Turnhout Castle

Turnhout Castle

Belgian Castles

Turnhout Castle

Turnhout Castle, locally known as Kasteel van de Hertogen van Brabant which translates to Castle of the Dukes of Brabant, lies in the center of the town by the same name, in the province of Antwerp in the Flemish region in Belgium.

Turnhout Castle was built in the 12th century.

From the 13th until the 18th century Turnhout Castle was visited by a lot of historical figures; John I, Duke of Brabant, in 1288, Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, also Duke of Burgundy, in the 15th century, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, and King Christian II of Denmark.

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, visited six times between 1541 and 1550. His sister, Mary of Hungary, Governor of the Netherlands, owned the castle between 1546 and 1556. She turned it into a renaissance palace. She also entertained Philip II of Spain and Eleanor of Austria, Queen consort of France.

During the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648) Turnhout Castle lay on the front line. As a result it changed hands several times between the Spanish army and the Dutch rebels. In 1597 the north wing was burned down by the troops of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange. After that the castle lost its military importance.

In the 17th century Amalia of Solms-Braunfels entertained several important guests in Turnhout Castle; William II, Prince of Orange, and his wife Mary, Princess Royal and Frederick William I, Elector of Brandenburg. William III of England visited several times also.

In 1702 Turnhout became a Prussian barony under Frederick the Great. In 1789, during the Brabant Revolution, the Austrians were driven out of Turnhout. They returned twice but in 1796 the castle was occupied by the French. They turned the castle into a court house and prison.

In the 20th century the dilapidated castle was bought by the municipality and was restored twice in a Classicist inspired Neo-baroque style.

At present Turnhout Castle is used as a court house and can not be visited.

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