Yet another 'no future' location. Maybe the most sentimental location we explored. Located in the center of Lede, close to Aalst, this castle has a complex history.
Built and destroyed many times, what remains from this building dates mainly from the beginning of the 17th century. In the middle of a pretty public park of 7 hectares, the castle has a lot of outbuildings like stables and an orangery.
After 1796, the castle was not used as a living place anymore. During the next century, the castle was used for the local industry A gin distillery, a sugar refinery, a potash refinery and a tobacco factory took place in the caves of the castle. Still a lot of machines remain there.
In 1897 the castle was sold to a religious order that built the impressive neo-gothic chapel. After the First World War an institution bought the complex and established a school for the local children. A new aisle was added, the nice Dutch pavilion, and also a school.
This boarding school was first located in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, founded by Mrs de Maintenon. After its destruction, it moved to Lede in Belgium. The teaching was performed in French. Only female students here, the school is reserved to the penniless aristocracy. Later on, militaries daughters were allowed.
The education was very 18th century oriented: strict and rigorous. The motto was "I'd maintain". For instance, the girls had to greet their teachers with a curtsey performed in three movements when they entered in the classrooms. Then when the teacher went out, the pupils stood up and made another curtsey while saying "Miss, we thank you for the lessons you taught us".
The school was financed by the Belgian aristocracy. The Boël baroness, Miss Carton de Villard among many others. The pupils paid also an expensive tribute.
The days started up early. At 6am they had to wake up and wash. After the 7pm mass, the breakfast and the lessons followed. The mass was given by an external priest, no religious person was allowed to stay inside the school. The chapel, nowadays in a derelict state, had a beautiful long blue carpet in the center alley, with an heraldic lily painted on it.
The education was particularly refined: the girls had to know everything to behave in the high society and in 'great houses'. Learning how to receive important persons but also being able to manage employees, while being able to perform any housework. This on top of the primary and secondary lessons. Actually, one started the school at the age of 5 to finish at 18 years old! The professors taught principles such as "Misses, if you have the chance to manage employees, it is absolutely necessary that you can do everything they can do, at least as well as you expect from them. And if you don't, well this would be at least extremely useful for your family and yourself".
150 pupils lived there. The studies were extremely well followed. The girls received one visit per month, and were allowed to go back home only one month per year.
The leisure? Reading, walking in the country, and gym.
Each 5-6 years old pupil was patroned by a 12 to 18 years old girl who was responsible of her. She had to guide her little one and take care of her, for example watch out her clothes and behavior. The little girls slept in dormitory rooms while the oldest ones had private rooms, equipped of baths.
Problems appear then; Then the problems arose: the castle belongs in 1970 to the Ministry of Defence that let the complex rot. Costs for restoration became so high that it was refused to list the castle as a historical monument.
Associations are fighting for a rehabilitation, but as often money and procedures problems impeach any action to be taken. Still it remains a quiet and peaceful place to explore, although dangerous because everything is collapsing. Sad...
Greatness and decline is the motto here... The location gets more and more vandalized. A place that keeps its own char that we tried to revive by these ancient pictures. Happy exploring.
thank you for this amazing photos.... so sad but yet beautiful.
This is Belgium at his top: destroying old beautiful stuff to replace with stupid,ugly things who can stay only a few decades and then fall into pieces.SAD !!!
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c'est très bien fait, ces superpositions avant-après ! cela donne une juste idée des bâtiments à l'époque. bravo...
For this I can recommend too to join the facebook group I told about below your comment, Jorge. Take a look too on the older comments. There are many people knows pretty more but me about the history, there are too a man with your last name. And there are too comments about a Mesen book.
It will need time to investigate there but maybe you will find out new things.
For the history of the castle itself here on the forbidden places site are one of the best informations in the web, I think.
I know you have created this comment section to discuss the beauty of the castle as an attempt to save it from being demolished.
