Hasard cheratte (Belgium)

The first shaft of this coalmine was dug in 1850. After an accident in 1877, the mine closed for the first time.

It was reopened thirty years later, in 1907, to remain in operation until 1977.

After the closure, the coal laundry and shaft 2 of the mine were demolished in 1980.

However, after these demolition works, people wondered whether anything should be kept. Shaft 1 was then designated as a monument and the remnants of the mine came into the hands of another owner, who wanted to keep the mine as complete as possible.

However, it died in 2012, after which the mine again came into the hands of the municipality. In the beginning of the 21st century, the ruins of the mine buildings remained.

Remediation of the site and the demolition of a number of buildings started in February 2017 by order of the municipality.

Only shaft 1 with all buildings connected with it, and the bridge over the road, are spared and will be restored.

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Usine justice (Belgium)

This is an abandoned factory where for some reason old cars, buses and otter stuff are left to rust and rot.

This location got this name, because apparently one of the two sons of the (deceised) owner is a lawyer.

A neighbour told us that the location is abandoned since decades and complains about rats. Because of a dispute between the two sons – concerning the legacy of their father – it’s not possible to reconvert this decayed site.

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Universe chapel (Belgium)

This chapel was built in 1855 as part of an orphanage.

The gigantic painting above the entrance would have been hung there in 1863.

Later the orphanage became a hospital, and the site was expanded. This probably explains the somewhat creepy hidden room in the chapel with hospital bed and standing lamps …

In 1933 the chapel, together with the hospital, was adapted and modernized for a last time.

Despite the fact that the chapel has been left abandoned for a while, it still looks beautiful. At this very moment the surrounding buildings are being demolished, but luckily we heard that the original part with the chapel will be saved and eventually renovated.

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ET phone home (Belgium)

The landscape that unfolds in front of you here provides you with a strange sight: on your left – and bang in the middle of the verdant fields – stands a group of satellite dishes which are used to study variations in solar activity.

This station for radio astronomy, which was finished in 1954, has 48 parabolic antennas, each with a 4m diameter and organised in a T-shape.

Initially only observations of the sun with radio telescopes were performed here.

A parabolic antenna of 7.5 meters for measuring the 600MHz (50cm wavelength) radio flux was used, and an interferometer observing the sun at a frequency of 408MHz.

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Halte royale d’ardenne (Belgium)

The name of this former station refers to the castle, which was built in 1874 by King Leopold II.

He wanted to make the area the tourist center of Belgium, and had the castle converted into a luxurious hotel for kings and the rich of the world.

After the construction of a railway in 1896 a special stop was built here to receive guests for the luxury hotel.

From January 1st, 1898, the hotel was operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits.

A tilted turret was erected on a round wall just next to the tracks. The enclosure is in fact the road that leads through the forest to the castle domain, laid out in a circular shape around the turret.

The station was taken out of use in 1919, when the luxury hotel suffered a lot of damage during the First World War and was closed.

In 1921 the hotel was opened again, but the station remained closed for good.

Several buildings of the castle domain were demolished in the 1970s, but the “station building” remained.

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Villa nottebohm (Belgium)

This castle domain of more than 58 hectares was built as an outdoor residence for a family and was inhabited on a regular basis until 1943.

During the Second World War the castle, that was built in the beginning of the last century, was taken into use by the German army.

After the war the family only sporadically came on holiday.

In the 1950s the castle was rented as a hotel and restaurant. Afterwards it was mostly empty.

In the 1980s it was put up for sale, with no result. Years of vacancy caused a neglected state of the exterior and a largely disappeared interior.

In 2016 the famous director Tim Burton saw photos of the castle and asked the family for permission to film his movie ‘Miss peregrine’s home for pecuniair children’ there.

The family refused and eventually that movie was made at another castle domain in the area.

In 2018 the castle in this article was demolished.

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Papier mache (Belgium)

This was a paper factory with a paper mill and two steam engines, situated on a piece of land along a canal.

The factory – which was built in 1860 – would make paper dough with straw as raw material, which would be supplied by ship from the Netherlands via the canal.

Quite quickly, 8 tons of paper dough was produced per day.

A working day lasted about 12 to 14 hours for both men and women. So the owner also had houses built for his workers, founded day and evening schools, and in addition to the ever-expanding factory, he also built a bakery, a crèche and a library for the workers of his factory.

Around 1875 the paper factory produced around 40 tons of paper dough every day, but the war between France and Germany caused a lack of straw.

That’s when the owner started experimenting with coniferous wood. The wood fibers were cooked in a solution of calcium and bisulfite to make paper dough.

In April 2004 the paper mill went into liquidation.

The site became abandoned until 2016, when demolition of the factory – to make space for a housing project – started.

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Piscine crachoir (Belgium)

This is an old urban swimming pool in ‘art nouveau’ style, that first opened in 1924 (after 8 years of construction).

The architect was August Van Haesendonck.

There were originally two entrances, one for men and the other for women.

At the pool there’s a statue of a man who saved more than 30 people from drowning in the city canal after world war 1. Because of this heroic deeds he was offered a job as lifeguard at this swimming pool. He accepted and after his death, the city government immortalized him with the statue.

In the early 80’s I swam there a few times with my father blessed. I remember it as a beautiful location

In 2001 the pool got permanently closed, and became abandoned until 2016 when renovations outside finally started.

The building, which is a protected monument, will be transformed inside into a hotel (without the old pool that will dissapear).

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