ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Reinhardstein Castle, eastern Belgium: Medieval memories

Updated on November 8, 2011
Flag of Belgium
Flag of Belgium | Source
Reinhardstein Castle, eastern Belgium
Reinhardstein Castle, eastern Belgium | Source
Reinhardstein Castle in eastern Belgium
Reinhardstein Castle in eastern Belgium | Source
Map location of the Belgian municipality of Waimes
Map location of the Belgian municipality of Waimes | Source

Sounds German...but it's not as simple as this

This castle looks as if it is in the middle of Germany somewhere. The reality is rather different and somewhat complex.

Where is it? Enter Belgian linguistic administration

The Castle is not in Germany; in fact there used to be a strong connection with Austria: among the various owners of the Castle since the Middle Ages were the Counts of Metternich, a member of which family was a long-serving Chancellor of the Austrian Empire. The Metternichs were in possession of the Castle until 1812.

Today, the Castle is situated in eastern Belgium, within the Walloon region (French: Région wallonne; German: Wallonische Region). Even in stating this, however, it gets complicated.

Reinhardstein is located in the municipality of Waimes (German: Weismes), near the villages of Robertville and Ovifat. The Malmédy area of eastern Belgium, where Waimes is situated, has changed state jurisdictions a number of times in recent centuries.

Someone might inteject: Isn't there a still a German-speaking area of eastern Belgium? with a name such as 'Reinhardstein', surely the Castle must be in the German-speaking area?

Well, yes, there IS indeed an area of Liège province which forms the German-speaking Community, but Reinhardstein isn't part of it. The municipality of Waimes does, however, have a protected German-speaking minority.

Belgium's internal affairs are thoroughly informed by language issues among French- and Dutch-speakers, and nearly every part of the country is officially divided into areas which are French-speaking alone, Dutch-speaking alone, French- and Dutch-speaking together, French-speaking with a protected Dutch-speaking minority and Dutch-speaking with a protected French-speaking minority. (There, I managed to write it all.)

Enter eastern Belgium into the equation. With its German-speakers it might have seemed a simple matter for places with German-speakers and German-sounding topography to be officially designated German-speaking.

Again, it is not as simple as this. Something of the complex administrative paradigms in force in the rest of the country among French- and Dutch-speakers has been applied to eastern Belgium, also. Prior to 1977, Reinhardstein did not use to be in Waimes municipality. But a majority of the good citizens of Waimes speak French (or, in fact, in many cases, Walloon, also), even though the minority of German-speakers is recognized. Furthermore, the more recent owners of Reinhardstein have not all been native German-speakers in any case.

So the result is that Reinhardstein Castle is in territory officially designated French-speaking with a protected German-speaking minority.

But the Castle looks so isolated, someone might say. It looks as if it's in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees, not people. Belgian officials would reply: Ah, yes, but it's the principle of the thing that matters.

So, at any rate, in French you say: Château de Reinhardstein, and, in German: Burg (or Schloss) Reinhardstein (or even sometimes Burg Metternich).

Some history and features of the castle

The Castle dates from 1354, when Reinhard (French: Renaud) of Waimes was empowered by his overlord Wenceslaus of Luxembourg to built a fortress at its present location.

It is believed that, notwithstanding Reinhard's building efforts, the 14th century structure incorporated elements of previous fortifications.

Subsequently, Reinhardstein Castle passed through various owners. Particularly after the Austrian Metternichs (see above) succeeded in divesting themselves of it, the Castle suffered greatly from forms of neglect, which varied from the benign to active demolition on the part of stonemasons and their suppliers who wished to use its building materials for their own schemes.

Subsequently, from the 1960s, new owner Monsieur Overloop, a learned professor who acquired a deep knowledge of the history and designs of castles in the wider region, engaged in a thoroughgoing program of rebuilding. It is also possible for the term 'rebuilding' to be replaced by a term such as 'enhancement'.

In any case, Reinhardstein is a fine restoration. The main building contains a knights' hall. In a five storey keep are a library and archives. At the Castle also, a chapel has undergone considerable refurbishment. To the south of the property rises the Salamandre tower. The construction of the castle was carried out with the guidance of an 18th century engraving of the Castle, with considerable reference also to characteristics of other castles in the Eifel region of Germany, adjacent to the Belgian border.

Also worth seeing

Buetgenbach (distance: 12 kilometres) has a large, towered church building.

Pruem, Germany (distance: 63 kilometres) has some striking ecclesiastical architecture.


How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York (JFK) to Brussels Airport, where car hire is available (distance from Brussels Airport to Waimes: 154 kilometres). Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)