My Hometown

Hometown BW

My hometown. Geel is a city located in the Belgian province of Antwerp which acquired the status of a city in the 1980s. It comprises Central-Geel which is constituted of 4 old parishes a/o towns : Sint-Amand, Sint-Dimpna, Holven and Elsum. Further on around the center are the parish-towns of Ten Aard (N), Sas 7 (NE), Bel (E), Winkelomheide (SE), Stelen, Oosterlo and Zammel (S), Punt (SW) and Larum (W). On January 1, 2006 Geel had a total population of 35,189 and 12,321 cats. The total area is 109.85 km2 (42 sq mi) which gives a population density of 320 inhabitants per km². Geel’s patron saint, the Irish Saint Dymphna, inspired the town’s unique method of care for the mentally ill. The city is also featured in Ciarán Carson’s novel Shamrock Tea (Granta 2001).

Geel is well known for the early adoption of deinstitutionalization in psychiatric care. This practice is based on the positive effects that placement in a host family gives the patient, most importantly access to family life that would otherwise have been denied. The legendary 7th-century Saint Dymphna, who had moved to the Geel area from Ireland, is usually credited for this type of care. The earliest Geel infirmary and the model where patients go into town, interact with the community during the day, and return to the hospital at night to sleep, date from the 13th century.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Slightly changed though…

Mr. Bowie lives somewhere in the Southeast.

27 responses

  1. Very interesting, the mental health part of the description of your city. I work in mental health, and I’ll agree this was very progressive. We were in the dark ages in the US until maybe 30 years ago. Still not what it could be for sure, but better than it used to be.

    It’s a cat loving city! Bowie is just gorgeous!

    • As kids we grew up with mental patients living and working in our community. We never felt or thought there was something wrong or strange about this way of living…

    • Hi Jonathan, there was a movie on TV last year about the community integration for mental patients in Geel. They also showed a place somewhere in the NY State (if I’m right…) where they did something similar. Maybe it was the hospital where your Dad worked…

    • Ha ha ha… I really love your reply! I see you did your homework… Gasthuishoeve is a very good restaurant, you should try the fresh fish on the menu.

      I took this photo 2 weeks ago around 14h. Don’t know where everyone was hanging around… Maybe the 12,321 cats scared them off! It looked like a ghost town.

      • Yah yah, I’m on it Herman. I was just going to look and see how close Geel was to Brussels. When I Googled, it brought up “Where to shop and eat in Geel”, naturally I had to check it out. Thanks for the tip on the menu…you never know when that might come in handy.

  2. Most interesting! Sounds like a very progressive place… I want to look up Saint Dymphna. We’ve been to Ireland but I don’t recall hearing about this so now I’m curious…..As for Geel – any place with that many cats just HAS to be on my “must see” list!


    • Pam, I’ve just posted some links about the Saint Dymphna legend. Feel free to check them out.
      Concerning the 12,321 cats living in Geel, beware, they only come out at night… 😉

    • Voilá, zie hier het bewijs dat je niet alles moet geloven op Wikipedia! Sas 7 is inderdaad geen parochie. Snel die pagina aanpassen is de boodschap…
      Blijkbaar zijn er mensen die mijn katten-grap in het artikel geloven. Straks toch maar even vermelden voor er tickets naar Geel worden geboekt… 😉

      • Het nadeel van Wikipedia, elke idioot kan dingen toevoegen / verwijderen…
        Dat van die katten zou ik laten zoals het is; zet het gewoon even op Wikipedia, dan is het “waar”. 🙂

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