Please find driving directions below the main text
Bank account of “National Trust Belgium” (NTAB)
BE17 0016 2443 2021
In 1635 P.P.Rubens bought the castle for his second wife Helena Fourment and ordered the feudal stronghold, the origins of which go back to 1304, to be transformed into a “pleasure manor” (maison de plaisance) in the Flemish Renaissance style. There with his young wife, he enjoyed being a member of the landed aristocracy for the last 5 years of his life. After Rubens’ death in 1640, Helena Fourment continued to live in the castle until 1673.
In following centuries, the castle witnessed many historical events. The French King Louis XV and his court stayed at the castle on May 11th 1746. In 1792 the castle was for a short period transformed into a state prison. At the beginning of the 19th century, the castle was owned by the famous court architect Pieter Dewez. During the Second World War it was first occupied by German troops and then in 1944 served for a few weeks as the Headquarters of Field-marshal Montgomery.
The castle was one of the first dwellings in the area to be built in stone (local sandstone), which explains its name “Het Steen” although this may also refer to the big square stone tower that was part of the castle until the beginning of the 18th century.
To have an idea of the castle and the surrounding landscape in the mid- 17th century one has only to look at the Rubens painting “ A view of Het Steen in the Early Morning” now in the National Gallery in London and one of the great landscape paintings of that period.
The castle is currently private property and will be specially opened for the NTAB.We will start the guided visit of the castle and grounds (2 groups with English and Dutch speaking guide) at 10.30 a.m.
After lunch in Bistro 500 in Kampenhout (Haachtsesteenweg 526), we will organize a replacing visit to private gardens.
(The owner the garden of Herkenrode in Haacht postponed our planned visit to April 2018.)
A1/E19 Brussels-Antwerp, exit 11 Weerde- Zemst. Follow Robert Schumannlaan leading to Weerde. After 800m turn left at traffic lights into Dorpsstraat. After 450m turn left into Damstraat for 1 km then turn right into Rubenslaan (N270). After 800m turn left into Steendreef. Entrance to Rubens Castle through 3rd gate.