Walking Turnhout’s city centre you may be stopped in your tracks by this moated castle, the origins of which go right back to the 1200s as a hunting lodge for the Dukes of Brabant.
The castle’s present Renaissance appearance is from the 16th century when Mary of Austria turned it into a luxurious residence.
The unblemished facade that greets you today belies a turbulent past, especially in the Eighty Years’ War when the castle was struck by cannon 100 times.
The castle was dilapidated by the 20th century, but was rescued from demolition and became a listed monument in 1936. Turnhout’s courts of justice are now set inside, but 90-minute guided tours are available on afternoons and weekends if you book in advance, taking you from the basement to the top of the tower.