This institution has been located on the same site since 1238 and has a vast history. The site was originally called alnetum (alder grove), later Elzenveld. The Elzenveld centre is located in the heart of Antwerp. It is a short distance from the Groenplaats and the Handschoenmarkt, the Grote Markt and the Scheldt Quays.
The first Hospitale infirmorum was founded in Antwerp in the early 13th century near the then Romanesque Church of Our Lady. Due to lack of space and risk of contamination, it moved to Elzenveld in 1238, which was outside the city walls at that time. In 1258 the lay community of brothers and sisters accepted the rule of Saint Augustine. The city expanded so the institution eventually found itself back within the city walls. Nothing is left of the original hospital. The oldest building part on the site is the chapel, erected around 1400 and extended by a spacious choir section in 1442-1460. This was followed by the construction of the oldest remaining hospital wards, the monastery, the rectory and the rental houses around the complex.