Deserted streets, abandoned houses, a surreal landscape that looks like a movie set. A half-hour drive from Antwerp or by ferry from a small harbour of the village of Lillo you can reach Doel, a Belgian ghost town.
Medieval origins, Doel was founded in the sixteenth century, and has the oldest mill in Belgium that dates back to 1611. Till the ‘70s, about 1300 inhabitants have lived here working essentially as farmers. Around 1970 the construction of the nuclear plant started, which clearly fueled the first exodus from the town. For those who over the years chose to live with 4 reactors by the side of their home, bad news came in 2008, when local authorities chose Doel for the extension project of Antwerp’s harbour. Many people left their small town to its fate while the few remaining began legal action which at the moment has led to a lockout.
Doel is now nicknamed the “ghost town”, it is emptied, without life, there are only a few elderly people who have no intention of abandoning their home, a bar and a restaurant for those who pass by to savor the soul of a place so empty but rich in color.
Street artists from all over the world have chosen Doel to give life to their work. The desolation and freedom of action have allowed this small town to be colored with dreams, art, ideas and cry of protest. The subjects and tags are various, one can recognized artists such as Roa, Bue, LastPlak, Rest, Anton, Eyes, Fyuz, Jiem, Noteen and many more, all in search of walls and give them a soul.
Time will take away this unique place erasing its history but leaving an indelible mark in the photos and the memory of those who had the luck and the curiosity to visit it.
pictures via Ekosystem.org