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HAM

The history of this castle goes back to the early 14th century. When the family van Hamme owned it between 1353 and 1473. Filips Hinckart built the current castle between 1490 and 1505 on the remains of a 13th century stronghold. The castle became a massive square building in white sandstone. It has a closed and defensive character. Famous and prominent people inhabited the castle constantly until the dawn of World War II. The last resident were Empress Zita, widow of Karel van Oostenrijk and her son Otto van Habsburg. They entertained a lot of European kings in the castle during the period 1929-1939. The Germans confiscated the castle during the war and they removed the original roof because it was to high for the close by airport. After 1945 the ministry of Dutch culture bought the very decayed castle and after major restorations the castle started a new life as congress centre. The original roof was not restored because of the now International airport of Brussels, which is close by. You can walk around the castle but it is only open during meetings and congresses. Castle Ham is situated in Steenokkerzeel. On the E19 take exit Vilvoorde/Cargo, follow the signs to Steenokkerzeel and you will see the castle on your left in the village center.

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