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Doel, Belgium – A Place That Time Has (Not Quite) Forgotten

November 10, 2015

So when last I left you, I promised a recap of this year’s trip to the Royal Gardens.

Um, yeah…

That didn’t happen.

A whole lot of other stuff did, some of which I might share with you if I get my blogging act together.

For now, here is a photo journey of my walk through (mostly) abandoned Doel, Belgium.

Doel 12

This 700 year old town along the Scheldt River has been scheduled for demolition many times in the 20th century, but protests from the residents and history buffs successfully saved it every time – until 1999.

Most of the residents were bought out by the Port of Antwerp, their houses and businesses scheduled for demolition, and abandoned.

25 Doel residents, however, said “Bite Me!” and have refused to budge. (I may be paraphrasing)

In 2007, a group called Doel 2020 started a campaign to turn the town into a haven for street artists and invited the countries best to decorate the city walls and streets with their work.

The results were impressive, but almost 10 years down the line and most of the original artwork is faded and/or destroyed by less capable artists and hoodlums.

It was strange to see the contrast between the abandoned buildings and those that were meticulously kept up.

I was definitely not brave enough to venture into any of the old spaces. At the end of the day I was glad I took a friend with me.

In a way, it was a lot like visiting a graveyard. Impressive, cool, but more than a little sad due to the loss of life and the impending destruction of 700 years of history.

I’m (not so secretly) rooting for the remaining residents of Doel to keep the bulldozers at bay. Go Doel! Beat Antwerp!

One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on Arklahoma Muse Photography and Design and commented:

    Check out this post from my personal blog page! Travelling way off the beaten path…

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