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Doel: Belgian ghost town turned city-wide street art gallery
April 19, 2012 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Ghost town in Belgium will lose its street art when it ceases to exist. "For 700 years, Doel stood near Antwerp along the Scheldt River in Belgium. As Antwerp expanded in the 20th century, its port needed more space, and Doel quickly became a target for demolition. Trying to force residents out, the government scheduled demolitions multiple times, but were beaten by popular protests from the 1970s through the 1990s. But despite the will of the people, Doel could not be saved and in 1999, the town was officially scheduled for complete demolition. Since that time, residents have trickled out, but artists have made their way in. As more of the town became abandoned, street artists from across Europe came and began to debut their works around Doel."

Things Magazine had a write-up and photo essay on Doel, a Belgian polder villages that was reclaimed from river Schelde at the beginning of the 17th century.

UrbEx.NL has a short write-up and a black-and-white album of the city in decline.

The global graffiti and street art site Fat Cap has an article from 2010, covering the decline of the city, and how artists embraced the city. Fat Cap also has a gallery of street art in Doel.

On YouTube: art in progress in 2009.

A search for Doel on Flickr, with images of the city in abandon and street art, and a few seemingly unrelated pictures.
posted by filthy light thief (9 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Loads of write ups. It's also fun to just go there directly with Google Street View and have a sniff around. Rich pickings, and a good post, thanks!
posted by stonepharisee at 2:10 PM on April 19, 2012


Lovely. Thank you.
posted by entropone at 2:36 PM on April 19, 2012


Oh my. I used to live in Luchtbal, some 10 km away on the other side of the Schelde. I had no idea there was a town over there. The havens are a truly awesome industrial wasteland; the view from the living room window featured an array of flame-belching towers, flaring off natural gas.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:44 PM on April 19, 2012


And look north of Doel, you get views of the Doel Nuclear Power Station, puffing steam clouds.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:02 PM on April 19, 2012


I'm a huge fan of European-style street art and had never heard of this place. Now I'm sad I won't get to see it before it goes away! Thanks for this post.

It's sort of odd to see all these pieces in an empty, abandoned place. I always love how the works in, say, Paris fit in the context of the living city.
posted by Nelson at 5:20 PM on April 19, 2012


I find it odd I've not heard of this place, much less gone photographing. I was just in Antwerp 2 weeks ago, and I'll be back this summer.

But WHEN is this destruction to take place, and WHEN will access no longer be possible? This is horrible, I don't see any spherical panoramas from there! This situation must be corrected.

I didn't even ever notice there was a there, there. Never went out that direction. Friends and family are all the other directions.
posted by Goofyy at 5:08 AM on April 20, 2012


I don't see any spherical panoramas from there! This situation must be corrected.

If nothing else, there are Google Maps streetviews of the city, taken in 2009. And the city doesn't get fully demo'd until 2020, according to current plans. I wonder if Google will ever implement a "past views" feature for street views, because it'd be interesting to see places that don't exist any more, over what is currently.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:00 AM on April 20, 2012


My partner and I do both spherical panoramas as well as gigapixels. He's Belgian. I think this might be a good place to apply this technology. There are enough people doing sphericals in Belgium, I'm very surprised no one has apparently done Doel.
posted by Goofyy at 7:30 AM on April 20, 2012


Forgotten Glory has some wide photos (2) and panoramas of Doel (2) (plus a gallery of more pics of the ruins of the town), but I'm not seeing any spherical panoramas.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:29 PM on April 25, 2012


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