Teval Factory

2013-08-25. Today we visited the ‘Teval Factory’ which is an abandoned factory somewhere in The Netherlands. We had long term plans to visit this factory because it just had to be great for urban exploring. We knew this for a fact because the site had been abandoned for about five years and workers did not get a chance to grab their gear due to contamination of the air. In the past few months we visited the factory almost every week to see if we could find an entrance. Sadly we didn’t have much luck because every door and window was well shut using wood, welds, or concrete. Every time the setback was huge, but today, our luck changed. We walked all the way around the factory and for the first time we found an entrance. I cannot explain how excited we were! As we entered the building with our P3 masks on it became clear we needed all day to capture most of the factory. It was even bigger than we thought! We spent about eight hours inside of the factory and then sneaked our way out. All went well because we didn’t get caught. Even better; I’m now able to share these high dynamic range (HDR) images with you:


The image slider above contains 97 images. You can expand these images to full screen size by clicking the ‘Expand Gallery’ button on top. By clicking the ‘Start Autoplay’ button you can sit back, relax and enjoy the image slideshow. If you are in a hurry you can use the arrowkeys on your keyboard to go to the next or previous image, more quickly. For an even better viewing experience i created a video from our urbex trip to the Teval factory:

Please click on the ‘gear’ icon and change resolution to 1080p and watch in full screen mode for the best
video results. If would you like to hear the music along this video, please power on your speakers.

Roundup:
The Teval factory is an amazing site for urbex photography, but you have to be very lucky to find an entrance. If you manage to find an entrance my advice is to better make use of it, because the day after it could be well shut again. Security is taking their job seriously at this site, probably due to the asbestos and toxic waste that’s literally all over the place. Once you’re inside the only thing you have to worry about is not to get caught on your way out. Also, it’s better not to touch or break stuff due to contamination. Sadly we noticed we weren’t the first to photograph the place and even in this contaminated factory some vandals seemed to have already trashed the place, but it could have been worse. We didn’t find any gravity yet.. If you still want to visit this factory after reading this story and viewing my pictures it’s highly recommended to bring a P3 dust mask. I will not reveal the location of the ‘Teval Factory’, but if you have any story related questions or remarks please leave a comment. Thanks.

General Information:
The ‘Teval Factory’ was founded around 1940. The following years proved their product was a great success. In the golden years they even exported to France and Belgium. Around the year of 1950 more then 400 people had a job at the Teval factory. Most of them lived in a town nearby. Many years passed when suddenly the market collapsed (due to several reasons) which cost many workers their job. In 2005 only 30 workers were active at the Teval factory and a few years later all of them had to immediately leave the building to never return. Dangerous contamination of the air was found cauzed by asbestos, which was provided roughly fifty years ago. The result; production had to be stopped and the Teval factory was filed for bankruptcy. 5 years later the factory still isn’t demolished, but plans have been revealed for a rezoning at this site.

Doel

2013-08-10. Today we visited ‘Doel’ which is an abandoned town in the Flemish province of Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium. It is located near the river the Scheldt, in a polder of the Waasland. It is not a common thing for urban explorers to give away exact locations of their visited sites, but this will be an exception because ‘Doel’ a.k.a. ‘The Doolen’ has been visited by thousands of urbexers and even ‘normal’ tourists.

On 2013-08-09 we drove to Antwerp, Belgium (2.5 hours drive) to visit a friend of us. We could stay at his place all weekend. Antwerp is a very good starting point to visit Doel. We had plans to visit Doel on saturday; the day after, but first it was time to relax a bit and drink some beers in the city. At saturday our alarm went off at 7 AM and we hurried to the bakery to get some breakfast and some food for during the day. We ate our croissants during the drive to Doel which was only 20 minutes away from Antwerp. Along the way we noticed that everything got quieter by degree when we got closer to Doel. While enjoying our surroundings we suddenly arrived. Doel was our goal (which is actually funny because ‘Doel’ means ‘Goal’ in Dutch). As we drove the vast street and looked at the abandoned houses we were wondering if we could infiltrate any of these because they looked well shut. Most of the doors and windows were blocked using wood and we had to be carefull; some of these houses are still inhabited. Anyway, we drove further and parked my car at the parking lot near the old famous windmill to the northern side of Doel. It was now 8 AM and no folks to be seen. Perfect conditions for some urbexing. We grabbed our gear and went to the first house next to the parking lot. No problems for us to enter this building because the doors were open:

