Originally established in 1949 by a priest as ‘Daiselpark’, this was one of the first theme parks for kids in Belgium. Located in Dadizele, a quaint little village in Western-Flanders and later renamed ‘Dadipark’, the demise of this well known park set in in 2000, after a young boy was seriously injured in the nautic jet – one of its most important attractions. Three years later the park was closed and although many groups are to this day attempting to find investors to reopen it, the city council recently announced that the park will be demolished.
Abandoned windmill annex bowling alley. The original mill was bombed during the Second World War and was reconstructed on the exact same spot once the war ended. Soon after, the mill lost its function and became a gimmicky part of the tavern built right next to it. Over the years, the tavern was transformed into a full-scale bowling alley. Around the turn of the 21st century, a new owner aspired to convert the complex into a casino, but, when the permits weren’t granted, the bowling alley and windmill became abandoned.
Built on the grounds of a former coal mine, the impressive Gartendom was constructed around the turn of the century. Its purpose was to house a large garden exhibition. However, after only two years, this majestic glass and steel structure was abandoned. Nowadays, the only remaining witness of the domes’ former function is the tree growing in its centre. During the years of abandonment, the Gartendom fell pray to vandals, graffiti artists and BMX enthusiasts, who built a BMX course through the inner circle.
The first Solbad, a bathhouse with thermal and medical baths, was built as early as the mid-nineteenth century. It is said that in its heydays, in the 1870s, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche visited the bathhouse more than once. Around 1920, the original Solbad made place for the Art Deco building we can still witness today. In 1977 the bathhouse closed its doors.
Abandoned movie theatre in Belgium. Merely 40 years after its opening, this cinema – which specialized in more artistic films – was forced to close due to a decreasing interest in its non-mainstream programme. Between the modern concrete walls several projectors, film reels and pellicule can still be found.
What started as a cinema with only one room, later on – after it changed hands – expanded to a four-room complex with a grand total of 850 seats. Today, after six years of abandonment, all four rooms have been cleared. Not much is left of the once cosy cinema, except for some derelict velvet cinema chairs (that scream seventies), a few film reels and an occasional movie poster in the entrance hall.
The Officers’ Quarter was built in the 1860s and throughout the course of the following century experienced a tumultuous (political) history. In the beginning, the theatre and concert hall not only featured numerous concerts by renowned philharmonic orchestras but also showcased the crème de la crème of the German acting gild in well-known theatre productions. During this time, the hall was frequently remodeled to comply with ‘modern’ demands – each time involving some of the most talented contemporary architects of the époque. During the Second World War, the Officers’ Quarter hosted many NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)-events and even became the official ‘Kraft durch Freude Concert Hall’. After the war, the Soviets claimed the hall and dubbed it ‘Red Army Hall’; later on, they renamed it to: ‘Soviets’ Officers Club’. In those days, the club featured a cinema, library, restaurant and a discotheque. To symbolize the German-Soviet-friendship, they even placed a giant statue of Lenin in front of the buildings. After the Red Army hed left, the place became abandoned… Lenin’s statue disappeared. Nowadays, this (once) majestic theatre hall is in an advanced state of decay.
The first ‘Wintercircus’, an indoor circus in the city, was built in 1894 by architect Emile De Weerdt. The circus sadly burnt down in 1920. In 1923, it was rebuilt by architect Jules-Pascal Ledoux, to become the concrete ‘Wintercircus’ we know nowadays. The building has a very strange history. The last circus performance took place on 28 may 1944. Afterwards the circus was donated to the city and later on it became a garage. Ghislain Mahy used the circus to house his collection of old timers and classic cars until he left the ‘Wintercircus’ in 1978.