A Town In Limbo – Doel, Belgium

For frequent travelers or photographers – anything abandoned is beautiful. And Doel, Belgium is a perfect example of that…if that quote read “anything HALF abandoned is beautiful”.

Doel is an interesting place to visit because there are abandoned, ruined houses next door to a 5 story with a BMW in the drive. It’s been this way for a little over a decade and there isn’t much talk of it changing.

WHAT IS THIS PLACE? 

In the early 2000s, the original orders to bull-doze the town were given in order to expand the harbor and make room for more ports and factories. This is a heavily factorized area, with the Doel Nuclear Power Plant being visible from the center of town.

Due to some of the residents refusing to leave and some hesitation on expanding the harbor, the demolition was postponed. And postponed. And postponed.

Now, the little town (which is still home to an estimated 23 families, is also home to amazing street art and graffiti painted by hundreds of people from all over the world.

 

The artwork is insanely creative, unique and sometimes even inspiring.

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If you’re a photographer (or in my case, a photographer-wannabe), it’s seriously the perfect place to test your shooting and editing skills! 😉

 

For a town that’s confused and confusing, Doel has quite the following. People flock there by ferry every Sunday and enjoy drinks in the only two cafes that are open in the whole town.

 

GETTING THERE AND WHAT TO DO:

The town still has two cafes that are running, as well as their rather prestigious cat-hotel. It’s a little kitty door in the building, labeled “Cat Hotel” and the cats love it – watch the video to witness the cuteness overload!

(PS, this is why BELGIAN MEN ARE THE BEST. Seriously. Who did this, because it’s cute AF).

Getting there is relatively easy using a GPS and the name “Doel” (may show as Doel Beveren), and there are many signs pointing the way. If you’re in a heavy industry area – you’re getting closer!

 

UPDATE AS OF SEPTEMBER 2017: 

We have recently revisited Doel, and there are now shutter gates on most (or all) of the housing windows and doors, as (we assume) there was a lot of trespassing going on. And usually, as we saw on our previous visits, the police were being fairly lenient when people were being respectful of the homes, but due to people breaking windows and leaving garbage around, they’ve bordered everything up.

PSA: Trespassing is illegal. Don’t do it.

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………that’s totally NOT how we got the photos below during a tour of the town in 2015…. 😉 (shh!)

 

I definitely am a supporter of keeping this town (and it’s amazing street art) around for years to come!

(All photos in this post are original, and are property of Travel Pray Love.)

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Replies to “A Town In Limbo – Doel, Belgium

  1. I’ve lived in Belgium for 20 years (basically all my life) and have never been there! Why have I never been there?! Now I left again but i’ll be back in January.
    Great post and great pictures! Also great to see that there are non-Belgian travel bloggers in Belgium! How do you like living there?

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