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LEEFDAAL

The Italian scholar Lodovico Guicciardini who lived in Antwerp in the 16th century wrote in a history book that he published in 1565 about Leefdaal that it was the oldest castle of Brabant. It would date back to the second part of the 11th century. What we do know for certain is that the Lords of Leefdaal appeared for the first time in the 12th century. The very first castle that was built here would go back that far in time. The only thing remaining of that castle is a Roman cellar under what is now the garden.
In the wall of the keep we can read 1626, this is the year the castle underwent major changes. The family de Merode who owned the castle remodeled it in a major way. Antoon de Merode sold the castle after the restoration to Filip Helman who gave it to his daughter Anna Françoise as a wedding present when she married Jan de Brouchoven de Bergeyck. He was the son of Jan-Baptist and Helena Fourmont and she was the widow from her first marriage of the famous painter Pieter Paulus Rubens. Jan would live an important political, diplomatic life and would be elevated by Karel II, King of Spain to the rank of Baron. He died in his castle in 1725, mourned by many. Jan de Brouchoven de Bergeyck's granddaughter Lucie married Count Gerard De Liederkerke Lord of Pailhe. Since that day the castle has been in the hands of the noble De Liedekerke family. In the 19th century the castle was restored but luckily they did not turn it into some romantic fantasy of an architect instead kept the castle pretty much in tact.
De Liedekerke is still living in the castle, so it is not open for visits. You can view the castle perfectly from the road; the whole area is a nice place to walk around. Take exit 22 on the E40 Brussel-Luik drive in the direction of Tervuren. At the traffic lights turn left in the direction of Leefdaal centrum where you will view the castle on your left side.

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