PMV investigates repurposing Het Steen

  • Real estate projects
  • Heritage
  • Real estate
Erfgoed - Het Steen

Castle ‘Het Steen’ is located between the village centres of Elewijt, Eppegem, Weerde (Zemst) and Houtem (Vilvoorde). It dates from the early 14th century, and probably even older. In 1635, the famous painter Rubens became the owner of the estate, together with his wife Hélène Fourment. Today, the property is owned by Tourism Flanders, which is calling on PMV to map the spatial and economic potential of a redevelopment and, afterwards, to assign a concrete use.

The castle served as a country retreat for Rubens and his family. To get there, the painter had the Steen canal dug out, connecting the Zenne with the castle grounds. Two works by Rubens are known to depict the castle: ‘Autumn Landscape overlooking the Steen’ is in the National Gallery (London) and ‘Tournament in front of the Steen’ hangs in the Louvre (Paris). The master died five years after acquiring the castle, but his wife continued to stay there and receive guests until the end of her life. After several remodelling campaigns by different owners, the castle and associated precinct were listed as a monument in 1948. In 2019, the estate was sold to Tourism Flanders.

PMV’s role

PMV has signed a cooperation agreement with Tourism Flanders and Flanders Special Venues (the subsidiary of Tourism Flanders that owns the castle) to carry out a spatial-economic analysis of possible future infills for the castle and the site. These should fit in with the tourism policy of Flanders and specifically the vision note ‘Travel to Tomorrow’. The aim is to clarify the spatial and economic potential of a reallocation. In a second phase, PMV will launch a marketing procedure together with Tourism Flanders to assign a new operator or infill for the castle to an entrepreneur.

The project in numbers

  • A castle domain of 4ha
  • A castle with a floor area of approx. 1,000m²
  • Outbuildings with a floor area of approx. 1,100m²

Project partners

In 2019, Tourism Flanders, an agency of the Flemish Government, bought the company that houses the ownership of the castle site: ‘Flanders Special Venues’. In July 2020, Flanders Special Venues, in collaboration with Tourism Flanders and the Flemish Heritage Safe, appointed a multidisciplinary agency that will be responsible for the spatial-economic study. That agency, the temporary partnership ‘Team Rubens’, consists of the research team of Erfgoedstudio, the architectural firm Team van Meer (specialised in heritage) and the communications agency Bailleul.


Bertrand Van Regemortel Business manager bertrand.vanregemortel@pmv.eu