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The history of the Teaching Hotel Château Bethlehem is a story that covers centuries, various owners and a variety of different users. 

1200 to 1700

The history of the present Château Bethlehem extends far back in time. It was mentioned as early as the 13th century as ‘Linmale’. In 1284, it was acquired by Jan, the Count of Brabant. Over the following centuries, it changed owner several times until it came into the possession of the Order of German Knights in the 16th century. They restored the building but the castle lost its status when they departed. From 1585 onwards, it was simply referred to as ‘Linmale farmstead’.

1700 to 1950

In the 17th century, three wings were constructed around courtyard – the present centre of Château Bethlehem. In the 19th century, Louis Beguin built a new residence in front of the farm building which in those days was called the ‘palace’. The castle was then purchased by the Bettonville family who built a small tower onto it in 1865. This is a copy of the tower of the neighbouring Jeruzalem castle. Not only one of the towers was taken from this neighbouring castle; the name ‘Bethlehem Castle’ was also borrowed from Jeruzalem Castle.

In fact, the name still remains a riddle for many visitors. It was first named as such in the 17th century after the owner of the neighbouring Jeruzalem Castle returned from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In memory of his journey, he renamed his castle ‘Jeruzalem Castle’. Inspired by his neighbour, the owner of Linmale Castle decided to rename his property ‘Bethlehem’. The years passed. The last owner in this period was a member of the Regout-Stevens family, who were well-known entrepreneurs in Maastricht. He used the castle as a private residence.

1950 to 2010

The condition of the castle worsened and, when the hotel school bought it in 1953, it was in a very dilapidated state. It was rebuilt as accommodation for students, for which, initially, only the former ‘palace’ was used. As the number of students grew, all of the wings were restored one by one.

In 1971, the well-known Maastricht architect Jean Huysmans was approached and various changes were made to the outside of the castle. The interiors of the three barn and stable wings were also modified so that people could stay there and they could be used by the hotel school. The castle underwent some startling changes. Living and sleeping accommodation was created in the farmhouse, the dairy became a wine cellar and the hayloft was transformed into a bar. Moreover, the stable became a TV room, the pigsty was converted into a kitchen and a restaurant was built in the former coach-house.

This situation lasted until the middle of the nineteen-eighties, after which the entire castle was converted into offices. In 2008, the teaching staff moved to a new office building and a start was made on the Teaching Hotel concept.

2010 to now

In 2010, the Teaching Hotel opened its doors.  Château Bethlehem had been transformed into an impressive hotel with 26 rooms, a bar, a restaurant (the old lecture hall) and various meeting rooms. In the restaurant, the ceiling painting by the artist Daan Wildschut has been retained. Authentic features and modern design now go hand in hand and lend the Teaching Hotel its special atmosphere. Present and past have been united and the castle is now entirely ready for a new period in its history.

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