Rijkel Castle, locally known as Kasteel van Rijkel, lies in the village of the same name, in the Limburg province in the Flemish region in Belgium.
Rijkel Castle was the residence of the Lords of Rijkel, who were first mentioned in the 13th century. In the 14th century it was acquired by the Bolle van Rijkel family. The castle was first mentioned as their residence in 1541. At that time there was only a manor farm and not a castle.
In the beginning of the 17th century that manor farm went to the De Hinnisdael family through marriage. In the mid-17th century they completely rebuilt and enlarged that manor turning it into an U-shaped castle-like complex, complete with square corner towers, a moat and a drawbridge.
In the early 18th century Rijkel Castle was described as being in disrepair. Later that century it was bought by Baron Pierre Antoine de Thiribu who restored it. His descendants inhabited the castle until 1831, when they died without heirs. From then on the castle stood empty for more than a century.
In 1936 the dilapidated castle was acquired by the Association of Historical Belgian Residences. They only made some necessary repairs before handing it over to the authorities of the province of Limburg in 1965. After one of the towers collapsed in 1966, the castle was completely restored between 1972 and 1984. The province used it as an office until 2003, when they sold it due to high maintenance costs.
The new owner, a private party, had high hopes of the castle’s future but none of his plans came to fruition. Since then the castle is standing empty again. What I saw inside were a lot works that had been started, but which had stopped long ago. It looked as if some parts of the castle had been used by squatters or local youth.
At present Rijkel Castle is still standing empty. It can not be visited. What a sad state for such a beautiful building.