Het Loonderhof - Tongersesteenweg 23 - 3840 Borgloon -  tel. 012/ 74 11 84  -  info@loonderhof.be



History Borgloon


The history of Borgloon is closely intertwined with the history of Rieneck (N.W. Bavaria) and Lohr am Main in Germany.

The name Borgloon means ‘a castle on a wooded hill’, and is derived from “burcht” (castle) and “loon” (wooded hill).

The territory of the present province of Limburg corresponds to the territory of the ancient county of Loon, which was created in the 10th century and took its origin from the then existing county Hocht (Maasgouw). The cities of Tongeren and Sint Truiden, however, were not part of the Count’s domain. The domain of Horn (near Roermond), however, was part of the territory of Loon.

The first count of Loon was Gislebert. His dynasty reigned for 350 years. The counts of Loon (Fr. Looz > Looza = fruit juice made in Borgloon) were princes of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, and they were liege to the emperor. This means that they were present at the Reichstag (Parliament) every year.

Gislebert’s grandson was called Arnold and he reigned as Arnold I from 1078/79 until 1125/35. He married the only daughter of Gerhard, viscount of Mainz and count of Rieneck. Their male descendants were both count of Loon and of Rieneck.

Arnold I’s great-grandson was undoubtedly the most important prince in the dynasty of Loon. He reigned as Gerard I from 1171 until 1194/97. He also founded the abbey of Herckenrode and took part in the 4th crusade. In Rieneck, however, he was called Gerhard II. He had a heptagonal dungeon built at Rieneck, which resembled the Loon dungeon. All that remains of this dungeon at Borgloon is the hill on which it stood; at Rieneck you can still admire it in all its beauty.

The distance between Borgloon and Rieneck is about 600 km, which made the simultaneous governing of both counties rather difficult.

For this reason, Count Gerard took the decision to divide Rieneck and Borgloon between his two sons. His eldest son, Lodewijk II, was given county Loon, while Gerhard III, the younger son, was given Rieneck.

County Loon ceased to exist as an independent county in 1366, when the last Count, Lodewijk IV, died without children, but the Loon dynasty continued reigning until 1559 or 444 years. Lohr became the administrative capital of Rieneck just as Hasselt became the administrative capital of Loon.

After a short interregnum with Diederik of Heinsberg (cousin of Loderwijk IV 1336-1361), Loon came into the hands of the Prince Bishopric of Liège in 1361.


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