Chateau Miranda – A Haunting Memory (History & Travel Tips)

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This beautiful fairytale castle introduced the Neo-Gothic style of architecture in the latter half of the 19th century. The Gothic towers overlook magical, mystical, rolling hills and let you believe you are in another world. It feels like an enchanted castle, home to kings and queens, princes, and princesses; you are just waiting for a horse-drawn carriage to arrive at any moment to take everyone to a ball.

If that is what you are thinking, you would be right. This picturesque castle was once home to the Count and Countess Liedekerke de Beaufort and their family. The castle interior has majestic arched hallways, lavish wooden staircases, and ballrooms.

Years after it was abandoned dolls were found in strange places.

The view of the side of Chateau Miranda.
The exterior (plus more modern fire escape) of Castle Miranda in 2014 nik gaffney, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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Frequently Asked Questions

FOR HISTORY | BEAUTIFUL IMAGES | INTERESTING FACTS | TRAVEL TIPS

Early History

The French Revolution was started by the peasants on 5 May 1789 as they resented the bourgeoisie, their political power, their wealth, and their positions of honor. This insurrection was fueled by Maximilien de Robespierre, who was an outspoken lawyer and leading member of the insurrectionary Paris Commune.

This uprising brought war to France and instability to Brussels. The Liedekerke de Beaufort family had royal titles, lands, wealth, and strong involvement in Belgian politics. In 1792 the family decided to flee from their Castle Vêve and relocate to a secluded farm on the outskirts of Celles. The revolution ended on 9 November 1799 and with that all the fervor of chasing after the nobility and their families.

The fall of Robespierre at the Convention on 27 July 1794.
The fall of Robespierre at the Convention on 27 July 1794. Alte Nationalgalerie, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The descendants of the Count Liedekerke de Beaufort commissioned the architect Edward Milner to transform the farm into a new summer residence located close to Castle Vêve, where they could have garden parties and hunts. Milner was an ardent student of Victorian garden landscaping, an ideal fit for the nobilities’ garden parties.

A photo of demolished Chateau Miranda's main stairs.
A photo of demolished Chateau Miranda’s main stairs. Rudy23, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Remaining at Castle Miranda until World War II, the family was forced out by the Nazis who occupied the castle as barracks and offices until the end of the war. The Battle of the Bulge, a part of the Battle of Ardennes, brought the war right to the property where there was additional combat. In the town of Houyet, there is a Panzer on display that was used in the area.

The German offensive tactics started from Dinant (the railway station in the area) towards Meuse, which meant it would definitely have included Liedekerke de Beaufort properties.

A photo of the turret of Chateau Miranda.
A photo of the turret of Chateau Miranda. Château Miranda flickr photo by zzkt shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Current Times

Orphanage/Holiday Camp

Castle Miranda was taken over by the National Railway Company of Belgium (NMBS) in 1950 and renamed Castle Noisy. It was used as an orphanage and a holiday camp for sickly children of the railway’s employees to breathe in fresh air, eat healthy food, and exercise.

The Castle Noisy could provide 200 children with a holiday experience that included fresh air, activities such as a playground, a swimming pool, and a small football pitch. The children were mostly Belgian, speaking French and Flemish. During the holiday season, children from Italy also frequented the camp.

The entrance gate of Chateau Miranda.
The entrance gate of Chateau Miranda. .Author=Pel Laurens – http://www.forgotten-beauty.com, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Although this was a holiday camp, it was run by female officials and the children had to dress uniformly with a strict schedule to follow. Some children told of horrible treatment that they were subjected to while the staff lived in luxury.

Derelict and Demolished

Castle Noisy stopped being used as a holiday camp in 1991 due to the excessive costs for repairs and maintenance. After the closure of the camp, Castle Miranda started deteriorating until a fire, that seemed to be intentionally started, caused the most damage in 1995. This damaging fire wiped out an entire wing making the costs to repair exorbitant.