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After exploring our first abandoned house we went on to the next one, and so on. We could not enter all of the houses but eventually we’ve managed to see a lot of them from within. Most of the time we had to walk thru the bushes and use a entry on the rear side of a house, because all doors and windows on the street side were shut proper, using wood and nails. Like the images above i captured a few more high dynamic range (HDR) images which i certainly like to share with you:

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Beside HDR images i also captured ‘normal’ images during our drip to Doel:


The image slider above contains 25 images. You can expand these images to full screen size by clicking the ‘Expand Gallery’ button on top. By clicking the ‘Start Autoplay’ button you can sit back, relax and enjoy the image slideshow. If you are in a hurry you can use the arrowkeys on your keyboard to go to the next or previous image, more quickly.

Roundup:
Doel (The Doolen) is a wonderful place to visit for Urban Explorers. We had a great day photographing this abandoned town in Belgium. We found many of the houses were well shut using wood and nails, but often we just had to walk around the building to find a door or window that wasn’t closed, or security had already been breached. Try to visit Doel early in the morning. That’s when it still has the forgotten feel to it. Later during the day you will notice many people are visiting Doel. We even saw tourist busses and groups of cyclists. If you are a beginning urbex photographer maybe this is one of the best sites to start. You can really take your time capturing the images you like and it’s very unlikely to get caught by police or security. Ofcourse entering buildings is not allowed, keep that in mind. When you’re walking thru the town you get the feeling that noone cares anyway, but better be safe. To end this roundup i would like to give you two more tips. One, if you take UE photography seriously take your time! You might need all day to capture everything you like in The Doolen. The second, eat lunch at the old windmill which is located to the north of Doel (on your way to the power plant). The food is absolutely delicious there!

General Information:
The first mention of the village dates from 1267, when “The Doolen” name is first mentioned. Until the 18th century the village was an island surrounded by purposfully flooded land, with the remainder, north of the village, known as “The Drowned Land of Saeftinghe”. The “Eylandt den Doel” is completely surrounded by old seawalls. The dike encloses the hamlets of “Sweet Verge”, “Saftingen”, “Rapenburg” and “Ouden Doel” (Olden Doel). The polder Doel site is unique to Belgium and dates from the Eighty Years War (1568-1648). The typical checkerboard pattern dates from 1614, when these geometric farmlands were first mapped, and they have not changed very much over the years. This fact makes the village a rare example of regional urbanization. The village has many historic buildings, including the oldest stone windmill of the country (1611), and the only windmill on a sea wall. The Baroque Hooghuis (1613) that is associated with the entourage and holdings of the famous 17th century Antwerp painter, Peter Paul Rubens. Some of the other historical and cultural buildings in the town area are the “Reynard Farm” (De Reinaerthoeve), with a monumental farmhouse and barn. “De Doolen” is a historic school. “De Putten”, or “The Wells”, is a peat extraction area and has an historically unique 18th century farmstead and inn site “The Old Hoefyzer”, with one of the last remaining historic barns.

To the north of Doel one can find the Electrabel-owned Nuclear Plant Doel with 4 reactors with a total output of 2,8 GW delivering electricity to customers in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

Doel is threatened with complete demolition due to the future enlargement of the harbour of Antwerp. This has seen many people having to sell their homes to the development corporation of that enlargement. Many historical buildings will be destroyed. According to a news conference and press release from August 20, 2008, “The Flemish Executive started last week with the demolition of the village of Doel on a massive scale. The historic village is situated in the vicinity of the Port of Antwerp. However there are still 200 inhabitants in the village who resist the demolition of their homes. That is the reason why the Flemish Executive resorted to sending a 100 strong squad of riot police to the village in order to force through the start of the demolition works. The sheer brutality and heavy handed approach of the Flemish Executive has left the remaining villagers humiliated and the wider region in a state of shock. The streets are strewn with rubble, big ugly gaps appeared in between the houses. The village now looks like a war torn zone. But still, the villagers show resilience and announced to go on with their resistance in a bid to save their village. An author says in one magazine article concerning the demolition of the village, “The Belgian village of Doel was reclaimed from the river Scheldt at the beginning of the 17th century. Three-hundred years later and the village that would grow behind the sea wall is under threat. The threat comes not from a failing dyke or an unexpectedly sudden rise in water levels, but rather from the expanding Port of Antwerp and its insatiable need for more and more land along the Scheldt in which to grow. Now, Doel, the last of the Belgian polder villages on the banks of the Scheldt near the North Sea, faces possible demolition. The construction of a large dock and container terminal capable of receiving deep-sea ships is already underway on a site immediately next to the village, and the Port Authority proposes building a second one where the village now stands. A memorial to British soldiers killed nearby during World War II was removed from the town square during the early morning hours in 2011, according to a BBC report.

