Wijnendale Castle, locally known as Kasteel Wijnendale, lies north west of the city of Torhout, in the province of West Flanders in the Flemish region in Belgium.
The first castle at this site was built by Robert I, Count of Flanders, at the end of the 11th century and used as a base for military operations.
In the 12th and 13th century, Wijnendale Castle became a regular place of residence for the Counts of Flanders and for Philip I, Count of Flanders, in particular. In 1297 Guy, Count of Flanders, signed a treaty here with the English King Edward I.
In 1298 the castle was inherited by the Counts of Namur, and besieged and damaged in 1302 and 1325.
After a period of neglect, Count John III of Namur sold the fief and castle in 1407 to John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, who gave it to his son-in-law Adolph I, Duke of Cleves, 3 years later as part of the dowry on his marriage to John’s daughter Marie of Burgundy, Duchess of Cleves.
In 1463 the castle passed to the Lords of Ravenstein. Adolph of Cleves, Lord of Ravenstein, and his son Philip of Cleves-Ravenstein transformed the castle into a beautiful mansion. Marie of Burgundy, Duchess of Burgundy, stayed several times at Wijnendale Castle, as did her son Philip the Handsome. In 1482 Mary died from a fall from her horse while riding in the castle’s forest.
In 1528 Wijnendale Castle went back to the Dukes of Cleves and their relatives, the Emperor Charles V and Mary of Hungary, Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands, stayed at the castle several times. In the second half of the 16th century, the Dukes lost interest in their Flemish possessions and in 1578 part of the castle was burned down by Protestants.
Duke John William of Cleves died in 1609 without issue which sparked the War of the Jülich Succession. In 1614 one of the victors of that war Wolfgang Wilhelm, Count Palatine of Neuburg, was granted Wijnendale Castle. Later in the 17th century the castle was attacked, damaged and taken by the troops of Louis XIV of France several times. In 1690 they even blew up parts of the castle. Around 1700 Wijnendale Castle was rebuilt again by Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine. During the 17th and 18th century the castle was home to a governor, as the Dukes of Pfalz-Neuburg resided in Germany.