Ham-sur-Heure Castle was first mentioned in the 13th century when it passed, through marriage, to the Condé family. In the 15th century the castle was owned by the d'Enghien family. In 1487, when the last family member died without heirs, the castle went to the De Merode family.
In 1540 the castle was visited by Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. Around this time the castle was probably enlarged and strengthened.
In 1667, under Ferdinand de Merode, the castle was badly damaged and the keep was destroyed when it was sieged, without success, by French armies. Between 1669 and 1671 a protective rubble wall was built. But in 1689 the castle was again besieged by French armies. This time, even though there was strong resistance from a Spanish garrison based in the castle, Albert Maximilian, son of Ferdinand, was forced to surrender. The castle was partly destroyed.At the beginning of the 18th century the old castle was transformed into a luxurious residence by Joseph de Merode. Between 1776 and 1779 the castle was again rebuilt by Balthazar-Philippe, who would be the last Count de Merode-Deynse. The rebuilding was never completed and Balthazar left the castle and moved to Vienna because of the French Revolution. The next 70 years the castle was uninhabited and stood virtually abandoned.
At the end of the 19th century the ruined castle was rebuilt by Louise de Rochechouart Mortemart and her daughter, Renée Victurienne de Merode, the wife of Charles-Jean d'Oultremont. This rebuilding, which lasted more than 20 years, drastically transformed the building and gave it its present appearance.During WW I Ham-sur-Heure Castle was visited by several distinguished guests including the son of the German Emperor, Wilhelm II. From December 1918 to January 1919, Edward VIII, the Prince of Wales, also stayed at the castle, while visiting the General Headquarters of the Australian Army Corps which were based at the castle.
In 1956 the castle was bought by the municipality. At present Ham-sur-Heure Castle is used as the town hall.References:
Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).
Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.
Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.
An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.
On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".