Construction of the Helmond castle began somewhere around 1325. Helmond was the replacement of an older castle, known as ‘t Oude Huys, which stood hundreds of yards west of the castle. In 1981, excavations revealed the original structure’s dungeon and a few artifacts.In the 12th century, Helmond was in possession of the Hornes and the castle’s original owners were the Berlaer family, who were then succeeded by the Cortenbach family. In the late 1600s, the castle would fall into the hands of the Arberg family and later Frederik Carel Wesselman in 1781.
A terrible fire damaged the west wing of the castle in 1549, but the structure was not demolished. In the late 1500s, attempts to besiege the castle were unsuccessful as the castle’s defenses were able to withstand the attacks. However, in the early 1600s, the castle was sieged by Prince Mauritis and State troops after the attackers launched 6 cannons at the castle. The damaged was repaired, but shortly after, the castle was once again besieged by Walen’s troops.
In 1921, the castle was sold to the municipality of Helmond by the last Lady of the family under the stipulation that the castle would be used for municipal purposes. The Lady’s wishes were respected and the castle served as a town hall from 1923 until the 1970s.Very little remains of the original interior of the castle as the structure had continually been updated throughout history. A few stucco ceilings and several fireplaces are the only original features.
Today, the castle still hosts weddings and houses a small museum that educates visitors on the history of the castle. Exhibitions include contemporary art collections as well as historical art and artifacts that educate the public about Helmond’s history.References:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.