Repurposing of Vilain XIIII castle estate
At its core, the Vilain XIIII castle of Leut dates back to the 13th-14th centuries. After several building campaigns and changes of ownership across centuries, Tourism Flanders (which bought it in late 2021) is brooding on a repurposing. Visitors and local residents were allowed to cast their votes in a public survey.
The castle got its current classicist look in the 18th century. Viscount, ardent Belgian patriot and mayor of Leut for 50 years, Charles-Ghislain Vilain XIIII (1803-1878), held several high offices, including people's representative, diplomat and foreign minister. The last of his seven daughters left the castle and its grounds to the Limburg Mining Company, which housed the Vilain XIIII Foundation hospital.
The public clearly prefers a quiet purpose to a dynamic one, focusing on nature experience, food and drink, and art and culture. Based on the survey, experts then drew up six thematic groups, namely the three previous ones extended with sports and games, accommodation and finally business and commerce. To these they linked a lot of concrete future experiments. Will there be a hub to promote Limburg regional products and craftsmanship, an eco-campsite or other forms of accommodation, a natural adventure course for families with children ... with the history of the Vilain XIIII family as the thread running through everything? The final master plan is expected in the autumn.