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Klinik Burghölzli.jpg
LocationZürich, Switzerland
ListsHospitals in Switzerland

The Psychiatrische Universitätsklinik Zürich (Psychiatric University Hospital Zürich) is a leading psychiatric hospital in Switzerland. As a research hospital, it is associated with the University of Zürich. It is also called Burghölzli, after the wooded hill in the district of Riesbach in southeastern Zürich where it is located.[1][2]


The former convent buildings of Predigerkirche Zürich were also used after the abolition of the monastery by the hospital. After the construction of the new hospital in 1842, they became the so-called "Versorgungsanstalt" where chronically ill, old, incurable mental patients were housed.[1][2]

The history of the hospital began in the early 1860s, when internist Wilhelm Griesinger at the University of Zurich made plans for the creation of a modern psychiatric clinic for humane treatment of the mentally ill. Although Griesinger died before the building was established in 1870, he is considered the founder of the Burghölzli. From 1870 until 1879, the hospital had three directors, Bernhard von Gudden, Gustav Huguenin and Eduard Hitzig. All three men practiced medicine from a biological basis, with brain pathology and physiology being the general focus of their research.[1][2]

Auguste-Henri Forel was the fourth director of Burghölzli, and spent nearly twenty years at the helm. Under his leadership, the hospital began to gain recognition throughout the medical world. Forel was able to combine the "dynamic approach" of French psychiatry with the biological orientation of the German school of psychiatric thought. In 1898 Eugen Bleuler became director of the Burghölzli, where he would remain until 1927. The "Bleuler era" is considered the most illustrious period at the hospital, largely due to the advent of psychoanalysis, usage of Freudian psychiatric theories, and the creative work of Bleuler's assistant, Carl Gustav Jung. Bleuler was followed as director by Hans-Wolfgang Maier and afterwards by his son Manfred Bleuler.[1][2]

In addition to Jung, many renowned psychiatrists spent part of their career at the Burghölzli, including Karl Abraham, Ludwig Binswanger, Eugène Minkowski, Hermann Rorschach, Franz Riklin, Constantin von Monakow, Eugen Bleuler, Ernst Rüdin, Adolf Meyer, Abraham Brill and Emil Oberholzer. Albert Einstein's son, Eduard Einstein was a patient at Burghölzli. Today the Burghölzli is an important center for psychiatric research and the treatment of mental illness. The psychological torture master Ewen Cameron studied at Burghölzli in the late 1920s.[1][2]

On March 6, 1971, a fire broke out at the clinic, and 28 patients perished; all were male, all elderly, and all died from suffocation rather than from burns. There were bars on the windows, frustrating the attempts of rescuers to save lives.[3]


The fictitious 2007 Swiss mystery film Marmorera was filmed among others,[4] at the Bürghölzli sanatory in the Weinegg district of Zürich, on the river Limmat near Technopark Zürich, at the Limmatquai promenade, and on the Münsterbrücke river crossing towards Münsterhof.


  1. ^ a b c d e Kallivayalil, Roy Abraham (April–June 2016). "The Burgholzli Hospital: Its history and legacy". Indian Journal of Psychiatry. Mumbai: Medknow Publications. 58 (2): 226–228. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.183772. PMC 4919972. PMID 27385861.
  2. ^ a b c d e Palmai, George; Blackwell, Barry (July 1966). "The Burghölzli centenary". Medical History. Cambridge University Press. 10 (3): 257–265. doi:10.1017/S0025727300011121. PMC 1033605. PMID 5330008.
  3. ^ "28 Elderly Men Die in Fire at Clinic in Zurich Suburb," New York Times, March 7, 1971, p. 8.
  4. ^ Rolf Breiner. "Stausee-Spuk made in Switzerland" (in German). cineman.ch. Retrieved 2015-02-15.
  • This article is based on a translation of an article from the French Wikipedia.

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Coordinates: 47°21′10″N 8°34′14″E / 47.3527°N 8.5706°E / 47.3527; 8.5706