Walking around Doel is rather eerie. Most of the inhabitants abandoned the town when the Flemish government announced that they would be demolishing the whole place in order to expand the port.
I’ve never been somewhere with hardly any people, where almost every house has smashed windows and is covered in either impressive street art or regular old graffiti.
It is an incredible place to photograph, I took 395 pictures… don’t worry I’ve narrowed it down and just included my favourites in this post!
I snuck into a few of the abandoned buildings, just to see what it was like inside. It was pretty much as you’d imagine, but looking through some of the broken windows you could see that some people had left without any of their furniture – which I found strange and worrying.
Every now and then I came across a house that was perfectly maintained and obviously still lived in. I think that was what I found the most difficult to take in. I can’t imagine how sad it must be to drive through a ‘ghost town’ to get to your own house. I really don’t know if I would have the strength to protest the demolition of the town and stay in my house for so long.
Doel’s church is still standing and seems to still be operating. There is also a rather lovely graveyard that I walked round, I wonder what will happen to the church and the people buried there if they do go through with the demolition of the town. There seems something rather wrong about moving all the coffins, but leaving them there and building a port all around them, seems even worse.
After a couple of hours of wandering, it was time for some lunch. Right on the edge of Doel, there is a windmill (the irony of the nuclear power plant behind the windmill, isn’t lost on me!) Inside that windmill is De Molen, a brasserie with a nice decor and very reasonable prices, is unfortunately not somewhere I would go back to. I went for the Croque Monsieur, which was I’m afraid very dry and the ‘vegetable salad??’ that accompanied it was straight from a tin. The service was pretty rotten as well.
Dodgy Croque Monsieur aside, I really enjoyed my time in Doel. It is an incredible place. A couple of reports that I’ve read online since, say that it is no longer economically viable for the Flemish government to demolish the town, other reports say that it will be gone by 2020. If you can, you should go and spend some time there, sooner rather than later.