Doel – the saddest place in Belgium

Silent protest on the Doel streets

Silent protest on the Doel streets

Earlier this year I went to the free film festival Pluk de Nacht. One night I was there they showed a short documentary about Doel (“Doel leeft” by Tom Fassaert). It’s a little village in Belgium waiting to be demolished completely for the expansion of the Antwerp port. The documentary showed the last inhabitants that were unable or unwilling to move. Pretty depressing and surreal situation which the documentary showed perfectly.

Last weekend I went to Antwerp and via Twitter I was reminded about Doel. Took the car and in the middle of nowhere we found the town. Even more empty than in the documentary, it was a true ghost town. The one nice thing about it was the abundance of (street) art. Luckily I had my DSLR with me so in the short time I was there I quickly shot some pictures. Via a friend I found a great Flickr set of someone who has been there the same day I was. It’s still unclear when the town will be wiped off the map, but if you want to see it for yourself you’ll have to hurry up.

Good advice for hard times

Last week I finally went to London again. Shopping was of course on my list and a visit to my favourite bookstore Waterstones was on it too. I came across a little book with a well-known cover (see picture below) with the famous quote: “Keep Calm and Carry On”. The history of this brilliant quote is pretty cool: it was originally designed as a motivational poster during World War II but never used, only to be discovered 60 years later it turned into an icon.

Lieke 054

The book is full with similarly motivational and cheering quotes, proverbs, mantras and wry truths to help us through the recession (instead of WW II). I wanted to share some quotes yesterday already, but then I took one advise to heart (“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live” – Lin Yutang). Some others worth sharing:

“There is more to  life than increasing its speed” –  Mahatma Gandhi – I’m sometimes guilty of wanting too much too quickly, often blame it on my enthusiasm and getting things done NOW. Some patience never hurt anyone though.

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how” – Friedrich Nietzsche – Luckily I have a lot of things going for me so I never had to ask the question ‘why?’ yet.

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it” – John Steinbeck – True all the way.

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy” – Guillaume Apollinaire – Have been getting better at this lately, feels good. Hope you do too!

A story behind every picture

Cliche, but so true! This idea has inspired Justin McMurray to start pixtories: a website where people can submit their own picture with that special story behind it. There’s only one restriction, the one-liner that accompanies the picture shouldn’t be longer than 140 characters. This is what Justin has to say about it on his weblog:

“It’s based on the idea that everyone has their favourite photos but often the context of a photo – why it’s important or significant – is hidden. It might be a special moment, bring back a certain memory, have personal meaning or just be something you love for some reason. Pixtories is about revealing these stories which are limited to 140 characters to help sharpen your storytelling focus.”

"Ibiza. I was looking for a broom and I found a wedding dress. I couldn't stop laughing. It was a perfect day." Submitted by @saradotdub

"Ibiza. I was looking for a broom and I found a wedding dress. I couldn't stop laughing. It was a perfect day." Submitted by @saradotdub

The picture above is my favourite entry so far. Since I love the project I gave it a go myself. Want to add yours too? You can check the instructions here or send the photo + short story to