The Surreal Graffiti Left Behind in an Abandoned Village

In the 1990s, the government of Belgium ordered everybody to abandon the small, historic village of Doel to make room for the port of Antwerp. Most residents left unwillingly, and in their wake came a wave of squatters and artists who turned the town into a strange, haunting art installation. Over at Weird Fiction Review, Ann VanderMeer reports on how it happened. We've got a gallery.

Click any image to enlarge.

The Surreal Graffiti Left Behind in an Abandoned Village

Why was the town targeted for destruction? Doel wasn't torn down to make way for the new port — it was claimed by the state as a new nature preserve.

The Surreal Graffiti Left Behind in an Abandoned Village

As VanderMeer explains, Belgian law requires "land set aside for nature to offset the newly-built areas."

The Surreal Graffiti Left Behind in an Abandoned Village

So what you're witnessing here is the transitional state between human habitation and natural reclamation.

The Surreal Graffiti Left Behind in an Abandoned Village

Here is a fairly clear view of a street in the town.

The Surreal Graffiti Left Behind in an Abandoned Village

All photographs courtesy of Ari Kennedy.

See more gorgeous photos via Weird Fiction Review