Welcome to the Grand Commandery Alden Biesen, one of the largest and most impressive castle estates in Europe with a history that dates back 830 years. In this article, we will explore the rich history of Alden Biesen, as well as the cultural and recreational activities that visitors can enjoy today.
A brief history of Alden Biesen
Alden Biesen was founded in the 11th century by the knights of the Teutonic Order. During the Middle Ages, this religious order functioned as a crusading military organization that enforced the conversion to Catholicism in the Holy Land and the Baltics. Additionally, they offered military protection to Catholics in Eastern Europe. The commandry of Alden Biesen served as the headquarters of a bailiwick, a so called province of the Teutonic Order, in the Maas and Rhine region. The Teutonic Order fulfilled its Christian duties of feeding and healing pilgrims and the local poor in the castle estate.
The current buildings, however, were constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries. Despite its rich history, the castle faced a devastating fire on 8 March 1971. Fortunately, the government acquired the building and restored it to its former glory.
Alden Biesen Today
Today, Alden Biesen serves as a cultural center and conference venue. The castle hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, including the Scottish Weekend and the International Story Festival. These events draw visitors from around the world and offer a unique experience. The Scottish Weekend is a lively celebration of all things Scottish, with music, dance, and food. The International Story Festival, on the other hand, is a literary event that showcases storytelling from around the world.
Explore the Alden Biesen Castle
Visitors can explore the domain to admire the beautiful architecture, parks, and gardens. However, to really get to know the history of Alden Biesen, a guided tour is a must. A guided tour will take visitors through the castle and its grounds, providing insight into the rich history of the castle and the Teutonic Order. Guided tours are available in multiple languages, including English, French, and German.
Situated in Belgium’s Limburg province, Alden Biesen can be conveniently accessed by car, train, or bus. Those arriving by train can get off at Bilzen station, which is just a short 10-minute drive away.
In conclusion, a visit to Alden Biesen is a must for anyone interested in history, culture, and architecture. The castle estate’s rich history, stunning architecture, and cultural events make it an unforgettable experience for visitors from around the world. We hope this article has provided you with useful information and inspiration for your next trip to Belgium.