Florennes Castle

Florennes, Belgium

The Florennes Castle is located on a rocky ridge that stretches westward from the center of the old town of Florennes. There are early records of construction of a wooden castle in Florennes in 842. In 944 Count Eilbert replaced the wooden building with a stone castle surrounded by walls. The town and castle became a fief of the Prince-Bishopric of Liège in 1070. The powerful Rumigny-Florennes family held the castle as vassals of Liège until the late 13th century.

The castle was badly damaged during a siege in 1408. Starting in 1417 Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine, undertook work that included building the terrace and, in 1425, laying out a 20 hectares park. The castle was damaged again in a siege in 1430. Around 1465 it was said that the castle of the town of Florine was fortified with ditches, bulwarks and other defensive works. These walls still existed in 1517, and the castle was accessed over a drawbridge. The house of Lorraine owned the castle until 1556.

From 1556 to 1771 the castle was owned by the House of Glymes-Jodoigne. In 1794 the French revolutionaries seized the castle from its owner, the Duke of Beaufort-Spontin, who had emigrated.

During World War I the castle was used as a hospital by the French army and then by the German army. The castle was occupied by the German army again in 1940. In 1942 it was transferred to the air force, who installed an air command post in the novitiate, which was destroyed by fire when they left in 1944. The castle was then occupied by American troops.

For the last thirty years the Missions Seminary has leased the castle to the Municipality of Florennes, who in turn have rented it to the Justice of the Peace and the Music Academy. Some of the building could continue to be used for educational purposes, while other parts would be restored.

Of the medieval castle, all that remains today are two towers connected by a 20 metres curtain wall along the west side of the courtyard. This wall may well date to the 13th century. The tower on the right is called 'the archives'. A fire in 1862 damaged the upper part of this tower and the wall. They were restored and improved, refinished in limestone and decorated with niches. The tower on the left, overlooking the park, was rebuilt in 1868 on the base of a medieval tower.

The main building was built or reconstructed in the 16th century. The thickness of the outer wall indicates that this was once part of the old south curtain wall. The 'Billard' tower at the far right when viewed from the park was enlarged and resurfaced in 1830. The orangery, a lower extension running from the main building to the 'Billard' tower, was built between 1825 and 1844 on foundations that date from the 18th century. A passage from beneath the building now gives access to stairs that led down to the park, built at the start of the 18th century. A south-facing terrace overlooks the park, which includes a stream-fed pond and has some extremely old trees.



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Founded: 944 AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in Belgium

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3.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dirk Bos (14 months ago)
Can only be viewed from the outside and from a distance. Unfortunately not.open to the public
Nadine Hainaut (3 years ago)
Vincent PIEROTTO (3 years ago)
Fabrice Dechamps (3 years ago)
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