Belgium Ghosttown Doel

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Gert Lucas

About this spot
Sometimes ugliness and beauty are very close together. This certainly applies in the case of Doel. This village has been transformed into a ghost village where only a few people live and where an almost surrealist living environment has arisen.

The vacancy that is clearly visible in the village did not arise naturally. It is the result of a decision at the end of the nineties that the port of Antwerp would be further expanded with the Deurganck dock and the Saeftinghe dock. This last dock would go straight through the town of Doel, which should therefore disappear. After a process of voluntary buying out, a situation has arisen in which almost ninety percent of the inhabitants have left and many houses are empty.

The vacant houses are the target of vandalism and natural decay. Houses that are not maintained are ultimately also prey to the forces of nature. Houses have been boarded up to combat vandalism. In some cases, beautiful graffiti has been applied to the buildings. This has not stopped other painters from applying their often less attractive work to walls, doors, shutters and other objects.

The mix of inhabited houses, vacant buildings with graffiti and wasteland as a result of demolition create a special street scene. This naturally attracts quite a few tourists and people who like to photograph. The remaining residents of Doel are not so happy with this attention. They only want one thing and that is to stay in Doel. They continue to fight against the disappearance of their village.

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