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The feudal castle of Laarne is built on swampland, which was strategically important to defend the castle because the swamps made it difficult for the aggressors to get close to the castle. It was Dirk van Massemen who started to build the castle around 1200. The current curtain walls and towers date back to the 14th century. The castle was always private property and was owned by Lords, such as: van Zottegem, van Rassegem, de Vos, van der Moere and van de Woestyne. The castle played an important strategically role. Around 1500 the castle was so damaged by several sieges that there was need for restorations. The family van Vlisteren become owner of the castle in the 17th century and they make important alterations. The works start in 1672. They move the entrance from the West to East and enlarged the main building to twice its original size. Maria-Theresa van Vilsteren married Count van Ribacourt in 1745. One of his decedents gave the castle in 1952 to the Royal society of Historical Buildings of Belgium. Chairman Joseph de Ghellinck d’Elseghem started immediately with the restoration of the castle that stood empty for a long time. Now the castle is a beautiful example of a 12th century castle. It is located in the midst of fields and orchards. The castle is certainly worth a visit.You can walk around freely through the many rooms and halls. The castle is beautifully furnished. The main attraction is the impressive silverware collection of Claude d’Allemagne.
The castle is open to the public from Easter until June 30 and from September 1st until October 30, every Sunday from 2pm until 5.30pm. From July 1st until August 31 every day except for Monday and Friday from 2pm until 5.30pm. Take the E40 from Brussels to Oostende, take exit Laarne and follow the signs.
(The left and right picture are scanned from postcards)