Bouchout Castle

Meise, Belgium

Bouchout Castle is located in the Flemish town of Meise. In the 12th century, this territory of the young Duchy of Brabant was strategically positioned between the County of Flanders and the Berthout family, lords of Grimbergen. Most likely, the first fortification was built by Wouter van Craaynem at the end of the Grimbergen Wars (1150–1170).

At about 1300, the Donjon tower of Bouchout Castle was erected by Daniel van Bouchout, a knight who fought gloriously at the Battle of Worringen. In the 15th and 16th century, Bouchout Castle was owned by the Van der Marck and Transylvan families. The castle fell into disrepair due to lack of maintenance, while the Spanish dominance and the iconoclastic fury further worsened its condition.

The first major renovation was performed by Christoffel d"Assonville at about 1600. The rectangular medieval Bouchout Castle was surrounded by a large pond and could only be reached by a long drawbridge. At the end of the 17th century, Peter-Ferdinand Roose transformed the castle into a Renaissance 'Chateau de Bouchout', surrounded with French ornamental gardens. Unfortunately, the castle was partly destroyed during the French Revolution period (1800–1830). Again, the castle was restored in 1832 by count Amadeus de Beauffort, who gave Bouchout Castle its current Neo-Gothic appearance.

From 1879 until 1927, Empress Charlotte of Mexico lived at the Bouchout Domain. Her husband Emperor Maximilian I was executed by Mexican republicans in 1867. Thereafter Charlotte lead a secluded life at Bouchout Castle. Since 1939, the Bouchout Domain has developed into the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. Since the last renovation of 1987–1989, the castle and its rooms are now being used for meetings, lectures and exhibitions.

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Address

Meise, Belgium
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Details

Founded: c. 1300
Category: Castles and fortifications in Belgium

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Elizabeth Edmondson (3 years ago)
Nice chateau within the botanical gardens. Very well preserved.
Marcos Peláez Encinas (3 years ago)
Pretty cool site for a day of relax
Magda Babska (3 years ago)
Isolated and magical place. A beautiful castle, a botanical garden and a huge park for walking and an orangery with tasty food.
Luc Trigaux (3 years ago)
A beautiful place to go out to. We walked about 7km in and around the very nice botanical garden and park, and had lunh for a reasonable price, but missed the buffet. We visited the exhibition inside the castle. Not so interesting. We made some nice pictures a beautiful flowers. There were many families with children there because it was a special weekend. On one side of the castle were certainly a hundred of cardboard tents or more, being decorated by the children and they parents. There were animations and activities all around. I loved the greenhouses and all the information that is given in them. There were also guided tours. And even a couple shooting their wedding album there. It was my first time there, although I only live a few kilometres away. I will certainly go again, many times in the future. The entry fee is normally 7 eur for adults but as a teacher, I did not have to pay. Cool.
Nico Basch (3 years ago)
Beautifull. Spent a great day. Enjoyed it.
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Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.

The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.

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A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.