The knights’ castle of Beaufort was built during four different construction periods between 1050 and 1650. Walter from Wiltz was the first lord of Beaufort. After the second half of the 18th century it had been uninhabited for a long time and was used as a quarry by the residents of the surroundings.
Since 1928, the new owner of the castle, Edmond Linckels, started to make large repair and cleaning works in the castle ruins which had been neglected and not inhabited for 300 years and opened it to the public in 1932.
In 1988 the site was classified as an historical monument.
The Renaissance castle was built behind the medieval castle, which is located in the romantic valley of Haupeschbach. Since its construction in 1649, it has served as either the main or secondary residence to its owners. It was never open to the public.
After the death of its last occupant Madame Anne Marie Linckels-Volmer in 2012, the castle, which has been owned by the Luxembourg government since 1981, was opened to the public following the initiative of the Ministry of Culture and with the support of the “Service des Sites et Monuments Nationaux” and the association “Amis des Châteaux de Beaufort”.
The Beaufort Renaissance castle has never suffered any extensive damage and has remained virtually unchanged since it was constructed more than 360 years ago.
The Beaufort Renaissance castle was built by Jean Baron de Beck, an important Luxembourg national who was born in 1588 in Luxembourg-Grund. The son of a riding messenger of the Luxembourg Provincial Council from Saarburg in Lorraine, he came from a humble background and went on to achieve a fantastic military career. Due to his military success and loyal attitude, General Jean Beck received the title of baron from Emperor Ferdinand III on 18 April 1637. Shortly after, he was appointed as commander of all standing troops outside the fortified cities and temporarily took over the civil and military power in the Duchy of Luxembourg. Beck also became civil governor of the Duchy of Luxembourg in January 1642. Until his death in 1648, he was the only Luxembourger to have held this position within the present borders of the country.
In 1639, Beck bought two seigneuries in the Duchy of Luxembourg: Heisdorf and Beaufort.
Beck was an active general and governor. He reinforced and expanded the fortifications of the city of Luxembourg. In 1644, several bastions were created, including the bastion that was later named ‘Beck Bastion’ after him. Today, this site is known as the Place de la Constitution, which is well-known as the location of the “Gëlle Fra” statue.
It is not known exactly when the construction of the Beaufort Renaissance castle started although it is believed to have been after 1643. An inscription on a keystone in the east wing indicates that the construction of the castle was almost complete in 1648, the year of Jean Beck’s death. According to another inscription found next to the Beck-Capelle coat of arms in the western entrance of the castle, construction was completed in 1649.
The Ferraris map dated 1771/78 is the earliest document that shows the approximate outlines of the castle. The four wings, the bridge and the rear garden can also be seen on this map.
Although Beck passed away before the castle was finished, his widow and son saw the construction works through until completion.
Over the next centuries, the castle would be owned by a string of lords and ladies, such as Jean Georges Baron de Beck, Eugène-Albert Baron de Beck, Pierre Coumont, Jean-Théodore-Guillaume Baron de Tornaco de Vervoz, Charles Alexandre Joseph Comte de Liedekerke-Beaufort, Charles and Henri Even and Anne Linckels-Even.
In 1928, new owner Edmond Linckels freed the ruins from their ancient rubble and commissioned many consolidation works, which enabled him to open the castle to the public in 1932. Continuous efforts were made to maintain the castle and its ruins.
In 1930, he started producing a blackcurrant liqueur called “Cassero”, which has become well-known in Luxembourg and is still produced in the castle cellar today. In 1934, Edmond Linckels married Annemarie Volmer, who was born in 1914. She was the daughter of Max Volmer, the then president of the senate chamber at the court of Berlin, and of Marcelle Schwartz, whose grandmother Catherine Anne Even was native to Beaufort. Their son José Linckels, born in 1936, remained unmarried and died in 1989 without an heir.
During the Battle of the Bulge in 1944/45, the new castle was damaged by the impact of shells. Repairs were undertaken shortly after the war. Like most of the inhabitants of Beaufort, the Linckels-Volmer family was evacuated. The castle was occupied by soldiers. At that moment, the castle’s archives were scattered to the wind. After the family’s return in March 1945, it was decided that fresh milk sourced from the herd of cows that belonged to the domain of the castle would be provided to the local children to help them through the days of war. The agricultural domain of the castle was abandoned around 1964 and the lands were leased. Edmond Linckels, who made significant contributions to the development of tourism in his role as president of the Beaufort tourist office, died in 1975.
His widow continued to manage the preservation of the castle and to produce spirits. According to an agreement dated 8 April 1981, which was drafted to secure the preservation of the castle, Madame Linckels transferred her ownership of it, along with the accompanying land, to the Luxembourgish government in exchange for life annuity and right of residence.
Even in advanced age, Annemarie Linckels-Volmer was a vital member of her community. She was an active member of several associations, including the “Amis de l’Ancien Château”, Amipéras (an association for elderly people), the “Amicale” and the local cultural commission. In 2009, the Grand Duke awarded her with the distinction “Officier de l’Ordre de la Couronne grand-ducale de Chêne” for her contribution to tourism.
The preservation and maintenance of the Renaissance castle for future generations was an obvious concern for Madame Linckels-Volmer, her late husband and their employees.
Anne Marie Linckels-Volmer died on 8 August 2012 at the age of 97. After the death of her husband, she acted as the last veritable “chatelaine” of Beaufort for over 37 years. Anne-Marie Linckels-Volmer left “her” castle in perfect condition for the government and the public. All interiors remain as they had been during Madame Linckels-Volmer’s lifetime.