa Ceylon to name but a few of the more prominent establishments.
  • Ever since its revamp, the courtyards of the shopping precinct has become a hotspot for many uplifting events and the vibrant nightlife it brings to the hustling and bustling city of Colombo during the weekends.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The shopping precinct is open daily from 10:00am to 10:00pm, however, some of the establishments like the fine dining restaurants are open for a little longer.
  • There is no particular season to visit the shopping precinct as it is open throughout the year and is quite crowded with a number of patrons almost every day.
  • The best time to visit the shopping precinct really is during the afternoons and evenings, especially during the weekends as it is quite the happening place to be. Coupled with great entertainment, along with many food festivals, you really would not get enough of it.
  • The souvenir shops are open daily too, however, they operate in varying hours.
  • Should you be looking to taste the tantalising food of the fine dining restaurants, then it is best to make a call and reserve a table since it can be quite full for the most part.
  • If you are looking to explore the places of interest of the commercial capital, then the shopping precinct is a great place to start, due to its close proximity to other monuments and historical artifacts.

All in all, the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct proves to be an eclectic mix of the old and new, boasting of unique Dutch colonial architecture, that has been combined with some of the more exquisite establishments the country has, in the form of exemplary cafes, restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment options, making it the perfect place to experience the best of Colombo.

Title image by: KNOWSL The information displayed is provided by Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct


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