Who we are > Our history

In 1594, Carlos, a native of Antwerp, ceded the property he owned in Madrid so that at his death it would give shelter to the poor and pilgrims from the 17 provinces of the Low Countries (today the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and North of France) who were at the time visiting Madrid, the capital of the Spanish Empire. The new hospital was built under the patronage of St. Andrew, patron saint of the Burgundy nation, so that it is not surprising that The Martyrdom of St. Andrew was placed in its high altar, the oil painting by Peter Paul Rubens which continues to dominate the chapel of the Foundation. It was commissioned for the Foundation by Jan van Vucht, agent in Madrid of Balthasar Moretus, head of the famous Plantin Press from Anwerp. 

In 1798 the Sale of Church Property Laws, that ordered the sale of assets of hospitals and workhouses, left the Foundation without resources, causing a crisis that ended up with the caving in of the former venue of the Foundation in 1848. The timely intervention of Belgian diplomats supporting the Hospital of St. Andrew and the work of its Deputies seeking help from politicians and the Crown bore results, and in 1877 the Princess of Asturias inaugurated a new Church and Hospital in Claudio Coello street, the place at which the Foundation Carlos de Amberes has been located since then, now dedicated to cultural activities after the adapting of its centenary Constitutions.

See the Spanish version of our history for more information