Medieval castles in Belgium

Beloeil Castle

Belœil château has been the residence of the Prince de Ligne since the 14th century. The château lies in the middle of a magnificent Baroque garden designed in 1664. The château and gardens can be visited during spring and summer. Belœil became possession of the Ligne family in 1394. At the beginning of the 15th century the local castle was chosen as the principal residence of the family. The old castle was a fortif ...
Founded: 1394 | Location: Beloeil, Belgium

Ham-sur-Heure Castle

Ham-sur-Heure Castle was first mentioned in the 13th century when it passed, through marriage, to the Condé family. In the 15th century the castle was owned by the d'Enghien family. In 1487, when the last family member died without heirs, the castle went to the De Merode family. In 1540 the castle was visited by Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. Around this time the castle was probably enlarged and strengthened. In 16 ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes, Belgium

Mirwart Castle

Mirwart Castle is built on a rock rising above the Valley of the Lomme. The oldest parts of the castle date back to the 11th century. It was a stronghold belonging to the duchy of Lorraine. The lords of Mirwart had many bloody conflicts with other feudal lords of the region, such as the lords of Bouillon and Orchimont. The lords of Mirwart came into conflict with the monks of the powerful Saint-Hubert Abbey, suppo ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Saint-Hubert, Belgium

Freÿr Castle

The castle of Freÿr with its gardens form one of the most magnificent natural sites in Belgium. It has been classified as one of Wallonia"s major heritage sites. Dating back to the Middle Ages, Freÿr was a keep given in fief by the Count of Namur to Jean de Rochefort Orjol in 1378. His granddaughter Marie married Jacques de Beaufort in 1410. Their descendants have kept the estate until the present.  ...
Founded: 1571 | Location: Hastière, Belgium

Montaigle Castle Ruins

Montaigle Castle was built in the 14th century, and destroyed by Henry II of France in 1554. It stands on a rocky spur overlooking the valleys of the Molignée and of the Flavion. The site was used during the Late Roman period for a Belgo-Roman fortification. The ruins are open to visitors, convention spaces are also available.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Onhaye, Belgium

Chimay Castle

Chimay Castle has been owned by the Prince of Chimay and his ancestors for centuries, and it is open to the public for tours during part of the year. Although the castle was significantly damaged by a fire in 1935, the structure was subsequently rebuilt, and renovations continue under the current generation of the princely family. Chimay Castle, the home of the Princes of Chimay for many generations, is an ancient strong ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Chimay, Belgium

Reinhardstein Castle

Reinhardstein Castle is located in valley of the Warche, in the village of Ovifat in the municipality of Waimes (Weismes). It was built in 1354 for Wenceslaus of Luxembourg, while still Count, by his vassal Reinhard of Weismes. In 1550 following the marriage of Anne Naussau to Guillaume of Metternich, Reinhardstein became the property of this important Rhineland family, until the French Revolution. Abandoned, it f ...
Founded: 1354 | Location: Waimes, Belgium

Reuland Castle

Reuland Castle in Burg-Reuland, near the border of Germany, was probably built after 1148 by the von Reuland nobles. The castle was sold in 1322 to Count John the Blind and the King of Bohemia. On May 24, 1384, King Wenzel of Luxembourg designated Edmund von Engelsdorf the Secretary of the Treasury of Luxembourg, and donated the Castle and the Reuland Domain to him. The castle"s origins can be traced to th ...
Founded: 1148 | Location: Burg-Reuland, Belgium

Rupelmonde Castle Ruins

Rupelmonde Castle was built by the Counts of Flanders in the 12th century directly opposite the mouth of the river Rupel into the Scheldt river to defend these rivers. It was a large fortress with 17 towers circled by a moat. From this castle toll was levied from passing ships. Later on the castle was also used as a state prison. This caused the castle to play a important role in the history of the region. In 1678, when ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Rupelmonde, Belgium

Tavigny Castle

Tavigny Castle dates to th late Middle Ages, and it may have been only a refuge tower that is now the central part of the castle. Its walls are long 10 meters, thick 2 meters and they had plenty of arrow slits. The lordship of Tavigny belonged at first to a family who wore already its name, but in 1360, it was already owned by the Ouren family, a powerful Middle-age family from the dutchy of Luxembourg. The central tower ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Houffalize, Belgium

