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Kasteel van Sterrebeek opens its gates for a day

Kasteel van Sterrebeek open day

Nestled on the eastern outskirts of Brussels lies a hidden treasure waiting to be explored. For just one day each year, the gates of Kasteel van Sterrebeek swing open, inviting visitors to enjoy the private park and a host of activities. This year it’s open on Sunday 30 June 2024.

The grounds of Sterrebeek Castle are open on June 30 2024

A tapestry of gardens

As you wander through the castle grounds, prepare to be amazed by the variety of landscapes that unfold before you. You can discover a different garden around every corner. You can walk under the shelter of some magnificent ancient trees (including Giant Sequoias and Dawn Redwoods) and later enjoy a wide view of the ponds and the castle. You can admire the perfect symmetry of the mirror pond and the orangery. And then you may suddenly find yourself in a fairytale scene with an idyllic stream and bridge.

Kasteel van Sterrebeek and its ponds

You can stroll through the stunning rose garden, and take a trip through the vegetable gardens, orchards and greenhouses. To top it all off, you can admire a copy of the famous ‘Tower of the Winds’ that sits high on the Acropolis.

From bankers to barons

The history of the castle and the beautiful park surrounding it go back as far as 1761. This was when this stately home was built as a country residence for the Brussels banker Jean-Antoine Ories. Over the decades, the domain saw various owners come and go. In 1914, like so many buildings in the region, it was occupied by German soldiers. For a time it housed a so-called ‘institution for weak children’ under the name Le Clair Logis. However, the castle and surrounding gardens remained in private hands and still are today. The castle is currently inhabited by the de Selliers family.

Kasteel van Sterrebeek

Since 1958 the castle and gatehouse have been protected as monuments, and the surrounding park has also been given protected landscape status. Although you can clearly see the gatehouse from the street, you cannot simply pop in to take a look. After all, the domain is still private.

Music, food and fun for all ages

Fortunately, for one day a year, the castle park is opened up for free access, with a lot of activities for young and old:

  • Live folk groups from various European countries
  • Get to know Taiko, the art of Japanese drumming, with Araumi Daiko.
  • Discover real Scottish music with bagpipes and drums thanks to the Wallace Pipe Band.
  • 20 different stalls with handmade craft items.
  • Super-large board games.
  • Enjoy a snack from the food trucks.
  • Sample a local beer on the terrace.
  • A bouncy castle for small children.
Wallace Pipe Band
Come along and hear the bagpipes of the Wallace Pipe Band
Araumi Daiko
And the Japanese drumming group Araumi Daiko 

A location for a famous movie

An extra bit of information is that Kasteel van Sterrebeek has featured in the movies! “So Little Time” is a 1952 British World War II romantic drama starring Marius Goring. The movie was made at Elstree studios but a unit went out to Belgium to film various outdoor scenes. Some of these scenes were shot at Kasteel van Sterrebeek, which stood in for the Château de Malvines in the movie. Here’s the movie trailer:

“So Little Time” was actually rather unusual for its time. The reason is that it portrays its German characters in a mainly sympathetic manner, while the Belgian Resistance characters are depicted in an aggressive, almost gangster-type light. In the early 1950s, this was not a viewpoint that British audiences and critics expected in a British film and there was considerable protest about the film’s content.?

Enjoy your day at Kasteel van Sterrebeek

Access to Kasteel van Sterrebeek on Sunday 30 June 2024 is free. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The address to head for is Zavelstraat 2, 1933 Sterrebeek.

The agenda for the day

The agenda for the day

Many thanks to Sterrebeek resident Herman Vandecauter for his photos from previous open days at Kasteel van Sterrebeek. Considering that Herman is a renowned player of the classical/19th century guitar, ukulele, and mandolin, I am surprised that he hasn’t been asked to give a concert on Sunday! Perhaps the organizers will ask him next year, hint hint?

the secrets of sterrebeek

More on Sterrebeek

Interested to discover more on Sterrebeek? Read my post called “Two Mysteries of Sterrebeek“, which presents two little-known but puzzling stories about this town.

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