The massive excavators and towering yellow cranes held a well-earned break on Monday 30 May on the construction site in the western part of Rigshospitalet. They were allowing Crown Princess Mary to lay the cornerstone for Rigshospitalet's hospital for children and teens.
Mary Elizabeth’s Hospital - Rigshospitalet for Children, Teens and Expecting Families has been named after the Crown Princess, and it will be a highly specialised hospital for children, teenagers, expecting mothers and their families from all of Denmark. The hospital will establish a safe and homelike atmosphere, with space for the needs and lives of people and families who are often in a very vulnerable situation. The specialists will come to the patients rather than the opposite, and play will be an integral part of daily life at the hospital.
Calmer and more cohesive pathway
Lars Gaardhøj, chairman of the Regional Council at the Capital Region of Denmark (Social Democrats), is delighted that the project has reached this important milestone:
“When children and young people are admitted to hospital, life stands still for the whole family. Therefore, it’s important to give them space to be a family when they are in hospital. The cornerstone marks that we are on the way to building a hospital with space for a family to play and be together at a difficult time. And Mary Elizabeth’s Hospital will be organised so that the specialists come to the patient. As things stand, patients sometimes have to go to many different places at the hospital for examinations. At Mary Elizabeth’s Hospital all the examination rooms are in one place, and this will provide a calmer and more cohesive pathway,” said Lars Gaardhøj.
International collaboration improves treatment
The project director for Mary Elizabeth’s hospital, Merete Lange, is also pleased that the construction site is being transformed into a hospital that, with its bright and spacious framework, has been designed and constructed on the terms of patients:
“We’re not just putting up a building. It’s an entirely new way of running a hospital. We’re working on the basis of an overall vision in which we look at the whole person, whether it be a child, teenager or adult. At Mary Elizabeth’s Hospital, we’ll be working with national and international experts to create an even better future for seriously ill children, young people and pregnant women, with examination, diagnosis and research at the highest international level,” said Merete Lange.
Space for all the family’s needs
Mary Elizabeth’s Hospital is a partnership between the Capital Region of Denmark, Rigshospitalet and Ole Kirk's Fond, with a total budget of DKK 2.8 bn., of which DKK 0.7 bn. was donated by Ole Kirk's Fond. Of the donation from Ole Kirk's Fond, DKK 85 mill. has been earmarked to improve the user experience.
The chairman of Ole Kirk's Fond, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, said:
"We’re extremely pleased that, together with our partners, we’ve laid the cornerstone for a hospital that will establish the best possible framework for children and their families, who are in a particularly vulnerable situation. There will be space to meet their needs, and families will be able to be together at a time when the child's illness dominates everything. The aim in particular is to give families a sense of everyday life and security. In this context, play can be a way to joy and motivation during treatment, and therefore we and our partners want to make play an even greater part of everyday life at the hospital. For it is well known that children learn through play, and they understand and experience the world through play; even when they are ill,” said Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen.
Time capsule installed with the cornerstone
At the same time as the cornerstone was laid, a time capsule was cast into the foundation of the building, with artefacts from the existing hospital.
Mary Elizabeth’s Hospital will be 60,000 m2 spread over seven floors, with technical installations and utilities on the eighth floor. The first turf was cut for the building, which was originally called BørneRiget, in April 2021 by the former chairman of the Regional Council in the Capital Region of Denmark, the current Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen.
Jacob Gyldenløve Aaen
Press consultant, Rigshospitalet
Tel: (+45) 35 45 41 42