Source: Wikipedia

Maison 1945

2013-08-14. Today we visited ‘Maison 1945’ a.k.a ‘House of the Dolls’ which is an abandoned farm located in the middle of the woods, somewhere in The Netherlands. After an hour and a half drive at first we couldn’t locate the building because of our navigation systems sent us right into the fields. Somehow the street didn’t exist anymore.. In the back of our minds we started to think that maybe we drove this far for nothing, but we wouldn’t give up just yet. After a little sigaret and brainstorm break we decided to drive around the field to see what we would find there. After 15 minutes we entered the forest, ofcourse a good thing because we knew the old farm was located somewhere in the woods. Once we were into the woods i got the feeling we were driving in circles and still no sign of the old farm nor the street we were looking for. Suddenly i saw an unpaved road and said to my friend ‘Shall we try this?’. And so we agreed to drive along on that unpaved road. After a mile or so we found a streetsign that said this unpaved road was actually the street we were looking for! Finally, some good news! Now we had to find Maison 1945; The House of the Dolls. Ofcourse again easier said than done. We had to keep our eyes open while driving the unpaved street and when we got to a corner we were both supprised; We found it!! In the corner, between dense forest, bushes and overgrowth we got a glimpse of Maison 1945! We parked our car and were excited to start taking pictures as soon as possible, because in the meanwhile it was already 20.00 hrs; only two more hours to go before sunset. Making our way thru the bushes the first good view of Maison 1945 was this:

maison1945-1Maison 1945 has the house (right) and stables (left) under one roof.

We decided to move on and took some pics from between the house and stable:

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The roof above us already partly collapsed but i just had to be under it to capture some photographs.

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The image above is the stable which probably has seen better times.

Next we went inside of the farm and two things grabbed our attention. The smell was awfull and the place looked like a dumping ground. It seemed like lots of predecessors have visited Maison 1945 to trash the place, which we (as urban explorers), ofcourse don’t like. Our motto is to leave nothing but footprints and to take nothing but pictures. Other urban explorers already explained on their websites that the place had been trashed, but we just had to see it with our own eyes, but they were absolutely right. Carefully we had to move between all garbage and it was very hard to find a place to setup the camera tripod. We hoped to find some old stuff in Maison 1945 and we did find some, but we also noticed over ten refrigerators and the same amount of tv’s. I quess people from the neighborhood use Maison 1945 also as their dumping ground. For this reason i didn’t capture many images within the building, but i do like to share these with you:

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We had the ability to use the stairs to the first floor, but once we got there we saw nothing than more garbage. The stairs to the attic was gone, but we didn’t bother because we thought it was way too dangerous to enter an already (partly) collapsed attic. In the meanwhile we already had our flashlights on, because the sun had been set. We wanted to capture more images, but due to several circumstances we just couldn’t. Then, it was time to go home. On to the next adventure!

Roundup:
Maison 1945 wasn’t really what we expected, but we are glad to have seen it with our own eyes. Anno 2013 the place has been trashed by vandals and locals seem to use the place as their dumping site. We didn’t find much related to WWII (items which should explain the name ‘Maison 1945’ nor did we find many (only a few) dolls, which should explain the maison’s nickname; ‘House of the Dolls’). The few pictures we took did make the trip worth it, but in our eyes, this place should be left alone. It’s becoming too dangerous and as urban explorer you don’t want to photograph people’s refrigerators and televisions.

General Information:
More information found on the internet will be added in this section soon. It’s nice to have some background information about the site you visited. Sadly i cannot tell if these are facts or fiction. I hope you enjoyed our story and pictures. Please leave a reply if you want. Thanks.