Recently I have had a very big interest in finding out the origin of my last name and ran across this photo gallery showing a castle with the name I have been trying to do research on.
So, understanding that a lot of people have been interested in the history of this place I wonder if there would be anyone that may be able to tell me about the origins of this castle and it's name. Dates and other information that may be useful for genealogical purposes will be appreciated as well.
Thank you in advance for your understanding and any information.
Since our last comments a lot of things happens.
Yes, the beautyful chapel and the southern wing are demolished now. The same with the Hollands Pavillion and the orangery. We lost a lot of beauty. But: the eastern wing still exists and as far as I know they want try to save it and use the 3 outside walls what remaining of it for the service flats they want to create there.
In the north of the eastern school building a beautyful theatre is situated. In bad condition, but it exists. As far as we know they want to destroy the theatre.
Now we thought about how difficult it would be to get the theatre out of the building if they want to save the walls around it. In the west, the north and the east are the outside walls and in the south is the stairway. If I not completely wrong, the theatre hold the building at least partial with it's pillars- in the south the most ceilings and almost the complete roof are collapsed, and in the north, where the theatre is below, more exists.
Because of this we have the idea: Why not restore the theatre and use it for example for the cafeteria they plan too for their serviceflats? In the south of the eastern school wing is enough space for the serviceflats and the southern front of the eastern wing is destroyed; so they just need to move a little bit. And the theatre could stay for the next generations. It would be the last piece of Mesen where it is possible to feel the atmosphere and the size of the former school.
More people now are supporting this idea. What is fine: The most of them now are flemish people, how it should be:-).
For the theatre the people started a new petition for example:
We are grateful for every sign, so feel free;-) :-)...
(It is important here to confim the sign with a click on a link you will get via email behind the signing).
The people created flyers they hand out and posters people can put in their car and home windows. And on the 14th of august we are meet the belgian TV station VTM and told in their "de stip" about Mesen, it's theatre and our ideas. Here the result.
Who love this: we are grateful for every support. Here our group on facebook again:
Sorry for the long text and all my best, Jens:-).
Just as much as I got excited as I saw the photos it made me disappointed to read the comments. Demolishing. Terribly sad.
Yes, Kev, you said what I feel. I am grateful for everyone who tried to help save this living dream.
Yesterday, at the 14th of june in 2010, they torn down the chapel. Now, I think, the fight is over.
Thanks again and again for everyone who tried to help, this was comforting in all this worse things.
I am sorry to say that they have distroyed and distrubed the beautiful dream that layed there so peacefully for over 40 years, a place where dreams were made true and peoples memories where kept alive! but through greed and the quick turn of profit they were distroyed! you and me both know they could of stopped this if they wanted to. I just hope they can live with the dission they've made. they have torn the heart out of lede but their the ones that have to live with it. we did our best. I hope you're happy mayor of Lede. sleep well in the knowledge of what you've done.
Yes, Kevin, the demolition has started with the "Hollands Pavillion".
I too can't understand what's happened in Lede, so many people are scolding about this demolition, but just a few people are really fighting. The meeting with Webnieuws on the 1st of may just 6 people joined, 3 of them all coming in my car from Germany.
There was over 1400 (now over 1700) people in the facebook- group, many of them from Lede, we sent a invitation to everyone of this over 1400 people. Just 2 people from Lede and it's neighbourhood really comes.
So the mayor of Lede said approximately: There is no interest for Mesen. I really don't understand what's happens in this town.
And I am extremely angry, because I think, there are possibilities to do something. But what can anybody do with a town full of seeming lazy and ignorant people?
I don't get this. And somehow I can stand this. It remember me the final of "The life of brain" where Brain's friends prefer to kill themself but to rescue Brain.
It is all so stupid and hurts so much.
So long for my feelings...
Sad to say that demolition has now began on the castle, Our petition and our group tried to save this place but there was lack of support from the people of Lede. So sorry to say we failed! but a big thank you to those that tried to help us. R.I,P Castle Mesen.
