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Mark Billiau.

Pro Member, region Antwerp, Belgium

Castle ‘Het Steen’ at Antwerp (Belgium)

Castle ‘Het Steen’ is the oldest building in the metropole of Antwerp.

In the 9th century there was already a stone fortification on this spot to protect the city against attacks from the Vikings.
That fortress made it possible to control the access to the Scheldt, the river on whose bank it stands.

Several expansion works took place in the 13th and 16th century and the fortress became an impressive castle.
One can see very well the color difference between the original dark chalk stone and the lighter coloured sand stone that was used later.

Perhaps you noticed that there are few windows in the edifice.
That is because the castle was used as city jail (with lots of torture chambers) for 500 years long (14th till 19th century).

What we see now is only a small part of the original castle, which at one point in history was almost six time the current size.
At the end of the 19th century, the city authorities decided to widen the river and a big part of the castle was pulled down to make room for the development of the port of Antwerp.

The castle survived barely.
The Antwerp city council agreed to the conservation of a small part of the castle with just only 1 majority vote.
Without that 1 vote on surplus, this great historical castle would have been completely demolished !

Comments 35

  • annegretfunk 06/28/2012 12:01

    "Harry Potter"
    ein sehr schönes Foto
    von dieser alten Burg !!!
  • Allan Thompson 05/30/2012 7:11

    Solid building and photo both are artworthy!
  • Ushie Farkas 05/29/2012 4:29

    Erinnert mich irgendwie an den Grafen von Monte Christo......und andere Geschichten aus dem Mittelalter, die bicht minder grausig gewesen sind.
    Das Bild ist excellent! Gruß Ushie
  • Silvia Simonato. 05/29/2012 0:11

    Que bonito lugar, un castillo de cuentos de hadas!!
    Saludos Silvia
  • willy ombret 05/28/2012 20:51

    très belle prise de vue de ce château
    très bonne photo
    willy ombret
  • Bernhard Kuhlmann 05/28/2012 19:00

    Das sind Burgen, wie sie den Vorstellungen eines Mannes entsprechen !
    Fantastisch die tolle Architektur.
    Gruß bernd
  • aline64 05/28/2012 16:25

    un très beau chateau; superbe prise dans ce ciel bleu
  • Brigitte Hoffmann 05/28/2012 13:43

    Gestochen scharf und perfekt ins Bild gesetzt!
    Danke für den Kommentar dazu.
    Salut Brigitte
  • adriano j faria 05/27/2012 18:11

    Magnific detail of this beautiful castle!!!

  • Sepideh Q. 05/27/2012 14:47

    Very beautiful and great historic place.
    A wonderful presentation and info to it.
    Thank you.
    Best wishes from Persia,
  • Angelika El. 05/26/2012 22:32

    Die Farbunterschiede zwischen den beiden Steinarten ist ganz wunderbar zu sehen - fast wie ein Strich, der mit dem Linial gezogen wurde! Es wäre schade, wenn dieser so wunderbar aussehende Rest der einst stattlichen Anlage nicht erhalten worden wäre!
    Eine ganz feine Aufnahme!!!


  • qRudi 05/26/2012 20:34

  • TeresaM 05/26/2012 20:10

    Une grande et splendide addition à ta série "Castles of Belgium", Mark !
    Une excellente photo.
  • Othmar W. Mayer 05/26/2012 17:31

    As your accompanying refer to the preservation of historic buildings is still not a given.
    Voting results as of the Antwerp city council can doubt the democracy. Unfortunately, I do not know any better shape.
    Kind regards
  • Luigi Scorsino 05/26/2012 17:12

    Herrliche Arbeit Mark
    Kompliment und guten Wochenende
  • Wolfgang Bazer 05/26/2012 12:44

    Marvellous! This is a fav.
  • Markus 4 05/26/2012 9:05

    a very strength fortification.
    Very good
  • Adele Oliver 05/26/2012 4:06

    a very handsome and very old castle ... and so interesting its history ... good to see that it was preserved, and I wonder how the whold building looked like so many years ago.
    greetings, Adele
  • de ceulaer 05/26/2012 0:26

    zeer mooi !
    goie we !
  • Gunther Hasler 05/25/2012 21:39

    Zum Glück ist es erhalten geblieben! Eine Burg wie aus dem Bilderbuch, Mark und von Dir sehr wirkungsvoll präsentiert!
    Gruß, Gunther
  • Vitória Castelo Santos 05/25/2012 21:30

    Tolles Motiv - perfekt fotografiert! Gefällt mir sehr gut!!
    LG Vitoria

  • Irbenika 05/25/2012 20:25

    Impressive castle! Interesting story

  • Leo_nid 05/25/2012 17:49

    in a democratic country 1 vote matters
    in non-democratic systems thousands of votes go down the drain
    great shot and story
  • Vera M. Shulga 05/25/2012 17:38

    Very nice presentation of this very old castle!
    Very interesting info to this beautiful photo.
    Regards, Vera
  • Claudio Oldrini 05/25/2012 15:56

    Wonderful presence,very good frame.
    Ciao Claudio