Cantecroy Castle

Cantecroy Castle, locally known as Kasteel Cantecroy, lies in the town of Mortsel, in the province of Antwerp in the Flemish region in Belgium.

Cantecroy Castle was first mentioned in 1289 when its steward was a member of the Volcaert family. Later that century the castle went to Willem III van Berthout who, between 1296 and 1308, built a keep. His descendants, who went by the names of Van Berchem and Van Ranst, owned it until the mid-16th century. During their ownership they transformed the castle into a strong fortress as it was strategically situated near the roads from Antwerp to Lier and Mechelen. It was seen as an outlying defense against enemies advancing to Antwerp.

In 1550 the castle was acquired by the Perrenot de Granvelle family. They were powerful states- and clergymen. Cardinal Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle then turned Cantecroy into a lavish country retreat and entertained important guests here; like the Counts of Egmont and Horne, William of Orange and the Grand Duke of Alva. Nevertheless it still managed to repel an attack by insurgents during the Great Iconoclasm in 1566. As a reaction the castle was again strengthened in 1570 with a new stone and earthen surrounding wall, equipped with terraces for positioning artillery.

In 1616 Cantecroy Castle was bought by Jan Baptist Maes. He, however, had large debts with the city of Antwerp. Antwerp then had almost the complete castle dismantled by tearing down the keep, its walls and other defenses. The released building materials were then used to restore other buildings in the city.

During the next centuries several other owners of the dismembered castle followed but Cantecroy lost its importance.

In 1860 when Fort 4 was built almost directly next to it, it lost most of its lands and seemed doomed to disappear. What remained of the original castle were the moat, the gate building which had been turned into a mansion, a chapel and a farm. Albert Einstein, fleeing from Nazi antisemitism, stayed at the castle while waiting for an American visum.

After WW II however most of what we can see today, amongst which the keep and the main building, was rebuilt, partially with building materials recovered from buildings in the center of Antwerp that had been destroyed by German V-bombs during the war.

At present Cantecroy Castle has been converted into luxury service apartments for pensioners. There is also a fine Italian restaurant. So, although its interior can not be visited and it is mostly a 20th century building, it is still nice to visit in combination with Fort 4.


Gallery

Cantecroy Castle

Cantecroy Castle, locally known as Kasteel Cantecroy, lies in the town of Mortsel, in the province of Antwerp in the Flemish region in Belgium.

Cantecroy Castle was first mentioned in 1289 when its steward was a member of the Volcaert family. Later that century the castle went to Willem III van Berthout who, between 1296 and 1308, built a keep. His descendants, who went by the names of Van Berchem and Van Ranst, owned it until the mid-16th century. During their ownership they transformed the castle into a strong fortress as it was strategically situated near the roads from Antwerp to Lier and Mechelen. It was seen as an outlying defense against enemies advancing to Antwerp.

In 1550 the castle was acquired by the Perrenot de Granvelle family. They were powerful states- and clergymen. Cardinal Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle then turned Cantecroy into a lavish country retreat and entertained important guests here; like the Counts of Egmont and Horne, William of Orange and the Grand Duke of Alva. Nevertheless it still managed to repel an attack by insurgents during the Great Iconoclasm in 1566. As a reaction the castle was again strengthened in 1570 with a new stone and earthen surrounding wall, equipped with terraces for positioning artillery.

In 1616 Cantecroy Castle was bought by Jan Baptist Maes. He, however, had large debts with the city of Antwerp. Antwerp then had almost the complete castle dismantled by tearing down the keep, its walls and other defenses. The released building materials were then used to restore other buildings in the city.

During the next centuries several other owners of the dismembered castle followed but Cantecroy lost its importance.

In 1860 when Fort 4 was built almost directly next to it, it lost most of its lands and seemed doomed to disappear. What remained of the original castle were the moat, the gate building which had been turned into a mansion, a chapel and a farm. Albert Einstein, fleeing from Nazi antisemitism, stayed at the castle while waiting for an American visum.

After WW II however most of what we can see today, amongst which the keep and the main building, was rebuilt, partially with building materials recovered from buildings in the center of Antwerp that had been destroyed by German V-bombs during the war.

At present Cantecroy Castle has been converted into luxury service apartments for pensioners. There is also a fine Italian restaurant. So, although its interior can not be visited and it is mostly a 20th century building, it is still nice to visit in combination with Fort 4.


Gallery