There are 2 newsletter articles now about our meeting at the 1st of may:
And here is a tv report from the last monday about Mesen:
At the first of may the castle was still there, Alphonsus; but some preparations has started. Idon't know when the demolition itself begin. I hope, NEVER!!
I would like to go to this amazing place! will be in Brussels on the 6th of May. Has demolition work been started already? And is there any public transport that i could take that will bring me near to the Château?
Now we have some news again; and this are good news:
On the next saturday, the 1st of may 2010, we meet Herman Laneau from the newspaper Webnieuws ErpeMereLede by the Castle of Mesen.
Saturday, 1st of may 2010, at 15: 00 o'clock, at the gate of Kasteeldreef.
He will come with a photographer and maybe inform an other newspaper too. If anybody is in Oost- Flanderen in this time feel free to join our meeting! I hope there will come many people, with banners maybe, who show their support for het Kasteel van Mesen and come together for the press photo! I have post it in the facebook group and hope, many people from Lede read it and join!
And if there some foreigners it would be more than brilliant!!
Like I heard the demolition itself do not start in the next days and is'nt running till now. We have a little bit time (I don't know, how many) what we should use!!
Come to Lede; 1st of may, 15: 00 o'clock at the gate by the Kasteeldreef!
Till then? Jens:-).
Ooooh are they really going to demolish this great thing? Or by now it's done already? How sad...such a great piece of history!
Ohh, that's bad...
Thanks for signing, Evita
Maybe there is a hope for the chapel: An architecturial student from Lede made plans for saving the chapel, restore it and use it for different purposes, for parties for example.
Maybe this is the last chance to save it. Today I thought: Imagine, some times later we could have an official international urbex meeting there?!?! In the world- famous Mesen- chapel!
Let's dream.... and fight for the dreams!!!
We tried to get in a week ago, but were busted by a 'guard' who had very mysteriously written down our license plate...and threatened to call the cops on us
So we left, but this place is unbelievable!
Good luck with the petition, I signed it already.
You say, what I feel, Natascha!
There are more people like you in Lede, Natascha? Why do'nt demonstrate? Show the politicians what you think! Shout it out LOUD; VERY LOUD!! This is a thing what needs noise, MANY of it!!
2 days ago we sent our petition with 275 signs (at present around 290 signs) to the mayor of Lede and to the newspaper too. There are over 290 people who signed it, People from the whole world. There are your home; Lede, Erpe, Mere; Aalst; but there are other places in Belgium and there are Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, France, Canada and Singapore too.
Can they really ignore the whole world?!?!
As more as you fight in Lede, as more we gets more energy to continue our fight from the far in Germany and the United Kingdom, as more we see it makes sense. But like I said in Kev's group: we need the citizen in Lede and ca'nt do it without you!
You all in Lede have enlite a fire under the asses of the politicians there! If hundreds of people demonstrate there (Kevin's group has 714 members), they must pay attention to what you say!!
Unite, damn; you have the power!!
I feel so sad it's going to be demolished next week. And for what? for some ugly modern buildings for putting old people in it? Everything for the money! That's Lede, a stupid village. on the square there are also in the past demolished a lot of beautiful buildings to put some ugly modern ones in place! I don't get them. Why do they want to throw away history?
It's going to be strange to never see the castle again when I go to school.
I think it's impossible to get in because they are workin there. I realy feel sad because I never went in the castle, I never saw its beauty.
They could have done so many beautiful things with it. But they just let it rot away. and I hate the previous owners of the castle, because they are the ones who didn't want to sell it!
Also the parc around it has become ugly with all their machines.
Why isn't there anyone who is a bilionar and can buy and restore the castle?
Some days ago Kevin founded a facebook group for Mesen:
Since these days the group gets 318 members, including many people from Lede! And it gets more every hour, in the last morning it was just around 160 people, friday morning just 45 of them.
