Is the ghost town of Doel (Spookstad Doel) worth visiting?

The ghost town of Doel (Spookstad Doel) is probably the most known urbexing place, despite it's popularity, is it actually worth visiting?

a photograph of the streets in the ghosttown of doel (spookstad doel). the photograph shows houses and the church

For those that haven’t heard about Doel, here’s a short backstory. The ghost town of Doel is probably one (if not the) of the most known urbex places.  Doel is a town located within the harbor of Antwerp, there are currently around 21 residents still living in the town. In 1972 Doel had a population of ~1300 residents, due to the expansions plans of the harbor of Antwerp, and the construction of a nuclear power plant north of the town, many of those residents moved out and sold their property to the Society for Land and Industrialization Policy of the Linkerscheldeoevergebied (MLSO). Not all residents were willing to give up their home and move out of Doel, which lead to the expansion plans being halted and Doel turning into the “ghost” town it is now.

I have visited Doel once before in 2021 with some friends, so I already know what to expect, but my friends were pretty excited about visiting the town. We arrived at the entrance, which has been replaced/fixed since my last visit. Doel is ‘guarded’ by a moving obstacle in the road. It only opens to a Belgian ID card, which meant that we had to park somewhere beside the road (yay). Once parked, we made our way to the town. All the houses that remain in Doel are blocked off, you can’t go inside. Windows and doors are blocked with steel plates, and sometimes with more wood inside.

a photograph of a building in spookstad doel

Both decay and vandalism have taken over Doel, which leads to some nice pictures. Other than that, there’s nothing to do. You can’t go inside any of the buildings, everything has been blocked off. Although this is not entirely true, you can go inside two buildings and one garage. In those two buildings there’s nothing to see, water has damaged the stairs and upper floors, so you can only explore the empty ground level. The garage, which had a door in 2021, no longer has that door.

a photograph of an abandoned building in the ghost town of doel. the windows are barricaded and ivy has taken over the entire building

It is also good to know that Doel has been/is turning into a commercial place. There’s a restaurant in the windmill, that has always been there. But since a few months there’s also a foodtruck that offers food to all the tourists. You should also know that there are still people living in Doel, there are actual houses that still have residents. These houses have the text “Wij wonen hier”, which translates to “we live here”. So don’t go trespassing on your journey!

So in conclusion, is Doel worth visiting? I mean, it’s a cool place, but to me, it is not worth visiting. There’s nothing to do. Although Doel is one of the few urbex places you can visit legally, it is one of the most boring ones too. There’s steel everywhere, and it’s in the middle of a huge harbor. What does make Doel unique, is the fact that it is next to a nuclear power plant (pretty cool if you ask me). But is it worth the trip? No, you’re way better off visiting a place like Sanatorium du Basil, or exploring your nearby area.