Skip to main content

Hello. It looks like you’re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best experience possible, please make sure any blockers are switched off and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help you can email us

MONDO EUROPE: €3m Belgian castle sold for €1 after brothers’ feud

The Flemish government has spent €1 on buying a 500-year-old castle that had become derelict because of a feud between the brothers who owned it

Heers castle, which has been sold for 1 euro - Credit: Ebbie/Wikipedia

Viscounts Michel and Ricardo Desmaisières each lived in a separate wing of Heers Castle, near Sint-Truiden, but refused to jointly pay for the upkeep of communal areas, beginning 40 years of decline for the historic property, which their family acquired in 1859.

Its grand ballroom is now known locally as “the hall of the blue buckets” as the brothers preferred to catch drips rather than fix the leaking roof. The heating is broken, some of the ceiling has collapsed and on one celebrated occasion, an architect called to inspect the house fell through a section of the floor.

Though the family were originally asking for €3 million, a court agreed the local government could buy it at a knock-down rate in order to preserve the area’s heritage. It is estimated that repairs to the fabric of the building alone will cost €10 million, and it is hoped that it will then be acquired for use as a tourist attraction.


Residents of Turin who can prove they have suffered economically or psychologically in the pandemic now qualify for a delivery of free ‘light’ cannabis.

Under the JustMary initiative, people with an annual household income of 40,000 euros or less can receive one gram of cannabis once a month, delivered by courier within 45 minutes of an order being placed.

The ‘light’ cannabis has a THC content of 0.49%, compared with 25% and upwards for the cannabis sold at American dispensaries, and is therefore legal in Italy.

Matteo Moretti, JustMary’s CEO, said his company had made over 100 deliveries in their first week, adding: “We really hope to give an evening of serenity”.


A 75-year-old Bavarian beekeeper whose home and hives border Kaufbeuren airbase woke up to find soldiers had installed a 10 x 2.2 metre (32ft 9in x 7ft 2in) wall at the bottom of his garden designed to encourage the insects to fly above the heads of airmen.

Referring to the old East Germany, Ralph Nahm said, “This is like living in the GDR. They aren’t killer bees! It has to go.”

Colonel Marin Langer explained that he had taken the action because the air base’s jogging circuit is “right in the bees’ approach path”. He added: “The federal agencies recommended that a wooden wall be erected so that the bees gain height immediately after leaving the beehive and fly over the heads of the airbase staff there. It is prudent and forward-looking care”.


The finale of Sweden’s version of Strictly Come Dancing was married when one of the judges shouted out an obscene Syrian insult.

The bizarre moment came after singer Anis Don Demina completed his final dance with professional partner Katja Luján Engelholm. Judge Dermot Clemenger told the pair: “I had the honour of working with you in rehearsals last week, and I got to learn a new word: ‘Naknemo’.”

The programme’s press officer Frida Ekberg said Clemenger had no idea that the word translated as “fuck your mother”. Demina lost on a viewer vote to model Filip Lamprecht, whose TV presenter mother Kristin Kaspersen won the series in 2019.


Two Russian schoolgirls have admitted causing a huge fire in Perm 1,200 kilometers east of Moscow, after a TikTok video stunt went wrong.

The girls told authorities they were filming themselves setting light to individual bits of straw when the blaze got out of control. It ended up destroying around 195 tonnes of straw bales.


A nude cyclist in south-east Poland has been fined for not wearing a Covid-19 protective mask.

The 47-year-old was first spotted in the village of Szałas last Wednesday, where he told offices he had undressed because he was hot. He was arrested again in nearby Trzciniec the next day, where he was found to be drunk as well as naked.

Police said the man’s fines for public indecency, being over the alcohol limit while operating a vehicle and being out in public without a mask totalled 950 PLN (£180).


French MPs have complained that the partial lifting of lockdown restrictions means that some swingers clubs can reopen while nightclubs remain shut.

“We know that in these swinger clubs they practice social distancing… that’s why people go there,” joked Philippe Gosselin. Fellow MP Jean Lassalle said it was crazy that sex-themed clubs that serve food were allowed to open while clubs are still closed, adding that the nightclub industry had lost “45,000 jobs and €1.3 billion so far.”

Other complaints about the logic behind the lifting of restrictions in France include the fact that ski lifts are now allowed to operate, weeks after the end of the season, and that amusement parks can now open their doors but are not allowed to let tourists on any of their rides until June 9.