In recent decades, the Val Duchesse/Hertoginnedal estate has become known for the conclaves and international meetings held on this site. However, its history goes back to the 13th century, when a Dominican priory was established here. The estate has been remodelled many times since then. When Baron Charles Dietrich acquired it in 1903, only one wing of the castle, part of the surrounding wall and a few rural buildings were still standing. The new owner commissioned architect Albert Roosenboom to restore and extend the complex from 1915 onwards. The current priory, a semicircular brick building, was the result of the rebuilding of the agricultural outbuildings. The Belgian Council of Ministers held meetings here in the 1990s. Some distance away stood the Orangery, overlooking the park. With a terrace in front, enclosed by a double staircase at either end, the neoclassical pavilion consisted of a single, mezzanine level and a succession of seven bays. It was used as a greenhouse to house the orange trees during the winter. The castle itself is a mix of various styles, the oldest part being the Louis-XV-style south wing, which is believed to date from 1780. Inside, the well-preserved rooms reflect the interior decor in vogue at different times, including the office in Flemish neo-Renaissance style, the Louis-XVI-style Golden Room, the Gothic Room and the Delft Room, whose walls are lined with ceramic tiles from the Dutch city of that name. In 1930, Charles Dietrich bequeathed the estate to the Belgian Royal Trust, with a view to turning it into a prestigious meeting venue. Since then, it has been the setting for some truly historic gatherings. Between June 1956 and March 1957, for example, it hosted the Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom, paving the way for the creation of the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community. Today, Belgium’s Prime Minister and federal government continue to hold meetings and formal receptions here. (Listed 05/12/2002 and 23/10/2003)
Guided tours: Sat. & Sun. at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00 (in French); 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 14:30, 15:30 and 16:30 (in Dutch). In cooperation with Itinéraires, sur les Sentiers de l’Histoire.
The Val Duchesse/Hertoginnedal estate is open to the public by kind permission of its occupant, the Chancellery of the Prime Minister.
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 18:00
Avenue Valduchesse/Hertoginnedallaan 1, Auderghem/Oudergem
Guided tours and by reservation only
Accessible with assistance