Castle Sterckshof in Antwerp

Already in the 13th century, there was the farm called Hooftvunder, on-site of the present castle, it was a fortified farm surrounded by a canal. This farm was later changed into a fortified estate that had many owners. In 1524 'Gerard Sterck', a merchant, banker, and secret counselor from Emperor Karel V bought the estate and he converted the farm to a Renaissance-style castle, from then on to the castle was called Sterckshof.

Picture by Harry Fabel

Unlike other castles in Antwerp, the Sterckshof castle was not destroyed during the wars of the 16th and 17th centuries, but it got neglected after a battle between heirs in the 17th century. In 1693 the Sterckshof castle was owned by the Christian order the Jesuits of Lier, but again it was sold in 1778 to banker Jan Baptist Cogels, which merged the castle grounds with the neighboring Ter Rivieren estate.

Picture by Harry Fabel

In 1921, the Provincial Government of Antwerp purchased the 'Ter Rivieren estate' with on it the Sterckshof castle to make the current public Rivierenhof park. From the original Sterckshof castle only one side, one tower, the entrance gate, and a few outbuildings were saved. Architect 'J.A. Van der Gucht' signed the plans for a reconstruction of the castle in 1922. Based on ancient images and archaeological excavations.

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