Hingene Castle was the summer residence of the House of Ursel. The Dukes of Ursel and their family resided for 350 years on the estate. A famous resident was Conrard-Albert, first Duke of Ursel (1665-1738). His son the second duke asked Giovani Nicolano Servandoni (1695-1766) to redesign the family estate. The front was made symmetric like a palace.
The duke received important noblemen here, such as Johan von Sinzendorf und Pottendorf (1739-1813) and Joseph de Ferraris. During the 18th century the castle was known for banquets and balls. Marriages in the family were celebrated by the whole village, the dukes usually being well regarded locally. Around 1960 the castle was sold by the Duke of Ursel, the furniture and contents of the library were removed from the castle. The House of Ursel left the town, and chose to reside henceforth in Brussels.
In 1994 the province of Antwerp obtained ownership and restored the estate to its 17th century state. The Duke of Ursel gave an important part of the original interior back to the castle.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.