Sunday, July 06, 2008


It's already more than a year ago that I updated this blog. In the meantime I've been very active though: I've seen a lot of other beautiful locations and took such an amazing amount of photos that I don't have the time anymore to update this blog.
Luckily there are other ways too see my most recent explorations.
Every day (except for holidays) I update my Flickr-photostream, mostly with urbex-pics. They're all organised into collections and sets, they're tagged, their "date taken" is correct, so it's very easy for you to discover them all.
This is the link to my photostream:
An overview of all my urban explorations can be discovered here:
I also have another blog in Dutch, which is more a kind of picture diary, where I also insert my urbex-photos. So if you understand Dutch you can read more information on the urbex-adventures if you want to:

More than a half year ago I switched to a DSLR-cam with 4 lenses (Olympus E-510 + 14-42mm + 40-150mm + macro 35mm + fisheye 8mm, still waiting for the 9-18mm) so my possibilities and experience have expanded. If I may speak for myself I can say that I'm improved, not only in taking pictures but also in processing & editing, and LightRoom (+ the presets I find on Internet) and Photomatix are the ones to honour.

I don't think I will be updating this blog in the near future, but I do have plans for an own website, which will be announced here once ready.

Thanks for watching, commenting, and enjoy all of my pics on !!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

(B) Mechelen, Lorette convent / school


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In 1851 a new monastic order is established under Victor Scheppers, "Zusters van O.L.V. van Barmhartigheid" (Nuns of Our Lady of Charity), or also known as the "Loretten". They move into a convent into the Begijnenstraat in Mechelen.
In 1860 they open an elementary school, which grows into the Lorette-school, with a nursery school, an elementary school and a secondary school.
In the course of years, they also build a home for elderly women.
In the late 20th centry the monastic order extinguishes and the Lorette school ascends into the Scheppersinstituut. The buildings are vacant now.
In 1990 the school is re-used for parttime education until April 2003. (In 2001, some doors were stolen from the Lorette convent, the police found them again at an antiquarian in Mechelen)
Int he years 2000, some project developers got interested in the buildings, but for some it was too expensive, another one wanted it didn't come with the money, and one who bought it found it too hard to keep the protected state of some buildings in account.
From June till September 2005 some archeologists did a first examination of the grounds, before they would start building apartments and a sub-underground parking.
End 2005 it seemed that the renovation and renewal would begin soon; a project developer from Antwerp bought the buildings of the convent and had plans for a living complex with apartments and lofts. Another one took an option on the school buildings.
In March 2007 - still nothing has happened to the buildings - the city of Mechelen asks allowances at the federal government because it wants to participate in the renovation.
Finally, on June 30 of this year, the renovation is subsidized, now it's just waiting till October, when the request for building will hopefully be confirmed.
Then convent will be reconverted into 18 convent lofts.
Three façades of the other buildings must be kept, there they will build 3 houses, and behind that some other new buildings, 2 gardens and a parking...
Will that ever come true? We'll see...


We walked around the buildings, but all the doors were closed and all windows had rolling shutters.
But there was one rolling shutter which was loose. My boyfround lifted it as subtle as possible and discovered that the window behind it was open!
Okay, that could be easy, if it wasn't for the fact that the buildings are in the center of the city, it was nice weather and lots of people were passing by.
Even a group of tourists.
As we stood there waiting till the coast was clear, a local weirdo had seen we were trying to find an entrance and came to talk to us.
He didn't even know what exactly the buildings had served for.
We explained, and he left.
On a pretty safe moment, we got in action: the rolling shutter was lifted and I sneaked in.
It was a real surprise to see that the next one crawling in was not one of my fellow explorers, but the weirdo!
Finally we had all entered, the exploring could begin!
It was almost already the end for me because I stepped right next to a hole in the floor which I hadn't seen...
We decided to have a quick run-through to see what's most interesting, because the place is huge.
But the first floor being discovered, we couldn't keep ourselves in check and started photographing from there.
The weirdo borrowed my flashlight to explore the upper floors.
He came back with some pics he took with his cellphone, we were really impressed ;-)
Then he left - finallly - with some religious books we had found on the floor...
Some time later I experienced the most wonderful and magic moment ever since I've started exploring: I discovered a heavenly hall with arches, orange lit by the sun.
(see photo above)
I got so excited, it was really divine. I yelled my friends to come immediately, before the sun would be gone and the light so much less gorgeous.
To encounter such lovely places and try to catch it in a photo, that's what I do it all for. The hallways in the convent were also beautiful.

