How Lisbon's Doll Hospital is Preserving a Generation of Memorable Treasures

Nina Santos

New isn’t always best – something that the generations of owners of the world’s oldest doll repair shop know better than most. Situated in Praça da Figueira since 1830, Lisbon’s Doll Hospital has been repairing favorite dolls of all kinds for nearly 200 years and even today, despite the popularity of commercial products, their business booms. Perhaps more locals have sought to repair their beloved dolls in light of the economic crisis that gripped the country, but it’s still doing well, even as the economy begins to swing back upward.

Mothers and fathers, as well as grandparents and friends bring their treasured but broken childhood dolls to Lisbon’s Doll Hospital for repairs, hoping to revitalize them before passing them on to the next generation. As the world’s oldest doll repair shop, it receives quite a bit of attention, not just from Lisbon’s locals but from residents across the country as well.

Even vintage dolls can look like new again

The walls are lined with dolls of all shapes, sizes, and value, in addition to limbs, eyes, hair, and anything else that can be used for repairs. “Doctors” are seamstresses, handymen, and artisans of all kinds, meaning the hospital doesn’t turn patients away and can fix many types of ailments from damaged music boxes to barbie heads and cracks in porcelain.

The hospital is tucked away in bustling and historical Praça da Figueira

Doll Hospital, Praça da Figueira, 7 – 1100-240 Lisboa, 1100-197 Lisboa

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