The 175th anniversary of
the castle of La Hulpe

1842-2017

Add an element

The castle today

2018

    Listed as an exceptional Walloon heritage site since 1993, the estate is known for its wealth of varied fauna and flora, and for the peaceful, relaxing enjoyment that it provides to the public.

    The castle today

Folon Foundation

2000

    The Walloon Region transformed the castle’s farm in 1998 to serve as a home for the work of Jean-Michel Folon, with 500 of the artist’s work covering 40 years of creative output via original, interactive scenes.

    Folon Foundation

Opening to the public

1975

    The Solvay Cultural Foundation was launched in 1973 to complete the mission set by the Count, with the first visitors entering the estate two years later.

    Opening to the public

Donation to the Belgian government and regionalization

1968

    Ernest Solvay donated the estate to the government in 1968, on the condition that the estate’s integrity would be preserved and used to promote cultural events. He would, however, continue to enjoy the benefit of the estate until his death on 1972.

    Donation to the Belgian government and regionalization

    After improving the parkland and installing an 800m viewpoint culminating in a 36m-high obelisk, Ernest Solvay secured listed protected status for the estate on June 10th, 1963.

    Donation to the Belgian government and regionalization

Transformation of the façade

1929

    Many major changes were carried out between 1929 and 1932, particularly the removal of the Béthune coat of arms. The chateau’s current frontage is attributable to Armand and Ernest-John, the son and grandson of the founder of the famous Solvay dynasty.

    Transformation of the façade

Additions by the architect Victor Horta

1894

    In 1894, Ernest Solvay had his town house, the Hôtel Solvay, built in Brussels. Victor Horta was also engaged to furnish the castle’s interior. The only remaining trace of these changes, in the art nouveau style, is the hand pump near the stables.

    Additions by the architect Victor Horta

Acquisition of the estate by the Solvay family

1893

    Baron Antoine de Roest d’Alkemade acquired the estate in 1891. He expanded it, and continued to improve the property until the death of his wife and son, whereupon he decided to re-sell the estate to the industrialist, Ernest John Solvay.

    Acquisition of the estate by the Solvay family

    The founder of Solvay & Co purchased all 347ha in 1893 as a second home. The estate grew to 490 hectares in 1920, and Belgium’s best landscape gardener, Jules Buyssens, refurbished it to create a remarkable country parkland and forests.

    Acquisition of the estate by the Solvay family

Construction of the castle by the Béthune family

1842

    Jean-Jacques Nicolas Arveuf-Fransquin and Jean-François Coppens were the architects placed in charge of the construction of the castle. Work was completed in 1842, leaving a majestic chateau in the Flemish neo-renaissance style.

    Construction of the castle by the Béthune family

Formation of the estate in the Forest of Soignes

1833

    After Belgium gained its independence, the Société Générale offered vast tracts of the Forest of Soignes for Sale. This was the background against which Count de Béthune Hesdigneul acquired 341 hectares of the forest, transforming them into parkland.

    Formation of the estate in the Forest of Soignes