Rubens Castle in Zemst to be transformed into experience centre

The Rubens Castle in Zemst, Flemish Brabant, will be transformed into an interactive experience centre where visitors can learn about the painter's life and work. It will also have meeting and conference rooms. The plans were unveiled on Sunday during the first edition of the Rubens Festival.

Flemish artist Pieter Paul Rubens bought the castle, which dates back to the early 14th century, in 1635. He spent the last five years of his life there with his family. In 2019, Visit Flanders bought the castle from a private owner with the intention of opening it to the general public.

Meeting rooms and experience centre

One wing of the castle will house meeting and conference rooms. The rooms can also be used for concerts, lectures or dinners. The other wing will be reserved for an interactive experience centre about Rubens. Visitors will learn about the Flemish master's landscape paintings, drawings and life at the castle.

The historic guesthouse will be converted into accommodation with 11 rooms. The farmhouse will become a restaurant using local produce. The old steward's house will be used as an additional meeting room and can be booked by local associations. The park surrounding the estate will remain open to the public, even when the castle is closed.

"It's a special place for tourists looking for added value about Rubens' life"

"We combine nature, culture and heritage: it was very important to weave these three elements together," said Flemish Tourism minister Zuhal Demir during the presentation on Sunday. "It's a special place for tourists looking for added value about Rubens' life. Visitors will be able to experience the place where Rubens painted and lived."

The architectural master plan, mobility plan and nature management plan will be drawn up over the next few years. Construction is expected to start in 2027, and the entire project should be completed in 2030.

#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO & VIDEO INE GILLIS

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