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

Heers castle in Belgium, which has been sold for 1 euro

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

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

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.

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