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  • Doel Safari

    Stuck between the second biggest harbour of Europe and a nuclear power plant, Doel is a small town, located next to Antwerpen in Belgium, that lost more than 90% of its inhabitants.

    At the beginning of the year 2000, the storekeepers of this small town started to close their doors, one after one. The reason : the port of Antwerpen is projecting to destroy and sink the village so as to create a new dock to welcome bigger boats. In 2003, the butchery closed, followed by the school, the council and the last bus line. Years after years, the town became more and more isolated from the world, losing more than 90% of its population.

    Inevitably, Doel is regularly vandalized by visitors from Belgium and Holland. It became a no-go-zone attracting people starved of adrenaline. Looting, destruction, fire start, shooting and even rave parties, the last inhabitants have seen everything. After a few years, street artists have tried to bring some life by tagging their art on the walls of the city.

    Doel since became an outstandingly abnormal place, mixing destruction, abandon and street art. So outstanding that it is figuring in the top 10 most photographed places of Belgium. This series is documenting the new type of tourism that was born in Doel and that is not always pleasing the 20 last inhabitants of the town.

    Captions : 


    1: A group of Dutch tourists that came by bus are climbing the Dune of the Escaut, a 350 km long river linking the Antwerp harbour to the north sea. Doel, June 17th 2017.

    2: A familly is having a walk througt the streets of Doel. Metal fences have been installated recently and are closing almost all the houses of Doel.

    3: "Gathering are prohibited". Inside the town, every gathering of more than 3 people are prohibited from 9pm and during the all night. This rule took place so as to avoid the outburst of violence usually taking place once the night has fallen.

    4: Tourists are taking pictures of street art made by Denise, one of the last inhabitant of Doel.

    5: A familly is leaving the ancient school of Doel, one of the last building still open. In the summer, tourists are coming to Doel so as to visit the last open houses.

    6: Sunday 20th of august 2017. The fourth group of motorbikes is entering into the town.

    7: Kelly and Cynthia are posing around Danny and his tuned car in a street of Doel. The three young Dutch are regularly coming to explore the ghost town. Doel, June 17th 2017.

    8: Wheeling in the main street of Doel. The town is overrun by tourists and motobikes in the weekend.

    9: Denise, one of the last inhabitant of Doel, is posing inside her courtyard. She has built up a fence made of broken glass bottles to defend her house from strangers and hooligans.

    10: Tourists are looking for the last open houses.

    11: Photoshoot in the streets of Doel.

    12: Desley de Kool riding his tuned mazda rx8 is looking for the perfect place so as to lm a tuning video clip. Doel, August 19, 2017.

    13: Djino Van Remoorte, a local farmer is visiting the house of marcel, his grandfather. He used to have lunch each sunday in this house when he was a child.

    14: Walk on the Dune. Doel, June 17, 2017.

    15: Main street, sunday afternoon.

    16: Entrance of the town. During the years, di erent solutions had been tested to avoid vandalism. The previous idea was working ne until it broke down. Visitors had to scan their ID so as to enter inside. It’s been month that the device isn’t working.

    17: A young couple is walking in the main street of Doel, between traces of burn, once the night has fallen. Doel, August 20th 2017.

    18: 11pm, a group of visitors are exploring the streets.

    19: Barbecue in the middle of the forest of Doel, less than 1km away from the nuclear power plant. Doel, June 17th, 2017.

    20: Young couple in the vacant lot of Doel.

    21: Rony and his 395 horse power dodge ram, taking care of the security and surveillance of the town. He has no formation but is in contact with local police. Doel, August 20th, 2017.