What else did I find: a wallet with an identity card, a banc card, a bus card, etc. (lost some weeks ago). Some remains of a papier-mâché dragon. And some seats with a shit-hole.

Unfortunately I ran out of batteries at the end (blame my LCD screen which I use all the time), but I had nearly seen everything.
We left via a door on the other - less visible in public - side, which can only be opened from the inside. A few weeks later I heard that it was closed again - luckily.
The last thing this wonderful place can use are vandals!


Info source:

(B) Mechelen, Predikheren/Dominican monastery

The Dominican Order, or Predikheren is a Catholic religious order, created by Saint Dominic in the early 13th century in France.
In 1736 the Dominicans monastery was built in Mechelen. The west wing, the church of the monastery, was never completed.

In 1796 the French occupiers took the buildings and closed the monastery. The buildings later were sold to a religious group that used the monastery as a home for elderly men.

In 1809 the buildings were used as a military hospital and the church in 1814 as a military arsenal. That's why it's also called the General Delobbe-baracks.

The monastery has kept its military use until 1977. The last 30 years the buildings haven't been used, only some theatre projects were held in the church.


In May 2001 the buildings were sold to a property developer who would build an office complex, but that never happened.
In July 2005 the city of Mechelen bought it back, in order to find a solution to guard the buildings from further decay.

Up till now nothing has happened to the buildings, except for natural decay. Local youth seems to use it as a shelter, too.


It was fairly easy to enter. On the internet I always read that people find an entrance though a cellar window, but we just had to climb upon a bike that was left against a wall, and jump through an open window.
We first entered the church of which the windows were masked with plates, so it was pretty dark in there. Just as we had seen on photos on the internet, we lit small candles at the pillars to have more light and to create some kind of 'special effect'.
But with a cam with a maxium shutter time of 15 seconds, trouble focusing and generating lots of noise in dark areas, I wasn't able to get a good shot... gotta go back when I have a new camera ;-)

Then we wandered through the rest of the building, most lovely was the green hall as you can see in the photo above. Most rooms and halls were dark (all windows are masked), it was a strange experience, thinking of all things that had been going on here in former times.

Finally we entered the huge attic, completely made out of wood and with 'no smoking' texts.
At this point we heard lots of noises downstairs, as if some vandals were busy, eh, vandalising. Quite scary if you ask me, but we went on photographing.

Back downstairs we saw that local youth had been there, eating and drinking and making some mess, but nothing really vandalised. There was still one of them talking into his cellphone, but he and we acted as if it was the most normal thing being there - and in fact, why not.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

(B) Kortrijk, Mobil Oil nv


I don't exactly know what this place was, some refer to it as the custom-house-depot, but looking at the documents and posters inside it was a probably a company called "Mobil Oil NV". And it smells like that too, in the big hangar you still smell the petrol. Being there too long you might get a headache! That raises the supposition that the soil is very polluted.
The place is completely trashed, I guess vandals like to come there to go on the spree.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

(B) Kortrijk, abandoned house in the Sionstraat


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This is an abandoned house next to the O.L.V. van Bijstand-school (see previous post). All the houses and shops in the neighbourhood are left because they will be demolished to build a new huge shopping mall and apartments.

(B) Kortrijk, O.L.V. van Bijstand


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O.L.V. van Bijstand was a school in the center of Kortrijk. Years ago it was closed but still used as part of the art academy. Now it is completely abandoned, just like a convent, an elderly home and some premises in the neighbourhood. A small part of it is already demolished.
On August 1, the complete demolition of all buildings will start to make place for a huge shopping mall and appartments.
A blog about the demolishing and building can be found here:

Sunday, June 03, 2007

(B) Poperinge, O.L.V. Gasthuis


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This building was originally used as a local hospital, "Mariaziekenhuis" until the 1980's. In 1985, it was a temporary accomodation for elderly people who had to move out of their home 'Heilig Hart' because of new standards of fire security. In 1988, the name changed into "O.L.V. Gasthuis".
The building was left in 2004 when the residents could move into a new home on the other side of the street.
On some walls there are children's drawings and prints of children's hands, but I don't know who did this, when or why.
When we visited, the place was already a construction site, because they are renovating it for appartments. Walls were stripped off or broken down, lots of stuff was already gone (but some rooms still look great), only on the attic we found some interesting things and lots of administration. Pity we hadn't found this location earlier.