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Lucerne Psychiatric Services (, St Urban Clinic

The cantonal asylum for the insane and nursing home at St Urban was opened in a former Cistercian monastery in 1873. The monastery had been founded in the twelfth century and had been expanded into an imposing baroque structure. In 1848, following the end of the Sonderbund War, the monastery was deconsecrated by the government of Lucerne. Originally built for 200 patients, and later extended to house 400 patients, St Urban was remote and surrounded by much countryside, thus providing farmwork for patients. Its first director (1873–75) was the German psychiatrist Ludwig Wille (1834–1912), who had opened the Canton of Zurich’s psychiatric hospital in the former monastery at Rheinau in 1867. As early as 1875, Wille accepted his appointment as professor of psychiatry at the University of Basel, where he was appointed director of Friedmatt psychiatric hospital in 1886. Like many other psychiatric asylums, St Urban also housed mentally handicapped persons well into the twentieth century. In 1970, occupancy peaked at 710 patients (compared to the current occupancy of 320 patients). In 1975, works by patients were shown at the Galerie Raeber in Lucerne (23 May–28 June 1975, Exhibition Catalogue). A random inspection of the patient files on record at St Urban archive revealed that the historical files from the period 1873–1930 contained no personal contributions (letters, drawings) by patients whatsoever. However, a collection of works that have emerged since the 1970s exists.

Galerie Raeber (ed.), Schizophrenie und Droge in der Malerei: Beispiele aus der psychiatrischen Klinik St.Urban, 23 May–28 June 1975, Luzern 1975

Baumann, Urs, Kantonale Psychiatrische Klinik St. Urban 1873–1973. Zum Hundertjährigen Bestehen, Luzern o.J. (1973)

Egli, Jakob, Geistig behinderte Menschen in psychiatrischen Kliniken: eine Herausforderung. Luzern 1990

Galerie Raeber (ed.), Schizophrenie und Droge in der Malerei: Beispiele aus der psychiatrischen Klinik St.Urban, Ausstellungskatalog, 23 May–28 June 1975, Luzern 1975

Hug, Anna, Die St. Urbaner Schulreform an der Wende des 18. Jahrhunderts, Zürich 1920.
Regierungsrat des Kantons Luzern (ed.), St. Urban 1194–1994. Ein ehemaliges Zisterzienserkloster, Bern 1994