Barbora Mrackova

Images of Doel.

The village of Doel is a symbol (notoriously known in Belgium) of reckless industrial expansion. Since the seventies, the Port of Antwerp has been persuading the inhabitants of Doel to sell their houses and leave to free the space for a new dock. After decades of evictions, trials, protests, looting and squatting, the dock has never been built. Meanwhile, the number of Doelers has dropped from approximately 900 to mere 25.


While becoming more and more a ghost of a residential area, Doel gained a new unexpected status. It became a unique canvas for countless artists to come and leave their works. The artistic, ephemeral atmosphere made Doel a weekend goal of so-called "ramptoeristen;" people coming to see this spectacular disaster live and catch the bizarre genius loci with their cameras. Some though come to Doel, formerly a decent leisure weekend destination, simply by habit. Meanwhile, life continues inside of few remaining households.


The serie "Images of Doel" was my diploma work on KASK, Belgium, in 2012.

Household of Apers family. Marina Apers is the leading person of the Doel 2020 movement.
Since 90's, the organisation strives for preserving the village and its surroundings.
The banners say (clockwise): "Doel must remain until 2020!!"
"We stay here, we leave only over our dead bodies"
"The village demolishers will be punished by god"
"Political pride endangers economy"
Household of Apers family. Marina Apers is the leading person of the Doel 2020 movement.
Since 90's, the organisation strives for preserving the village and its surroundings.
The banners say (clockwise): "Doel must remain until 2020!!"
"We stay here, we leave only over our dead bodies"
"The village demolishers will be punished by god"
"Political pride endangers economy"

Willem, hobby photographer

Willem, hobby photographer

Seth, trekkie meeting

Seth, trekkie meeting

De Doolen, meeting point of Doelers and their supporters, on early spring Sunday.

De Doolen, meeting point of Doelers and their supporters, on early spring Sunday.

Marina Apers bought and renovated a house in 1991, being assured that no expansion is planned. Her family had a few calm years, then residing had turned into a constant pressure to leave and fear of "less interesting visitors" coming at night. Refusing to leave the place of strong bonds, she became the main voice of residents and keeps fighting for her property and right until now.

Marina Apers bought and renovated a house in 1991, being assured that no expansion is planned. Her family had a few calm years, then residing had turned into a constant pressure to leave and fear of "less interesting visitors" coming at night. Refusing to leave the place of strong bonds, she became the main voice of residents and keeps fighting for her property and right until now.

One of the remaining inhabitants, Peter, sitting with his kids. Peter is a second-wave inhabitant of Doel. He came here during the period when it was extremely easy to find a house and decide to live in it.

One of the remaining inhabitants, Peter, sitting with his kids. Peter is a second-wave inhabitant of Doel. He came here during the period when it was extremely easy to find a house and decide to live in it.

Peter, his daughter and son, Guido, husband of Marina Apers, and Piet, another Doeler, waiting in front of a looted house, guarding it before police arrives. The house is owned by their friend, an elderly man, and Peter is afraid that this is another drop that will convince him to finally leave.

Peter, his daughter and son, Guido, husband of Marina Apers, and Piet, another Doeler, waiting in front of a looted house, guarding it before police arrives. The house is owned by their friend, an elderly man, and Peter is afraid that this is another drop that will convince him to finally leave.

Misel inside of an abandoned primary school, violently penetrated by "tourists" just during that weekend so we could also enter in. 

Misel inside of an abandoned primary school, violently penetrated by "tourists" just during that weekend so we could also enter in. 

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