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A frontal view on the castle.
The Castle of the Valley of the Duchess ( ; ) is a former priory situated in the municipality of Auderghemmarker in the Brussels Capital Regionmarker of Belgiummarker. The castle is owned by the Belgian Royal Trust.

Plaque commemorating the Intergovernmental Conference of 1956
It played an important role as a venue for negotiations in Belgianmarker and European politics after World War II. In 1956, Paul Henri Spaak lead the Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom at the castle, which prepared the Treaties of Rome in 1957 and the foundation of the European Economic Community and Euratom in 1958. The first formal meeting of the Hallstein Commission, the first European Commissionmarker, under the presidency of Walter Hallstein, was held on 16 January 1958 at the castle.

More recently, it has twice hosted the Belgo-British Conference, in 2002 and 2006.

History

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The priory for women was founded in 1262 by duchess Alice of Burgundy, widow of Henry III, Duke of Brabant. "Duchess Alice" gave her name to the place "Val Duchesse" or "Hertoginnedal" (=Valley of the Duchess). According to the legend Aleydis was inspired by Saint Thomas of Aquin who is said to have been a guest at Val Duchesse. It was the first priory for women in the Low Countries that followed the rule of Saint Dominic and was generously donated by Aleydis and other noble ladies. According to her wish Aleydis' heart was interred at a mausoleum today disappeared.

The priory further flourished and gained considerable wealth thanks to the generous gifts of numerous royal persons and noble families. In 1650 a wall was erected to protect the diverse edifices of the priory. The present-day castle was built as a residence for the prioress in 1780.

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