Rupelmonde Castle lies in the village of Rupelmonde, in the province of Antwerp in the Flemish region in Belgium. Rupelmonde Castle is also known as the ‘Graventoren’; which translates to the Count’s Tower, or the ‘Mercatortoren’.
Rupelmonde Castle was built, by the Counts of Flanders, in the 12th century on the left bank of the Scheldt river directly opposite the mouth of the river Rupel to defend these rivers. It was a large fortress with 17 towers circled by a moat. From this castle toll was levied from passing ships.
Later on the castle was also used as a state prison. This caused the castle to play a important role in the history of the region.
Robert III, Count of Flanders, imprisoned his eldest son Louis of Nevers here under the accusation of high treason.
In 1388, Zeger van Kortrijk, ally of Guy of Dampierre, was beheaded here. Philip The Good, Duke of Burgundy, kept Frank van Borssele, husband of Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut, imprisoned here. In 1538 an alleged witch; Kathelyne Duerincx, was kept prisoner and tortured here before being burned at the stake in the nearby town of Sint-Niklaas. Also Gerardus Mercator (the famous cartographer) was imprisoned here for 7 months, in 1544, under the accusation of heresy.
In 1678, when Spanish and Dutch troops were fighting against French troops, the castle was destroyed. The castle was never rebuilt and turned into a quarry for cheap building materials for the locals.
In 1817 the castle ruins were demolished with exception of a base of a tower with some connecting wall fragments. On these remains then a tower out of red Tournai limestone was built by Baron De Feltz. This tower was used as a hunting pavilion. In 1955 the tower was turned into a museum about local history.
At present the tower can be visited without a fee during office hours. The museum is very small but charming. You can climb to the top of the tower. Don’t forget to visit the very nice subterranean tunnel with cells underneath the tower. A nice tower.