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Castles near Brussels: 5 must-see places




Unique combination of history and modernity is the feature that attracts tourists to the Belgian capital. The sights of Brussels are a real magnet, but there are many interesting things outside the city: there are picturesque outposts in its vicinity. We have selected the most beautiful castles near Brussels, which will help you to understand the local history better.

Castle of Val Duchesse

Located in Auderghem, Val Duchesse is a former monastery built by Adelaide of Burgundy, wife of Henry III, Duke of Brabant. During its long history, the monastery was subjected to numerous fires. It was closed and demolished in 1796 after the French Revolution. Thanks to Charles Dietrich, a stockbroker and vice-consul in Norway, who bought the remains of the building in 1903, Val Duchesse has retained its beauty. Dietrich restored, expanded and refurbished it, turning it into a real castle with an expensive, tastefully furnished interior. In 1930, Dietrich donated the estate to the Royal Foundation, thanks to which the castle began to be used for intergovernmental conferences.

Castle of Val Duchesse
Castle of Val Duchesse. Photo: Zinneke at Luxembourgish Wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Castle of Val Duchesse
Castle of Val Duchesse. Photo: Jean-Pol GRANDMONT, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)

Castles near Brussels: Arenberg Castle

Just a few dozen kilometers from Brussels is the magnificent castle of Arenberg, which has been the residence of the Lords of Heverlee since the 12th century. In 1445 they had to sell it because of impoverishment. After that, the castle belonged to different noble families, each of which changed its interiors and appearance to their taste. Thanks to numerous alterations, the castle is a unique combination of Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-Gothic styles.

Arenberg Castle
Arenberg Castle. Photo: Juhanson, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Arenberg Castle
Arenberg Castle. Photo: christels / pixabay (Pixabay Licence)
Arenberg Castle
Arenberg Castle. Photo: ines s. / flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Beersel Castle

Beersel is a huge medieval complex located in the Flemish region of Brabant. It was found around 1300, but, unfortunately, the building of that era no longer exists. The structure of the ancient outpost dates back to 1357, when it was rebuilt. Over the centuries of its existence, the castle was destroyed more than once due to military conflicts, but then rebuilt again in different styles. A major restoration was carried out between 1491 and 1617, but the way Beersel Castle looks today is the result of work carried out between 1928 and 1939.

Beersel Castle
Beersel Castle. Photo: Wouter Hagens, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Beersel Castle
Beersel Castle. Photo: Sally V, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 4.0)
Beersel Castle
Beersel Castle. Photo: Johan Bakker, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Castles near Brussels: Groot Bijgaarden Castle

The first castle on this site was built around 1300 for the first Lord of Bigard. That complex, surrounded by a moat, was distinguished by a classical architectural style. During the Renaissance, the castle was rebuilt in the Flemish Renaissance style. This is how the traditional red brick façade with a magnificent slate roof appeared. Today the Groot Bijgaarden is open to the public. In addition to the castle itself, visitors are attracted by a luxurious park where thousands of tulips are planted.

Groot Bijgaarden Castle
Groot Bijgaarden Castle. Photo: Jean-Pol GRANDMONT, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Groot Bijgaarden Castle
Groot Bijgaarden Castle. Photo: Michel wal, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Groot Bijgaarden Castle
Groot Bijgaarden Castle. Photo: Donar Reiskoffer, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)

Gravensteen Castle

The Castle of the Counts of Flanders is a large and impressive historical complex located in Ghent. Until 1353, it was used as the seat of counts, and its current structure has been preserved since 1180. Over the years, the castle was either destroyed or rebuilt. Its current facade appeared between 1893 and 1903. Today it is a popular tourist attraction.

Gravensteen Castle
Gravensteen Castle. Photo: Marc Ryckaert (MJJR), via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)
Gravensteen Castle
Gravensteen Castle. Photo: edo870 / pixabay (Pixabay Licence)
Gravensteen Castle
Gravensteen Castle. Photo: Zairon, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)