A restored castle
Gaasbeek Castle, after a beauty sleep for some restoration work, is getting ready to wake up gloriously.
In September 2020, for the first time in almost a hundred years, Gaasbeek Castle closed its doors for a long time and the major restoration campaign began. Meanwhile, just under three years later, the noise from the worksite has subsided and the proverbial cherry has been put on the master plan cake: the restoration of Gaasbeek Castle.
Before the castle transformed into an impressive worksite, the historic park buildings were already being restored. A new entrance building was erected on the street side to house the ticket counter, as well as the museum shop and castle library. The restoration of the castle interiors was the final part of the extensive master plan. A delicate assignment that was awarded to architectural firm Origin and to contractor Verstraete Vanhecke.
Architectural firm Origin harboured to the ambition to preserve the spirit of the castle as best as possible. For the new interventions, to promote access and circulation, new materials were used, with motifs inspired by those introduced to the castle by marquise Arconati Visconti and her architect Charle-Albert in the late nineteenth century. The remaining castle interiors were restored one by one, with great respect for their late-nineteenth-century Gesamtkunstwerk content. Thus, the colourful murals in the rooms, corridors and halls that were painted over in the twentieth century were reconstructed and shine once more in all their colourful splendour. The removed panelling was also recreated and once again adorns the walls. Upon reopening, not only will there be more museum space to enjoy, but more visitors will be able to experience it: for the first time, the entire first floor will be wheelchair-accessible thanks to the integration of a lift.
We are eager to once again be able to share all that beauty with visitors and are on the eve of a thriving revival. On 1 July 2023, we will open the doors to an empty but fully restored castle. Then, the result of the restoration campaign can be admired in all its purity. We are also inviting theatre company FC Bergman to bring an audiovisual exhibition to the castle. We will announce what exactly they are going to do on Wednesday 3 May: the day of the centenary of the marquise Arconati Visconti's passing. We surely do not need to explain in so many words the link between the two.
We are also taking a long look ahead: this autumn, the castle collection will return, which will be on display from 2024 in a renewed scenography. The restoration of both the courtyard and the brasserie, and the implementation of wayfinding for the entire estate, are also still in the planning stages. Back to the present: the castle team, in full preparation for the reopening, is immensely looking forward to hearing footsteps echoing in and around the castle.
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