POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Red Cross selling off Birtrange castle



Birtrange castle, pictured, is set in a 85-hectare park in the north-central region of Luxembourg Luxembourg Red Cross

Birtrange castle, pictured, is set in a 85-hectare park in the north-central region of Luxembourg Luxembourg Red Cross

The Red Cross has put Birtrange castle on the market the proceeds of which will be used for a new site for the not for profit's operations. Bids start at €5.2m.

The property, straddling the communes of Schieren, Ettelbruck and Colmar-Berg in the centre-north, was bequeathed to the NGO by Baroness Claudine de Broqueville, who died in January 2018.

The land spans some 85 hectares and includes the castle, which has classical monument status, outbuildings, pastures and woodland.

The first foundations date back to the thirteenth century but its current form can be dated to 1775. In 1813, the property was acquired by the wealthy Blochausen family, from which Félix de Blochausen, Luxembourg’s prime minister from 1874 to 1885, hailed.

In 1935, the estate became the property of the de Broqueville family, including Charles de Broqueville, who was Prime Minister of Belgium from 1911 to 1918 and again between 1932 and 1934.

During the Second World War, the American army installed troops at the castle, and its walls still bear some written traces from this time.

After the war, the castle the de Broqueville family continued to reside at the castle. It has been empty since 2002 and today requires major renovation work.

“This is one of the largest private domains in Luxembourg,” said Michel Simonis, director of the Luxembourg Red Cross.

The site has been empty since 2002 and its buildings will require considerable renovation work. Photo: Luxembourg Red Cross.

“It is an object of unique interest in Luxembourg. Unfortunately, the state of the castle does not allow us to consider setting up our activities there. The investment to do so would be far too large and unsuitable for our missions.”

Simonis said the state had expressed an interest in buying the woodland but that would breach the conditions of sale imposed by the will, which insists the estate be sold intact.

The Red Cross was open to offers from consortiums of buyers, however.

The NGO will receive two thirds of the proceeds of the sale and one third will go to Claudine de Broqueville’s legal heirs. “The money from the sale that goes to the Luxembourg Red Cross will be reinvested”, Simoni said. “We plan to bring all our teams together on a single site. The sale of the château will therefore be used to partially finance our move to a new headquarters for which we have launched a call for ideas in 2018 and which should be finalized in the coming months.”

Interested parties have until Friday, 12 March at 5 pm to make a sealed bid offer to Maitre Blanche Moutrier, notary in Esch-sur-Alzette. Visits to the site can be organised upon request.

This article was originally published on Paperjam.lu in French