Medieval castles in Belgium

Autelbas Castle

The current Autelbas castle was built in 1432 on the ruins of the old castle from the 13th century (destroyed in 1412 by the Burgundy army). In 1983, Autelbas Castle fell victim to a large fire and burned to the ground. It has been a ruin ever since. The last decade there have been some consolidation campaigns but it is clear that it still needs some considerable restoration works for it to survive.
Founded: 1432 | Location: Arlon, Belgium

Bossenstein Castle

The oldest part of the present Bossenstein Castle is the square keep, probably built before the 14th century by a Joannes van Busco or Van den Bossche. Not much later it went to the Van Berchem family. They are supposed to have made some major alterations to the castle. They sold it in 1544 to Guilelmus van der Rijt, who was a member of the city council of nearby Antwerp. In the deed of sale the castle was described as an ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Ranst, 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

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

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

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

Kruikenburg Castle

Kruikenburg Castle is a listed building in the village of Ternat. It was the seat of the lordship of Kruikenburg, which included the villages of Ternat, Sint-Katarina-Lombeek and Wambeek. A medieval foundation, the castle was extensively remodelled in the 16th and 18th centuries, giving it its current appearance. In 1662 the lord of Kruikenburg was elevated to the title of count. In the 20th century the castle became a ho ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ternat, 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

Fagnolle Castle Ruins

Fagnolle Castle was formerly the centre of government of the small independent Barony, later County, of Fagnolle. It was constructed in the 12th century, and is now ruined.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Philippeville, 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

Ter Leyen Castle

Ter Leyen Castle is surrounded by a moat and a beautiful garden. It was built in the early 15th century as a fortified manor farm. The present appearance is Renaissance style. Today Ter Leyen can be booked for weddings and events. 
Founded: 15th century | Location: Boekhoute, 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

Hauteroche Castle Ruins

Hauteroche ('High Rock') is a ruined 14th-century castle, destroyed after a siege in 1554, in the village of Dourbes in the municipality of Viroinval, province of Namur. It is situated on a ca. 50 meters high, rocky promontory, looking out over the valley of the Viroin river. The isolated site of the castle is separated from the plateau by a large, hand cut ditch. It has a square keep with 2.5 meter thick ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Viroinval, 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

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

Opprebais Castle

Opprebais Castle was built in the first half of the 13th century or maybe at the end of the 12th century probably by a local noble family. It is a square castle with round corner towers. In 1486, the seigniory was sold to Jean de Glimes. It remained in the hands of his descendants until 1660 when the castle was sold to the Dukes of Arenberg. In the 17th century a farm was built inside its walls.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Incourt, Belgium

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Eketorp Fort

Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.

The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.

In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.

Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.

Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.