WE are only Temporary guardians of a National Historic Monument
Owning and operating a château that has become a national historic monument means that it's a job that never ends, a labor of love and filled with passion and a sentimental value from our family past and heritage. We try to respect the decisions taken by every previous owner and identify their era, style, taste and vision. Château de Wintrange has a few signature Renaissance details in the building structure, like the diamond shaped stairway windows facing the courtyard. Rather than adding yet another layer of our own taste, we chose to bring out the best of each era. This castle has been evolving over centuries, and has grown in size with additional buildings. Each component has been built according to current techniques, technology and available materials, and can be identified as such. In 2014 we started a collaboration with the National Service for Sites and Monuments in Luxembourg to restore the building to its full glory. Future plans include adding an event space on the property, with the goal of enhancing public use of the space and generating an income to financially support the maintenance and beautification of the property.
In 1938, our grandfather Nicolas Schlesser purchased the château as a run down property at an auction. He restored and rebuilt the building and planted and orchard, selling fruit in Luxembourg city and distilling fruit schnapps, like prune, strawberry, mirabelle, pear, raspberry and other wonderful fruit distillates. We still have a fine collection of grandpa's great bottles down to 1942.
When WWII broke out and our family was evacuated, German soldiers occupied the chateau for 11 months. It was a cold winter, and any wooden furniture and flooring ended up as firewood. Soldiers were freezing, and tried to make ends meet. The château suffered, but structurally survived.
A year later, our family returned to find the château in pieces. The US Army occupied the château soon after, and our family was once again evacuated for nine months. The military left a devastated château and family. Nick Schlesser had a stroke upon his return to the new ruin, and spend the next nine years paralyzed in a wheelchair before a second stoke ended his life in 1952.
His son, Henri Schlesser, then 23 years old took over the renovation and made it his life's work. On his father's deathbed, he promised to never sell the château and to rebuild it to its original glory. A promise he held, and a price he paid. 'He was married to his castle' people still say in the small village of Wintrange. It was true, Henri truly gave his life, time and money to keeping the promise. With age, Henri couldn't work as much anymore, but was too stubborn to pass it on to the next generation. Over the next fifteen years, the castle lay empty and alone, slowly degrading once again. In 2003, Henri's son Philippe pushed ahead to get the roof fixed and completely re-shingled with slate. This move saved the building from rain and decay. In 2010, Henri passed away at age 81 and left the castle to his son Philippe. Being an industrial designer and working in the field of design and architecture, the slow development and renovations of the château could begin under the watchful eye for detail.
Currently, the castle is being redrawn and renovated by Philippe's friend and work partner Jean-Paul Carvalho, who operates Carvalho Architects, and in collaboration with SSMN and the support from our village community and the people of the commune de Schengen.
Proceeds from the rental of the château are used for renovations and upkeep of the property. We try to preserve this National Historical Monument, the heritage of our village and community.