The castle complex is part of the Department of Culture of the Flemish Government. The history of Alden Biesen goes back to the crusades in the 13th century. The German Order of the Teutonic Knights founded the Grand Commandery in 1220. Alden Biesen was the head of a province of the bailiwick of the Teutonic Order. For centuries, the commanders lived at the castle, powerful men who stood at the head of the bailiwick of Biesen. Hence the name: Grand Commandery Alden Biesen.