Hidden Belgium: The lost village

Hidden Belgium: The lost village

An abandoned and overgrown church in Antwerp’s port area is all that survives of the lost village of Oosterweel.

Hidden from view in a sunken area of woodland, the mediaeval church can only be reached by scrambling down a muddy embankment.

The church was built for the inhabitants of Oosterweel. The 13th-century village once had more than one thousand inhabitants. Oosterweel gave its name to a sea battle fought in 1567 at the start of the Eighty Years’ War.

But the village disappeared in 1958 when Antwerp port expanded, leaving just this forgotten church, lost in the middle of a vast industrial zone.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.

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