Given the dominating presence of a nearby nuclear facility and its massive twin cooling towers, you’d think that the historic Flemish polder village of Doel was bestowed with ghost town status by way of radiation leakage or something of that sort.
That’s not the case at all as Doel has long been the target of a drawn-out and controversial demolition plan in which villagers have been forced to sell their homes and abandon ship. The reason? The seemingly never-ending enlargement of the Port of Antwerp, already one of Europe’s largest seaports.
An introduction to Kevin Saidler’s photo essay “Bulldozing Belgium” describes the scene in the doomed village: “The atmosphere in the village is bizarre, abnormal: asylum seekers wander aimlessly around the seemingly deserted streets, dumped here by local authorities; an international circus has moved in; small-time construction companies regularly strip vacated houses of anything of any value; weekend disaster tourists descend on the village and approximately 200 squatters have moved in …”
Doel is also known for serving as one gigantic canvas for street artists who have populated the town with aliens, robots and giant rats.