Example: this page.

Duden says that one of the meanings of Pforte, especially for hospitals etc is:

bewachter Eingang eines Klosters, Krankenhauses o. Ä.

BEISPIEL: sich an der Pforte melden

So is Pforte in this context basically the reception? Why does it then say bewachter Eingang, which sounds like something rather grand?


A Pforte in this sense is a door with a gatekeeper. This differs from a hotel reception in that you usually cannot simply walk through the door and go to the reception. You first have to talk to the gatekeeper (Pförtner in German) who then may let you in (or not).

  • OK, the system is different from here in the UK then. Here you decide which outpatient department you need to go to and then you just go to that reception. Of course if you are visiting a patient especially outside visiting hours then you'd probably get stopped by someone. – PBH May 25 '20 at 19:57
  • 2
    In case of a hospital, there may be not that much of a difference to a reception. But the original meaning is that there is someone who is placed right near the entrance, "guarding" the entrance. – RHa May 25 '20 at 22:01
  • The original meaning is just that, but in practice, the difference is so blurred that I have in fact often wondered whether the "Pforte" of a hospital can also be called "Rezeption". Just like @PBH described, if you already know where the patient you're about to visit is located, you usually simply walk in (during visting hours) (and in many cases, you do not even go to the "reception" of that department/ward (Stationszimmer)). At the same time, a hotel reception is a gatekeeper of some sort, given that random people who have not booked a room are not supposed to get to the rooms. – O. R. Mapper May 27 '20 at 20:04
  • @PBH I have never seen a hospital in Germany with an entrance that would deserve the name “Pforte”. Maybe 100 years back. – gnasher729 May 30 '20 at 22:10

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