Wijnendale Castle

Torhout, Belgium

Wijnendale Castle is a historic residence in Wijnendale, which was once a medieval castle. The present buildings largely date to a nineteenth century restoration, though parts of the north wing still date to the fifteenth century. One wing is currently inhabited by the present owners of the castle, while another is open to the public as a museum.

The first castle was built by Robert I, Count of Flanders, at the end of the 11th century. In 1463 the castle passed to the Lords of Ravenstein, a junior branch of the House of Cleves. Adolph of Cleves, Lord of Ravenstein, and his son Philip of Cleves-Ravenstein transformed the castle into a beautiful mansion.

In 1578 part of the castle was burned down by Protestants.

During the many attacks by Louis XIV on Flanders, Wijnendale was occupied many times by passing troops and severely damaged in 1690, when French troops blew up part of the castle. In 1699–1700 Duke Johann Wilhelm had the castle rebuilt.

In 1811 the French troops damaged it so badly that only ruins remained. In 1833 the domain was bought by a banker from Brussels, Josse-Pierre Matthieu, who had the castle rebuilt between 1837 and 1852. His son Joseph Louis Matthieu modified it in 1877 and gave it its present romanticized, medieval form. The Matthieu family (known since 1953 as 'Matthieu de Wynendaele') still owns the castle today. The present owner is Jean-Jacques Matthieu de Wynendaele.



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Founded: 1837-1852
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Belgium

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4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Nadine El-Yafi (6 months ago)
Beautiful forest with set walking trails. Safe for the families to spend time together
L Marchant (11 months ago)
Couldn’t get very close to this castle because it was behind a gate. It looks beautiful from afar though. Lots of history in this building. Original fortress built here in 11th century. Leopoldo III met here w his ministers in 1940 where he was advised not to surrender to the Germans in WWII. He did it anyway and was exiled.
Vladi Trop (3 years ago)
Amazing castle, covered in green
Nevena H (3 years ago)
The castle is beautiful outside, but you can't rly have a walk in the belonging forest/land and the part of the castle open for visitors is absolutely uninteresting even for a Belgian. For foreign visitors - better bring a Flemish speaking friend, cause there's not a single word in English or language other than Dutch. It's quite disappointing visitors' center.
Cezar Neculae (3 years ago)
It is an amazing feat of architecture. I would advise to visit it at thd beginning of autumn because the colours ars simply fabulous! Be aware that between October and April the castle is closed, but you can have a wonderful walk in the park surrounding it.
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