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Ghost Town Doel

Ghost Town Doel

20 years of exodus from the ghost village of Doel

The polder village of Doel is located on the left bank of the river Scheldt and is surrounded by the Doel nuclear power plant and the Deurganck container dock that was put into use in 2005.

In 1998, the government decided that the harbor village had to disappear to make place for the port of Antwerp. Immediately, an exodus began. Of the hundreds of residents of Doel, only about twenty remained living there. The village school and library were closed down, the gas station dried up and one shop after another closed its doors.


Dozens of terraced houses and villas in the Engelssteenweg, the Havenweg and elsewhere became vacant and, over the years, were hidden under thick layers of graffiti. In 2008, the government started demolishing many empty houses to stop the nuisance.

Not longer a ghost town?

The planned construction of the Saeftingh dock cast a new shadow over the village, but after twenty years of incertitude, Doel seems to have been saved. In a new, alternative scenario for the expansion of the port, Doel can and may remain, as became apparent in 2018.

In the same year, the first baby in 12 years was born in Doel. The birth of baby Rover could hardly be more symbolic. But that did not make Doel the lively village it once was. In 2023, Doel 5, the last pub in the municipality, closed its doors. On the other hand, fifteen abandoned homes are being renovated so new residents can find their way to Doel.

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