Cortewalle Castle

Cortewalle Castle dates back to the 15th century, and is one of the oldest in the Waasland. It is built of white sandstone, in Flemish Renaissance style. For centuries it was in the possession successively of the Triest, Goubau and de Brouchoven de Bergeyck families, until the Brouchovens sold it to the municipality of Beveren, who use it for the storage of the extensive and important De Bergeyck archives. Today Cortewal ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Beveren, Belgium

Den Dool Castle

In the Middle Ages, Den Dool castle served as a summer residence for the abbots of the Abbey of Sint-Truiden. The first mention is from 1282. Around 1340 the first abbot, Amelius van Schoonvorst, was there as a refugee during the wars of Liège against prince-bishop Engelbert van der Mark. In 1361 the castle and farm were burned down by knight Hendrik van Halbeek. The castle was restored between 1443 to 1470. and again in ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Houthalen, Belgium

Laarne Castle

Laarne Castle is a moated castle established in the 11th or 12th century to guard the approaches to Ghent from the sea. It was comprehensively renovated in the 17th century. Today the castle is partly used as a museum displaying a wonderful collection of tapestries, furniture, weapons and silverware. This beautiful castle is one of the best-preserved fortifications in Flanders.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Laarne, Belgium

Cleydael Castle

Cleydael Castle is a moated castle in Aartselaar originally dating from the 14th century. The four towers are called Fox tower, Chapel tower, Owl tower and Cat tower. The castle was the home of the lords of Cleydael until the end of the 18th century. After being part of the golf course, it is now private property again.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Aartselaar, Belgium

Crupet Keep

The keep of Crupet Castle was built in the 13th century and originally consisted of a square tower surrounded by a moat. The entrance was probably protected by a drawbridge and portcullis. In the 16th century, the keep was converted to a manor house. A corner tower was added, the windows were enlarged, and the timber top floor and roof were built. The drawbridge was probably also replaced at this time. The keep is not ope ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Crupet, Belgium

Elst Castle Ruins

Elst castle ruins in Duffel is one of the oldest buildings in the province of Antwerp. The oldest reference dates from the 12th century. At that time castle was owned by the brothers Hildincshusen. From 1356 until the French Revolution in 1789 the castle was owned by the Tongerlo Abbey and was inhabited by the steward. It was also used as a residence for the nobility. In 1584 the castle burned down and was then rebuilt. I ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Duffel, Belgium

Walzin Castle

Walzin Castle is located over the river Lesse near Dinant. Construction began in the 13th century, and the 15th-century Renaissance horseshoe tower with four cannon ports still exists, even though the castle was burned down by the French army in 1554. There were several restorations later, the latest by Baron Fréderic Brugman between 1930 and 1932. Victor Hugo made a drawing of it in 1863.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Dinant, Belgium

Prinsenkasteel

Prinsenkasteel ('Prince Castle') was founded in the 14th century by the lords of Grimbergen. The current castle buildings were constructed by Filips Frans van Glymes in the late 17th century. Today the ruins are surrounded by a moat.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Grimbergen, Belgium

Montquintin Castle

Montquintin Castle was probably originally designed to defend the southern border of the counts of Chiny. It was built in the 11th century by order of Louis II, Count of Chiny (born 1025). Over the centuries the castle has undergone many changes. The central part was rebuilt the 18th centuryt by the Bishop of Hontheim, last owner. In 1869 a fire destroyed the castle. The basement includes a vaulted cellar, which is ver ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Rouvroy, Belgium

Castle of the Princes de Mérode

Castle of the Princes de Mérode, also called as 'old castle', has been the home of the House of Merode since more than five centuries. The central keep or Donjon was built in local brown stone in the 14th-century. It probably replaced an older fortress on the same spot. Other parts of the building date from the 16th century. The castle was adapted, extended and restorated several times. From the 16th century onwards it w ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Westerlo, Belgium

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.