THE COCKERILL CASTLE
Traces of a first fortress on the site of the Seraing Château were cited as far back as the 11th century (1082) in chronicles, but it is not known at exactly which period the first stones were laid. From the 14th century, the Chateau was used as a summer residence by the Bishop-Princes of Liège. Its current appearance is the result of work carried out by Georges-Louis de Berghes in 1730 and continued by his successors Jean-Théodore de Bavière and François Charles de Velbruck. It forms part of a classical architectural style, inspired and characterized by symmetry, simple lines, equilibrium, the soberness of the decor and a hierarchical design. Public property following the Liège revolution, it becomes a military hospital before being left virtually abandoned. In 1817 it is sold by William of Orange, King of the Netherlands, to the brothers John and James Cockerill. The site thus becomes the heart of the vast project of John Cockerill.
On April 23rd 1980, this former palace of the Princes of Liège was listed by Royal Decree as a historic monument, while its surrounds also became a protected site. In 1983 the site became the headquarters of the CMI Group and since 1998 the buildings and surrounds have undergone many layout works with a view to improving the working environment while retaining the historic architectural elements.
In 2013 the John Cockerill Group (ex-CMI) enlarged its headquarters through increasing the size of its administrative and technical offices by transforming a former industrial hall. The complex which resulted from this new building – the Orangerie – and the Chateau, now accommodate almost 600 persons and are equipped with the functionalities expected of an expanding international group. This extension renders the Group’s activities sustainable over time along with its roots in Wallonia, while retaining the exceptional character of this place marked by history.
But the complex comprising the Chateau, Orangerie and Park is more than just the headquarters of an expanding international group. It is a call to discover history and to an astonishing capacity for innovation, constantly renewing itself and born 200 years ago in the valley of the Meuse.
Upon request, the Cockerill Chateau accommodates various company and institutional events (but not private). Under certain conditions, the premises can be ‘rented’. Organizing an event in the Cockerill Chateau is synonymous with walking into your history, sharing the commitment of the John Cockerill Foundation and contributing to social action.