The Castles of the Scheldt

Between Ghent and Antwerp, a number of unique castles watch over the Scheldt. Behind their solid walls lie fascinating stories of a glorious past. Amidst a beautiful green setting, you can relive the rich history of the Scheldt valley and its inhabitants.



The beautiful Scheldt has exerted a great attraction since time immemorial. Numerous castles and fortresses were built on the banks of the Scheldt to defend the prosperous region. As such, the capricious river was an important witness to struggles between numerous rulers, foreign and domestic. Over the centuries, castles and fortresses were destroyed or demolished, while others were converted into country residences for wealthy citizens, otherwise known as hoven van plaisantie [courts of pleasure]. The Scheldt valley therefore remains home to some magnificent castles: the Castles of the Scheldt.

Decisive battles raged in their domains, crafty intrigues and strategic considerations were negotiated between their walls, and renowned artists and foreign craftsmen worked on their decoration. The Castles of the Scheldt plunge you into a majestic world of nobility and breathtaking architecture. Learn all about the extraordinary residents, the noble families and famous lords of the castle, and their sometimes surprising interrelationships.

The Castles of the Scheldt also illustrate like no other the many evolutions of castles and fortresses over the centuries. Travel through hundreds of years of architectural history: starting as a primitive fortification, growing into a sturdy fortress and finally transforming into a stately castle. The Scheldt Valley takes you back to bygone days when grandeur, elegance and class reigned supreme.

Around the castles you can stretch your legs in the beautiful parks and wonderful nature reserves of National Park Scheldevallei (Scheldt Valley): green splendour in full blossom due to the ambition to protect and further strengthen nature along the Scheldt. The Castles of the Scheldt therefore not only take you back in time, but they also form a unique connection with the present and future nature development of the Scheldt valley.

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National Park Scheldt Valley

Between the art cities of Ghent and Antwerp and divided between the tourist regions of Scheldeland and Waasland, a unique river landscape forms a centrally located National Park. Here the Scheldt flows together with the Rupel, the Durme and the Dender to form a vast network of rivers. Land and water are interwoven by numerous mudflats, salt marshes, meanders, streams, lakes and water wheels. The Scheldt forms the backbone as a tidal river.

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The tide is at its strongest in this part of the Scheldt valley. With daily tidal variations of up to 6 metres. This means that the view is never the same. Here the river also makes the transition from brackish water to freshwater. This tidal nature along the Scheldt, Durme and Rupel is unique on a European scale.

The Scheldt river valley harbours an exceptional fauna and flora with spindle tufts, willow groves, otters, beavers, black-tailed godwits, sea eagles, twaite shad and so much more.

A visit to National Park Scheldt Valley (NL) starts in one of the great castles or in the Cloth Hall of Dendermonde. Together they form the international gateways to the Scheldt Valley River Park. You will always find a combination of a unique heritage treasures, beautiful nature and charming cafes.

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Combined Shape Created with Sketch.