The Flemish Brabant province of Zemst is all set to witness an exciting cultural spectacle as Rubens Castle, also known as Het Steen or the Castle of Elewijt, opens its gates to the public August 1st, for the highly anticipated Stories Unfold festival.
Stories Unfol” comes as the culmination of Tourism Flanders’ efforts to revitalize the historic property, which was acquired in 2019 from a private owner. An initiative by EventFlanders and Tourism Flanders, the project promises a vibrant blend of activities, workshops, and experiences, embracing art and community spirit, aimed at showcasing the region’s castle and garden estates. “
From an international perspective, Stories Unfold is a unique project that will undoubtedly reinforce the ambitions that Visit Flanders has with Flemish country estates.Peter De Wilde, CEO Tourism Flanders
Until October 29th, the castle, once the residence and workspace of the renowned Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, will transform into a cultural hub. “We have drawn up a plan for the future, listening to the ideas of people from Zemst and far beyond. Most of it has already been decided, but for the last 10 per cent we want this festival to give us an insight into how the site can be used in the future,” said Kristof Lataire, the project manager. “We want to attract both local and international visitors”, he added.
For 6 days a week, over the next three months, there will be a range of experiences on the premises, from cultural activities such as concerts, films, art exhibitions, theatre and dance, to food experiences, overnight stays, lectures, workshops and projects from the local community. Visitors will also have to opportunity to explore a local shop and arts and crafts centre, as well as attend yoga sessions. Additionally, captivating falconry demonstrations will showcase the art of handling these majestic birds.
Notably, the allure of Rubens Castle extends beyond daylight hours. Festival-goers can indulge in a unique overnight experience by booking a stay in the Rubens suite via Airbnb. A night for two costs 152 euros, including breakfast.
“Our Flemish estates have a lot to offer. This unique project is an excellent incentive to think further about their appreciation and upgrading”, expressed Flemish Heritage Minister Matthias Diependaele. With an eye on the future, Tourism Flanders aims to make ‘Stories Unfold’ a recurring event, held every two years.