Not far from the Belgian village of Bohan in the south of the province of Namur, you might stumble upon the remains of Les Dolimarts. This tourist complex was built in the 1950s, its style based on Western tourist resorts, incorporating elements like a self-service restaurant.
The construction of the Les Dolimarts was carried out by the Socialist Mutualities, health insurance funds in Belgium. The purpose behind this resort was for the Socialist Mutualities to be able to offer their customers affordable holidays.
The resort center consisted of several buildings, including a hotel, individual cottages in a distinctive triangular shape, and chalets. One nostalgic blogger remembered them as “superb, comfortable chalets” that were “scattered throughout the forest.” Recreational facilities included a restaurant, several shops, and mini-golf.
The final building to be added to the complex had a large dance hall with a bar and amazing views on one level, and a bowling alley in the basement. There was also a games room which boasted arcade machines.
For children, there was a special playground equipped with swings, sandpit, slides, and other children’s entertainment attractions. It was so family-friendly that many people have fond childhood memories of family holidays here.
Many people came there year after year, which allowed the park to flourish for several decades. Unfortunately, the fortunes of Les Dolimarts soured when a new management team took over. Gradually, Les Dolimarts began suffering from growing debt and fewer visitors.
After nearly fifty years of operation, the resort had become completely unprofitable, and it was closed in 2000. The Belgian government bought the park for 3.1 million euros, planning to turn the former resort into a center for those seeking asylum.
This proposal was made by the then Minister of Social Integration, Johan Vandelanott, in December 2001. However, the plan never progressed beyond the idea stage. Instead, the former tourist center has stood neglected for several years and has been subjected to vandalism.
In 2004, it was discovered that there was a degree of soil pollution after visitors to this abandoned place poured several liters of toxic liquid onto the ground. Severe contamination of the soil was identified, and a proper clean-up cost the state 2.6 million euros.
In 2005, the government managed to sell the property for 220,000 euros, a value that was less than a tenth of what the site originally cost. The new owners did not do anything with the abandoned complex, and in 2007, there was a fire that destroyed the main building, the restaurant, and bowling alley.
Today, the only remaining buildings are the abandoned triangular-shaped white cottages. However, it looks like those won’t be standing much longer either.
In June 2019, approval was given for 50 wood cabins to be built upon the 30-hectare site. Each cabin will be high-quality, unique, and designed according to the immediate environment. It is anticipated that, when the park is completed, it will only take 100 visitors at a time, compared to the 1,000 plus in the heyday of Les Dolimarts.
The plan is to complete the work in stages, building and selling off 15 cabins in each stage. The water and electricity supplies will be completely redone. The investors don’t want to build restaurants or recreation facilities on site. Instead, they hope that guests will take advantage of tourist attractions and facilities in the nearby countryside, supporting local businesses.
The final necessary permits for this project were granted in January 2020, meaning that work should start this year. The first order of business will be to demolish the remaining structures. The new holiday park will be called Les Cabanes des Dolimarts.
The owner of these fantastic photos is an independent videographer and photographer from Belgium: Eric Jaminet. Exploring abandoned buildings and forgotten places is his passion, and he publishes the photos documenting his explorations on his website.
Urbex Vision is a collection of his photos and videos that convey the beauty and atmosphere that Eric has encountered. Visit his site, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact him. In addition to the site, you can follow Eric on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram, where he also shares his experience.
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