The Gaasbeek Castle Estate is all that remains of Gaasbeek manor, founded in 1236 by the Duke of Brabant. Its most famous owner was undoubtedly Lamoraal, Count of Egmond, who bought the castle in 1565, three years before his dramatic execution. Renaat van Renesse, Count of Warfusée, owes his fame to a conspiracy against Spanish rule. At the end of the 17th century the manor came into the possession of Louis Alexander Scockaert, Count of Tirimont. Marital ties with the Arconati Visconti family resulted in the inheritance falling into the hands of this Milanese dynasty. The last marquise, Arconati Visconti, was a Frenchwoman, born Marie Peyrat. She died in 1923.
The first fortified stronghold was constructed in the mid-13th century to protect Brabant against invasions from Flanders and Hainault, but it was destroyed in 1388. The reconstruction, a few external walls of which can still be seen, took two centuries. During the first quarter of the 17th century, Renaat van Renesse ordered the construction of a French garden, a pleasure pavilion and a chapel in the grounds. In 1695 a wing of the castle was shot to pieces by Louis XIV's troops. From 1887 to 1897 the castle was thoroughly restored in a revival style, and has survived in this form to the present day. Marquise Arconati Visconti employed the architect Charle Albert for the reconstruction work. The interior of the castle was also entirely redesigned. 2004 saw the opening of a new museum wing in which the marquise's bathroom, bedroom and chambre rouge
were opened to the public.
The museum came into being thanks to the estate's last aristocratic occupant. As she had no descendants, she bequeathed the estate with the castle and its contents to the Belgian state in 1921. In 1924 the castle was opened to the public as a museum. It has been owned by the Flemish Community since 1980.
The collection consists of the historic household effects bequeathed by the donor. The heart of the collection dates back to the Scockaert de Tirimont family and remained in the family by inheritance. However, most of the collection was purchased by Marquise Arconati Visconti, who intended to turn the castle into a museum of the Renaissance. The pieces she obtained therefore date mainly from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
Gaasbeek Castle sits enthroned amidst the rolling hills of Pajottenland just outside Brussels. The medieval castle has had an eventful history, evolving from a strategic stronghold to a spacious country house. The Count of Egmont (1522-68) was one of its most celebrated owners, but it was the eccentric Marquise Arconati Visconti (1840-1923) who set about remodeling the building in the romantic style we see today. She turned the inside of the castle into a museum to house her huge art collection, displaying it in historical stage sets. There is still something of a time machine about the dream castle she created. Visitors wander through historicizing interiors filled with tapestries, paintings, furniture, sculptures and other valuable objects.
A visit to the castle is a feast for all the senses. We aim to give our visitors an experience that will stay with them for many years to come. Imaginative exhibitions which creatively relate the historic heritage to the present day, make for ever-changing displays, while concerts and other events ensure there is always something going on here. You’ll find details of all these activities on our website.
The castle also houses a library and an archive (both accessible by arrangement), a museum shop and a regional visitors’centre.
The park surrounding the castle with its ancient trees, its lakes, avenues, narrow winding paths, chapel, pavilion and other historic buildings is the perfect place to unwind. The estate also boasts a wonderful museum garden, where old varieties of fruit and vegetables are nurtured.
10,00/ 8,00 EUR
The museum on google maps: