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Durbuy Castle

Belgian Castles

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Durbuy Castle, locally known as Château de Durbuy, lies in the town of the same name, in the province of Luxembourg in the Wallonia region in Belgium.

According to archives a first castle was destroyed at this site in 900 A.D. Although Durbuy has known human occupation since long before, as archaeological finds in the town date back to Gallo-Roman and even prehistoric times.

In 1024 the estate was yielded to Henri I, by his mother Regelinde. Henri then built himself a castle here. That castle was destroyed by a fire in 1156. In 1199 the rebuilt castle went to the Luxembourg family through inheritance.

Durbuy Castle was ravaged by the people from Liège during several wars; first in 1237 and again in 1317. Durbuy then served as the northern defense of the Duchy of Luxembourg and defended it especially against the expansionist aims of the city of Liège. In 1331, John of Bohemia granted Durbuy city rights. This now makes Durbuy claim the title of ‘smallest city in the world’.

In 1412 Durbuy Castle passed to the House of Burgundy. In. 1484 and 1492 the castle was taken and razed during the civil war between William I de La Marck and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège.

Durbuy Castle was acquired, in 1628, by Anthony II Schetz, a military commander in Spanish service during the Eighty Years’ War. Through inheritance it went to the present Counts of Ursel. In 1636 the castle was damaged again during fighting. During the Campaign of Maastricht in 1676 the castle was destroyed and finally dismantled by French troops.

Only in 1731 was the castle again rebuilt by the then Count of Ursel. Between 1880 and 1882 the castle was modernized and enlarged. During WW II Durbuy Castle was occupied by German forces and later by the Americans who used it as a military hospital.

At present Durbuy is the private habitation of the Count of Ursel and can therefore not be visited. A nice small castle in a touristic, but nice, little town.

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