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The place
Ham Castle lies in the town of Steenokkerzeel, just north of Brussels.
The first stone fortification here actually stood on the site of the present bailey. The four corner towers of this present bailey are the remainders of this earlier castle, which was built in the 12th century. This castle was owned by the Van Hamme family between 1353 and 1473. Around 1500 Filip Hinckaert ordered the demolition of that castle.
He did this to replace it with the present Ham Castle built out of white sandstone. The castle has had many different owners. Its last owner was the De Croix family. Between 1929 and 1940 they let the castle out to an illustrious European family; the Von Habsburg family. From 1929 till 1939 the Austrian Empress Zita, widow of Karl I von Habsburg, Emperor of Austria, and her son Otto von Habsburg resided at the castle and entertained lots of European royalty here.
During WWII the castle was confiscated by the Germans which caused a lot of damage to the castle. The Germans also removed all the roofs and part of the top floor of the castle because of its proximity to the nearby international airport of Brussels; Zaventem.
After the war the castle was sold by the De Croix family to the Belgian state. A large restoration followed. The roofs however were not replaced because of the exact same reasons as why the Germans had removed them. The castle now serves as a site for conferences.

I was lucky to participate in a meeting there

The photo
I didn't have a tripod there - so I try to hold the camera motionless. I took this shoot with my 10-20mm lens in RAW and I corrected the vertical distortion in CS2.

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Additional Photos by Miklos Marczis (MikiM) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 339 W: 70 N: 392] (1924)
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