Waterburcht Pietersheim. OK if an hour to spend.
A splendid corner of the Belgian Limburg Province to walk and bike. Pietersheim is one of the entry gates to the "Hoge Kempen National Park". And it has the added benefit of having the ruins of a medieval castle. Not much left, due of course to the fact that Belgium has been the favourite place to visit, destroy and loot... Through the ages: View on two castles: one built in the 13th century and the other in 1792. Both castles burnt down in different periods of time, but only the new one has been restored to it's former glory. In the front a piece of the ruin of the old castle Pieterheim. The moated stronghold dates back to the 12th century. The Lords of Pietersheim receive a domain just outside of Lanaken in 1100 and they erect a round water castle. In 1292 it becomes a seigniory of Loon and a few years later a free barony. Through a marriage the castle becomes property of the Merode family in 1449. Throughout the centuries the old stronghold slowly declines. Still the Merodes like their old castle because Marshal de Merode keeps his second wedding with Princes Nassau-Haldamar in the castle on july 5, 1721. The castle collapses during the festivities killing several butlers and maids. At the back the roof of the new castle Pietersheim. This building was erected in 1910 by the Merode family. A fire destroyed the castle completely in 1920. The chateau was rebuilt in 1926 in neo classical style. Prince Xavier de Merode was the last private owner. He sold the domain in 1971 to the city council. It is now used as a hotel and restaurant. You can walk freely around the castle or in the vast Pietersheim domain and forrest.