Dinant Citadel

Dinant Citadel

Belgian Castles

Dinant Citadel

Dinant Citadel, locally known as Citadelle de Dinant, lies above the town of the same name, in the province of Namur in the Wallonia region in Belgium. It is one of the 4 Meuse Citadels: Dinant, Huy, Liège and Namur.

The first fortification built on top of this 100 m high rocky outcrop, next to the river Meuse, was a castle which was first mentioned in the mid-11th century. That castle was built by the Prince-bishop of Liège; Nithard. It was destroyed during the Sack of Dinant in 1466 by Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. In the first part of the 16th century it was rebuilt on a grander scale by Érard de la Marck, Prince-bishop of Liège.

At the end of the 17th century the fortifications of the town and castle were rebuilt by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, the famous French military engineer for Louis XIV of France, who visited Dinant in 1692. That castle was in its turn destroyed in 1703 by retreating French troops.

In 1815, after the defeat of Napoléon Bonaparte, Dinant was appointed to the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Dutch then built a new citadel, between 1818 and 1821, on the existing castle ruins. It is that citadel that we see today. After the Belgian Revolution, in 1831, it became a Belgian property. The Belgians demilitarized the citadel in 1868 and it was rented out for storage.

In the beginning of World War I the town of Dinant was partially destroyed by German troops in the Sack of Dinant in 1914, who subsequently occupied the citadel.

In 1940, during World War II, the citadel was unsuccessfully defended by French troops against the 7th Panzer Division of General Erwin Rommel. When the German forces were retreating in 1944, the town and citadel were severely damaged by allied bombing.

At present Dinant Citadel can be visited for a fee. You can reach it from the town via a long set of stairs or a cable car, or you can drive up from the other side. An impressive fortress.

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