The Grand Commandery is founded in 1220 by the German Order of the Teutonic Knights. The territory of this order consists of 12 bailiwicks or provinces. Alden Biesen is established as the headquarters of the bailiwick of Biesen, which consists of 12 subordinate commanderies. Owned by the Grand Commander, Alden Biesen is the showpiece of the bailiwick. The castle estate flourishes from the 16th till the 18th century, when the Grand Commandery develops into the luxurious residence we know today.

The French Revolution of 1789 abruptly ends this period. The Teutonic Order is disbanded and the castle complex is sold at auction. When Guillaume Claes purchases the estate, this is the start of two centuries of private ownership and decay. Following the fire of1971, Alden Biesen becomes the property of the Belgian government and today, the Grand Commandery is an international cultural centre owned by the Flemish Community. 

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Bibliography and library

Over the years, Alden Biesen has built an impressive collection of photographs, books and documents detailing its own history and operation. (Amateur) historians, members of the press and other interested parties can visit our library and multimedia centre in Alden Biesen. Meanwhile, we are working to make all this information available online as well.

Please go to for the current online collection.

Personal information

Alden Biesen

Welcome to Alden Biesen

A magnificent heritage site, an international culture and conference centre and a tourist draw:

The Grand Commandery Alden Biesen has more than one ace up its sleeve. Originally built by the Teutonic Order, it is now one of the largest castle estates of the Euregion.

Alden Biesen falls under the Culture, Youth, Sports and Media department of the Flemish Government.

Discover the history of Alden Biesen

The history of the Grand Commandery Alden Biesen dates back to the 13th century Crusades. In 1190, brave knights founded the German Order of the Teutonic Knights. Alden Biesen was the principal town of a bailiwick or province of this Teutonic Order. For centuries, the castle housed the Grand Commander, a powerful man who governed the province of Biesen. Hence the name: Grand Commandery Alden Biesen.

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