The site where Chateau Miranda was destroyed in 2018 with its green surroundings.
The site where Chateau Miranda was destroyed in 2018. Régine Fabri / Wikimedia Commons

Despite a desperate search for an investor none was found, and the castle became a derelict building that could be dangerous to visitors that parked at the bottom of the hill and walked to the building to explore. This resulted in the Castle Miranda becoming an attraction in the field of “Urban Exploration”, which essentially meant that members of the public who were photographers, ghost-hunters, and thrill-seekers went into derelict buildings to explore.

In 2014, another fire was set, destroying much of the remainder of the castle. To protect the public from any harm, the Liedekerke de Beaufort family petitioned the court to have Castle Miranda demolished. The demolition started in October 2016 and took a year to complete. Prior to it falling into dereliction, the family removed all fireplaces, tiles, and stone objects that could have historical value. They were moved to the family’s other properties. 

A crumbling camp-era bathroom inside Chateau Miranda, taken in 2014.
A crumbling camp-era bathroom inside Chateau Miranda, taken in 2014. Château Miranda flickr photo by zzkt shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Interesting Chateau Miranda Facts

  • Hannibal, the television series, was filmed at Castle Noisy in part. It is referred to as Lecter Castle in the series.
  • The Belgian filmHet huis Anubis en de wraak van Arghus” (The House of Anubis and the Revenge of Arghus) was also filmed on location at Castle Noisy.
  • While being used as an orphanage and holiday camp, the children were given postcards to send home to their parents with a photograph of the Castle. Some of the children reported horrid stories of neglect and abuse.
  • Years after it was abandoned dolls were found in strange places.
  • Chilling screams of children were heard in the abandoned building and some people claim to have seen ghosts of children
  • Castle Miranda had 500 windows after the completion and extensions completed by French architect Pelchner.
  • The original architect Edward Milner died in 1884 before completing the project. His death is shrouded in mystery, the circumstances and reasons for his sudden death remain unknown to this day.
  • The central clock tower remained working until late into the 20th century despite no one knowing when it was last serviced!

Visiting Chateau Miranda – Tips and Tricks

The once beautiful buildings of Castle Miranda were flattened and bulldozed. There is nothing to be seen at the site except for the magnificent view. Let your imagination run wild with images of the graceful interior, the glorious beauty of the architecture, and the perfectly-manicured gardens that once graced the site.

Visitor on their way inside Chateau Miranda.
Visitor on their way inside Chateau Miranda. nik gaffney, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to get to Chateau Miranda?

Belgian Railways (NMBS/SNCB) trains depart from Brussels Airport-Zaventem to Dinant station every 2 hours. Ticket prices are €19 to €21 ($22 – $25 USD), the trip takes 1h 47m.

If you are staying in Brussels, a rental car might be ideal as you can visit the site of Miranda Castle and the town of Houyet, as well as Castle Vȇve.

Ticket Prices, Visiting Hours & Travel Tips

Castle Miranda was demolished in October 2017. Visiting the site is only possible by arrangement with the Liedekerke de Beaufort family at Castle Vȇve. The costs involved and visiting hours are totally at their discretion.

Derelict Interior of Castle Miranda.
Derelict Interior of Castle Miranda. Sten Ceulemans, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How Long Will It Take to Tour Around?

When arranging the visit with the Liedekerke de Beaufort family you must ask how long you may spend there.

Some words of advice and tips: 

  • Check the daily weather forecast and dress appropriately as you will be outside for the duration of your visit.
  • Do not trespass without permission from the Liedekerke de Beaufort family.

Quick Video Tour of The Main Chateau Miranda Areas

Jeanne Gleimius
Jeanne Gleimius
After completing a Bachelors in Public Relations and Communications and ranking first in Journalism, I packed my bags and became a world traveler. Visiting castles and forts across the world including Chichen Itza in the Yucutan, Naval Forts on the Caribbean Islands, European palaces like Versailles, castles in Lichtenstein, Austria, Croatia, Luxembourg, and Greece, I didn’t realize that I would one day achieve my dream of becoming a writer. The most amazing fact of all, is now I can write about what I love.

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