The whitewashed buildings here are Hertug Hans Hospital (Duke Hans’ hospital), which was established in 1569. It was not a hospital in today’s sense; we would call it a poorhouse. It was a place where poor and infirm elderly people could get free board and lodging when they could not fend for themselves and had no family to take care of them. It was far from luxurious, but they had a roof over their heads and were spared from having to beg. There was also a chapel there, so they had access to the church in their old age.
Duke Hans the Elder lived in Haderslev from 1544 until his death in 1580. It was something of a heyday for the town, as a permanent princely court generated a good income and work. After the Reformation, areas such as health care had been neglected as they used to come under the Catholic Church. With the establishment of the hospital, Duke Hans gave care for the poor and the elderly a boost. Over time, conditions for the residents improved, and the Hertug Hans Hospital served as a home for the elderly from 1569 to 1983, when the building could no longer meet the requirements to continue as a nursing home.
Following a thorough renovation in the late 1980s, the hospital is now used by Haderslev Domsogn for meeting rooms, etc., and weekly services and other religious ceremonies are held in the chapel.