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.
The religious institution was dissolved in 1797, and the property declared forfeited. The hospital was placed under the administration of the Burgerlijk Godshuizen, the predecessor of the current Public Centre for Social Welfare (OCMW), which is how the Elzenveld came into their possession and management. The monastery building was frequently enlarged and remodelled over the centuries. The history dates from the 16th century. The religious order left the monastery on 12 January 1989 and settled in a new rest home.