The Castle of Gaasbeek, today a national museum, is located in the municipality of Lennik, near Brussels, in the province of Vlaams Brabant, Belgium.
The first fortified castle was erected around 1240 as an outpost for the defense of the city of Brussels and the Duchy of Brabant which found itself menaced by nearby principalities such as the County of Hainaut and the County of Flanders. However in 1388 the Castle was destroyed by the troops of the city of Brussels in revenge for the assassination (commanded by the Lord of Gaasbeek) of Everard 't Serclaes.
At the beginning of the 16th century the Horne family constructed a brick castle on the ruins of the medieval fortress. In 1565 Lamoral, Count of Egmont acquiered the castle and its domain, including 17 villages. The new Lord of Gaasbeek was very unfortunate as he was decapitated three years later, accused of high treason by Philip II of Spain.
In the following centuries the castle was inhabited by different noble families. It obtained its present-day romantic look during a renovation in the years 1887-1898 executed by the architect Charle Albert by order of the Marquess d'Arconati Visconti who owned the castle at the time. His widow Marie Peyrat offered the castle, its collections and its domain to the Belgian State after her death in 1922.
Since 1980 the castle has been owned by the Flemish community (Vlaamse Gemeenschap). The castle contains important art collections housed in lavishly decorated historical rooms. A particular piece of the collection is the authentic testament of the painter Rubens.
The castle and its domain (a park of 50 hectares or 124 acres) are open to the public.