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Castle of Rixensart
Château de Rixensart.

Introduction

Rixensart Castle is one of few princely castles in Belgium. It has been the home of the Princes of Mérode since 1715.

History & Description

In medieval times, Rixensart belonged to the lords of Limal, passed to the family of Sombreffe, Virnembourg, then Roeulx, until it befell to Charles of Gavre, who erected the present castle. It was built in four phases (1631, 1648, 1660 and 1662) and is a fantastic example of Brabantine Renaissance style.

The interior of the castle is sumptuously decorated with Louis XV- and Louis XVI-style furniture, and traditional Flemish tapestries. There is a collection of Arabian arms brought back from Egypt by French mathematician Gaspard Monge, who took part on Napoleon's expedition in 1798.


The French-style gardens were inspired from a drawing by Le Nôtre, Louis XIV's famous architect.

Famous residents

One of the most illustrious residents of Rixensart was Count Felix of Merode, Marquis of Trélon, who was a leading figure of the Belgian Revolution of 1830. He became a member of the National Congress, and was part of the delegation who welcomed Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the throne of Belgium.

Another famous family member was François Xavier de Merode (1820-1874), who was Archbishop of Mytilene, and Minister of Defense of the Vatican between 1860 and 1865.

Castle of Rixensart (photo by EmDee - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)

Opening Hours & Admission

Rixensart Castle is only open on weekends and holidays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, between 15 April to 31 October.

How to get there

The castle is located in the village of Rixensart, a few kilometers south-east of Brussels toward Ottignies and Wavre . It can be easily accessed by train from Brussels (25min from Brussels-Luxembourg on the local train to Louvain-La-Neuve).

By car,coming from Brussels, take the E411 motorway toward Namur and Luxembourg, then exit 4 for Rixensart. The castle is located on Avenue Royale, east of the railway station, in front of the sports ground.

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