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TURN(THORN) HOUT(WOOD – The name tells us we are definitely in woodlands, at the intersection of European trade routes in the Middle Ages. The Earls of Brabant protected the traders and settled in a castle fort close to their hunting grounds. Local knights secured the area and won privileges for doing this. However, a series of epidemics and the Inquisition led the nobility to flee to the Netherlands. Several conflicts and wars took place on the borders and it was only weavers and craftsmen who contributed to the economy. Nevertheless Turnhout became the capital of the Campine.
In 1850, after Belgian Independence Philippus Jacobus Brepols founded a paper industry that developed into the renowned playing cards industry Cartamundi. We will focus on this industry in the afternoon when visiting the museum.
One hundred years later Dr. Paul Janssen started the company Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Turnhout, but in 1953 it moved to new facilities built on a stretch of land in Beerse, close to the town. In 1961 the company became part of Johnson & Johnson. The research laboratories are responsible for more than 200 patents, resulting in 80 new drugs of which 8 are on the WHO list of essential drugs (e.g. Fentanyl which provided a global revolution in anaesthesiology and Haloperidol which revolutionized psychiatric treatment).
Dr Paul JANSSEN, or Dr PAUL for short, ranks as high as Pater Damiaan in Belgian hearts since he died in 2003. Guy Vercauteren, Paul Appermont, Louis de Thanhoffer de Volcsey a leading marketing & research team at the modern plant, will guide us in English through that fantastic success story portrayed in the MEDUCEUM (medical educational museum) situated near de Warande where our day starts.
This museum also hosts a collection of medical supplies that reflect the improvement in medical care in the hospitals of this town over the last sixty years.