Geeraard de Duivelsteen Castle, locally simply known as Geeraard de Duivelsteen, lies in the center of the city of Ghent, in the province of East Flanders in the Flemish region in Belgium.
Geeraard de Duivelsteen Castle is a tower house built in the beginning of the 13th century. The word ‘steen’ means ‘stone’. A name often given to the stone fortified buildings erected in a time when most buildings were built out of wood. The castle is situated at the bank of the Reep stream.
It was first owned by Zeger III of Ghent. After his death in 1227 the castle went to one of his sons; Geeraard Vilain. Geeraard had black hair and a dark complexion earning him the nickname of Geeraard ‘de Duivel’, which translates back to ‘the Devil’. His name stuck to the castle.
Already around 1328 Geeraard de Duivelsteen Castle was sold to the city of Ghent. In the following centuries the castle had several functions, amongst them; an armory, a monastery and an episcopal seminary. In 1623 parts of it were used as a madhouse, a male orphanage and a prison.
At the end of the 19th century it was acquired by the Belgian state. It was then heavily restored between 1898 and 1908 and afterwards used to house the state archives.
At present Geeraard de Duivelsteen Castle is normally not open for visits. I was lucky enough to visit its cellars during an exhibition. A nice but curious castle. Don’t forget to visit nearby Gravensteen Castle.