More than 300 people, from Russia to the Philippines passing through Belgium, have applied for a job offering no pay, but with rather sumptuous living arrangements. Several months ago, the Flemish government advertised for a new custodian for Gaasbeek castle in Flemish Brabant province. The castle – more of a stately manor than a fortified structure – stages regular exhibitions. The deadline for applications expired two weeks ago.
The custodian will not receive a salary, but will move into living quarters consisting of a three-bedroom apartment above the main entrance. The duties entail feeding the peacocks and raising and lowering the castle flags. Most importantly, the custodian is forbidden from leaving the castle in the evening and at night.
Despite some onerous conditions (and the lack of a salary) the advertisement sparked much interest. “In total we have heard from around 300 candidates,” said Tom Deschacht of the Flemish government’s department of culture. “98 of those satisfied the selection criteria.”
The village of Gaasbeek, with a population of only 300, is a part of the commune of Lennik, and has been voted one of the 50 prettiest villages in Flanders. The castle itself is situated in a 50-hectare park.