THE ABANDONED, DECAYED AND FORGOTTEN!

CASTLE OF MESEN

AUTUMN 2003 - 35 PHOTOS
ABANDONED AND DANGEROUS

SLIDESHOW I THUMBS

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The Castle of Mesen is located in a quiet and peacefull park, close to the village centre of Lede, Belgium. This highly decayed castle is named after the last owner, Institute Royal de Messines [dutch= Koninklijk Gesticht van Mesen]. The completely surrounded domain has a surface area of 7.5 ha, from which at least one third is currently the castle. From the 16th till the 18th century the domain was in hand of the family Bette. In the course of the 19th century the domain was mainly used for industrial purposes, there was a distillery, a sugar refinery and a little tobacco factory lodged inside. In 1897 the castle and domain becomes property of the nuns Kannunikessen from Jupille, they build the most importent volume, the neogothic community school and chapel date from 1905. After the first world war the domain came in hands of the Institute Royal de Messines, an institute from the time of Maria-Theresia. The institute have educated the little children from passed away or disabled soldiers. Around 1921 they started to renovate the damaged buildings from world war I. At that same time the "Dutch Pavilion" was build with dutch guilders.

Since then the buildings are abandoned. In 1979 the Castle of Mesen becomes a protected monument, but because of procedural mistakes that protection was undone that next year. A new more recent protection request for the status of monument could not be realised. The refusal was connected to the very bad condition of the abandoned buildings and fear for high restoring costs. Nowadays the future for the buildings stays uncertain, will they demolish or reconstruct?

Almost 40 years of abandonment makes that the castle is slowly taken back by the powers of mother nature. The wood is rotten, glass is broken, roof tops and ceilings have collapsed, stairs are very rusty and concrete starts the crumble. But the most intriguing to see, is the bush and trees that are growing in and outside of the castle, up to the roof.