Come in Kevin's group, enchourage the people in Lede fighting for it's juwel. At present I think it is the best contact to the people there.
And please, please subscribe our petition, like Anny said.
Here is the link again:
(If a donation window appears behind the signing, than you can close the site, regardless of this your sign is valid! Nobody have to pay there!!!)
You can check your sign there, maybe not in chronological order (but in the right day):
Best regards, Jens.
There is now a Petition for not starting the demolition of the Kasteel!
Please visit www.ipetitions.com and subscribe so the people in Lede can see that the Kasteel van Mesen is a Monument from international interest & worth to save it.
We need it fast, because we have only a few days to show how many people like the Kasteel.
When you think about, how many people do Urban Exploring & nearly everyone of them thinks, the Kasteel van Mesen is a special place, then I please you all to give us your voice for this action!!
Else we will lose another really wonderful place to characterless architecture.
Sorry, I forgot the link.
Here is it:
Best regards from Germany, Jens.
amazing; you have the same nickname like me in many communities
I founded a new forum for Kasteel van Mesen some days ago. I want to try unite all the people who want to safe this place. It is divided in 3 parts- one flemish/ nederlands speaking, one english speaking and one german speaking part.
At present it is quiet empty but I think we can fill it with life. Some ideas exists till now, maybe it becomes more?!!?
All ideas to safe Mesen and stop the demolition are welcome!
My last information means that the demolition will start in the 12th April. Can we stop it?
Visited this location 2 days ago, it's still intact but they're working on it. I'm afraid there's no stopping the demolishing. It's a shame cause this site is absolutely stunning! We got in by climbing over on of the outside walls, seems to be the only way to get into the area. There are workers there on weekdays if they see you they'll tell you to leave (unless you want cop trouble)
The site's big enough to explore while staying unseen though. Very very beautiful.
Made this pic:
nice to hear from you:-).
Unfortunately I afraid we can't really stop it. I also don't really know how to do this. But I want try it.
At first I want to try unite all people who love Mesen.
If you want, then write me (just click on my name and then looking for "contact"!
Best regards, Jens:-).
Hi Jens, that's great news that you're trying to get something done to stop them from demolishing the castle. I have been going to many sites and blogs leaving information for here so that people can join in the fight! We'll have to start moving fast and make them see what a mistake it would be to tear down yet another peice of history. I feel sorry for the children as they don't realize that a part of their history is being stolen from them when it should be protected! People in the local area and all schools and businesses should be made aware of what's going to happen to the castle, they probably don't know what to do or where to start. Need to get a potion started with as many signitures as possible. Time's running out!I'll keep checking back here.
All the best and good luck Kevin.
Hello Kevin, hello Braxton, hello everyone who love this place,
some friends and me just a few days ago heard from the demolition. We want to try what seems impossible- to stop this madness. We are planning to start a forum just for the Castle, we hope that everyone who know it introduce "his Mesen part", his photos, experiences or "just" his dreams and hopes and thoughts and wishes in it. As more people from all around the world show on this way, how important this castle for them, as more mabe it's possible to stop the demolition and get more time.
Further we are planning a signature list for stopping the demolition.
At present it all are just thoughts. But we will need everyone and his power to achieve the new chance...
Together maybe: YES; WE CAN!
More information coming soon.
Best regards and hope for your feedback, Jens.
Here are the most detailed pictures of the outside of the castle, surely after looking at these pictures it would be a great shame to demolish this beautiful building. so why can't they create a data base for volunteers� that would love to help restore this place?
Hi Braxton, Yes this saddens me also! when they are going to develop the new appartments, they plan to leave one of the towers and the outta buildings. The main part of the buildings will be torn down but! there is some talk of a government offical taking a back hand to push this development through. It gets me very angry that their thowing their history away just like the UK has done.... so many beautiful places have gone from here. This place could of been saved, I just wished there was time to save it.
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