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Pietersheim Castle

Belgian Castles

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Pietersheim Castle, locally known as Kasteel Pietersheim, lies in the village of Lanaken, in the Limburg province in the Flemish region in Belgium.

Archaeological evidence showes that there has been a castle at this site since the end of the 11th century. Pietersheim Castle was first mentioned in 1292. At that time the castle would have had a circular rampart circled by a moat. In 1378 that castle was destroyed by troops from Tongeren and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège.

It was rebuilt and strengthened resulting in a circular rampart with up to 3 concentric moats circling it, a bailey, a chapel and fortified entrances. The Van Merode family acquired the castle in 1449 and enlarged it; adding a kitchen wing and a corps de logis. Although the early-medieval parts of the castle had deteriorated, they also strenghtened it by building 2 casemates.

In 1569 Pietersheim Castle was besieged by the pro-Spanish, cardinal bishop Gerard van Groesbeeck. In 1579 the castle was taken by Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma and Governor of the Spanish Netherlands. He then established his headquarters in the castle for the Siege of Maastricht.

The Prince-Bishop of Liège ordered the demolition of all defensive elements of the castle in 1670, after which the castle fell in disrepair. This caused part of the corps de logis to collapse in 1720.

In 1792 a new castle was built on the bailey. In 1836 the old medieval castle burned down and afterwards its remains were demolished. The new castle from 1792 also burned down in 1909. On its remains again a new castle was built in 1910, only to burn down again in 1920. The castle was again rebuilt in 1926. This is the neoclassical castle that we see today, next to the ruins of the medieval castle.

At present Pietersheim Castle can freely be visited during opening hours. a nice castle ruin, even though there is not much to see inside. The neoclassical castle houses a hotel-restaurant.

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