Beersel Castle, Belgium

Beersel Castle is certainly one of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful castles I have been fortunate to visit. The castle is only open a few hours each day from March to November and the visitor numbers are pretty low, which of course led to a wonderful trip! I cycled out from the city centre of Brussels to reach Beersel, and was delighted google maps took me on the old cobbled road that would once have been the main thoroughfare to the castle, but now is a unfrequented country lane passing through cornfields and woods. Its hard to convey the feelings I had wandering around Beersel its just so fantastic, however the dungeon in the basement that remains in the castle proved a nice juxtaposition to the beauty of the turrets and towers. In the dungeon hooks still hang from the ceiling, a X shaped torture rack is the centrepiece of the room, and a small little alcove with barely enough room for a dog gives a good impression of the conditions in which prisoners were kept.

A castle at Beersel was first mentioned in the 12th century however the current fortress was built by Godfrey of Hellebeek between 1300 and 1310 as a defensive base for Brussels. The castle was attacked and damaged by Louis of Male during the war of succession of Brabant in 1357, but was soon repaired. Over a hundred years later, during the rebellion against Maximilian of Austria the castle was besieged. The occupants of the castle supported Maximilian which ultimately led to its plunder and partial destruction, it was restored after the war.

Though a tiled roof was added in the 17th century by the beginning of the 18th century it was no longer inhabited. In 1818 a cotton factory occupied the site of the fortress. In 1928 the castle was donated to ‘The Friends of Beersel Castle’ and restored.

GPS: 50.76564, 4.29992

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