The vanishing village

Doel is a 700-year old Belgian village in the polder aside the river Schelde, Sandwiched between the Antwerp container port and a nuclear power plant.

The expanding port threatens the village from the 1970s on. Hereby sacrificing local rural communities and heritage (farms, villages and landscape) to industrial interests in an area of about 15 km2. Today the destruction of Doel and its polders for the expansion of the harbour is economically not viable. Village and polder are designated as residential and agrarian area with historical value. The government did everything to leave the properties they acquired susceptible to decay and plunder. Meanwhile the town has been transformed into a post-apocalyptic artistic paradise thanks to the murals covering each and every building.

Today, there are only about 15 inhabitants left. Bart is one of the few remainders left and during his daily stroll around the abandoned streets he takes care of the many stray cats that are left behind. Despite these people’s stubborn refusal to leave, the government plans to continue with demolition, at which point all traces of Doel, from residents’ homes to the living street art, will be lost forever.

(Click on one of the images to start slideshow)