Laarne Castle, locally known as Kasteel van Laarne, lies in the village of the same name, east of the city of Ghent, in the province of East Flanders in the Flemish region in Belgium.
The first castle at this site was built in the 11th century as a part of a line of defense around Gravensteen Castle in Gent. When the knight Diederik of Alsace returned from his crusade with the relic of the Holy Blood in 1157, he retreated to Laarne Castle. In 1362 the Count of Flanders got permission to house a garrison in the castle. This was the cause of several sieges.
The present castle has two faces; on the one hand it is a medieval castle and on the other hand it is a 17th century manor. This present castle is build in Balegem sandstone. Its square keep, the 3 circular towers with their pyramid-shaped, stone (fireproof) roofs and the curtain walls were built in the 14th century.
In the 16th century parts of the curtain walls were rebuilt as living quarters. In 1583 the castle was badly damaged during the wars of religion. Also in 1640 a lot of rebuilding took place; the drawbridge was demolished, the medieval gatehouse was turned into a service building and the entrance of the castle was moved to the northeast. At the same time the walled forecourt was built at the side of the new entrance.
Laarne Castle underwent an extensive restoration in the 1960's. It now houses an important silver collection and there is a restaurant in the buildings on the forecourt.
This is a very nice castle, especially because of its two faces. Too bad it was closed when I visited it.