Doel

If the small village of Doel today looks like Pripyat1 or Futaba2, it's not for the same reasons. At least not yet...

Although located close to the very safe3 GDF Suez nuclear power plant (Electrabel is now only a pipe dream), the small Flandrian village is the victim of the voracious appetite of the harbour of Antwerp. Ideally situated on the banks of the Scheldt, Doel should have been wiped out since 30 years to dig a new port basin for the extension of the second largest European harbour. Fortunately, the residents decided to fight it and that is how the town is still there. Deserted, certainly, but not dead yet.
Finally, the village in June 2012 is reclassified in habitat area4. The port expansion will continue but Doel will not be wiped off the map.
The nearby villages of Oosterweel, and Oorderen Wilmarsdonk have been not so lucky...

From 1503 inhabitants in 1960, the population decline to 359 in 2007. At this writing, fewer than a hundred people still wander the streets of the village. During the summer, there are also more tourists than residents.
There is nevertheless still a 17th century mill converted into a restaurant, a small marina, the Hooghuis (1614) and a beautiful neoclassical church.

Between surrealism, feeling of end of the world and tourism, visiting Doel leave a bitter taste.
I was accompanied by Franck, Johan and Bruno.

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Picture of what's remains of the village of Wilmarsdonk...

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The Hooghuis (17th century). Rubens would have stayed there.

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Protected between 1970 and 1995, its future remains uncertain.

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The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (1851-1854), one of the last buildings in good condition.

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An old shack, dominated by the cerberes of the nuclear power station.

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The former town hall.

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The Doel 5, closed recently.

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Contrast between two sources of energy.

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From the harbour's sea wall.

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For a bright future, come to Doel !

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The football field of the village : a billiards !

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Why and by whom is it still maintained ? Many small clubs would like to have such a pitch...

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Sport is health ! ©

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Almost new houses...

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And those, they must also move ?

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To the exit.

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Forbidden or dead end ?

15

August 2012

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Note

  1. City of 49,000 residents built nearby Chernobyl for plant workers. Ghost town today, it'll uninhabitable for several millennia.
  2. Some pictures of one of the many localities evacuated after the disaster of Fukushima.
  3. Following the disaster of Fukushima, stress tests were conducted in 2011 and concluded that the plant was fit for service.
    But, comic detail, cracks (first confirmed, then become "potential") were found in July 2012 on the reactor vessel nr 3. Of course, according to experts, there is never any need to worry.
    We know the story...
  4. Sudpresse Group article (in French).