Steen Castle is one of the oldest castles in Europe, and therefore in Belgium. Also known as Het Steen, the name means The Stone and the castle is made entirely of stones.
Before the castle we see today, some structures were built for protection purposes, but they were destroyed by both Vikings and other enemies.
Today there are no traces of these structures. However, the present castle dates back to the early 13th century. The castle, which was part of a larger structure in these centuries, has managed to survive until today.
When you visit the castle, you will see two different colors on the outside. In the 16th century, during the reign of Charles V, part of the castle was renovated and a lighter colored and lighter type of stone was used during this renovation.
After this restoration, the castle was used as a prison until the 19th century. After serving as a sawmill and fish warehouse, the castle was used as part of the National Maritime Museum from 1952 until 2008. Today, you can see the artifacts found here at the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS).
At the entrance to the castle there is a statue of a giant and two small people made by Albert Poels in 1963. According to the legends of the Antwerpians, it depicts the giant Lange Wapper harassing the locals in the Middle Ages. Inside the castle you can also see a monument to a Canadian soldier who fought in World War II.
Steen Castle looks beautiful from the outside, but don’t expect much from the inside. Steen Castle is very easy to reach. It is about 400 meters from the Cathedral of Our Lady and Grote Markt, right on the edge of the Scheldt River. You can visit the castle for free.