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Thread: Hofstade swimming pool - Belgium - June 2018

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    Default Hofstade swimming pool - Belgium - June 2018


    The history


    The Sport Vlaanderen Centre in Hofstade has a long history. The area was created around a few lakes in the 1920s. Those lakes had formed in the wells that had been left behind by excavation works for the construction of the nearby freight railroad. In 1937 it was decided to completely reorganize the domain and transfer it to the newly established Ministry of Health.



    In 1939, the area opened again, now with a 750 meter long beach with its own beach building, a boathouse with pier and an outdoor swimming pool with locker rooms and a cafeteria.



    The bath and the surrounding buildings were designed by Charles Van Nueten in a sleek and functional modernist style. It was 100 meters by 50 and filled with 7,500 m³ of water. For a long time it was one of the largest open-air baths in Europe.

    In 1955 the swimming pool got a purification plant and a new entrance came. When the complex in 1978, 39 years after the opening, no longer met the hygienic standards, it closed the doors.

    Although the rest of the Bloso area has always remained in use, the swimming complex has been dwindling since the closure. The hard stone edge of the pool was almost completely stolen over the years and the buildings suffered heavily from damp and vandalism. The swimming pool and the surrounding buildings were protected as a monument in 2001 and will be included in the development plan for the Sport Flanders Centre.

    The Explore

    Well this one goes back to 2002 when a group of English Volkswagen enthusiasts, myself being one headed over to the VW Mania car show held in the small town of Hofstade, We drove over in a collection of shiny cars hoping to have a laugh and maybe take home some silverware.

    On arrival we were pointed to our designated “special guest” area, this was back in the days when the English VW Fans didn’t bother to make the effort to go abroad so we were treated as VIP’s.

    Over the course of the weekend, many many funny memories were made, tales of drunken stupor, having to break a friend out of hospital with a broken ankle and no travel insurance and visits to strange Belgians houses to buy rare car parts. We returned the following year but in 2004 the show was moved to another location.

    The site itself was amazing, fake beaches, roads cordoned off as per model of car and in the middle an amazing art deco swimming pool. It got our attention but obviously we were there other reasons.

    Now fast forward 15 years and I find myself planning a euro trip and I start thinking about the great times in Hofstade and wondering if the pool was still there and still derelict.

    A quick google showed it was still there and I managed to dig out the photos above that showed what it was like back when it was in use. Shamelessly stolen from Back in Time .be
    Driving over to Europe in a near empty people carrier had its advantages in the fact I could pack my inflatable kayak. Yup I saw the pool as an opportunity to dick about in the kayak and get some pics from out on the water.

    I’d already made an adaptor up so I could pump it up from a petrol station tyre pump and once inflated I headed off to Hofstade.

    On arrival it was all looking good, the park wasn’t too busy and I could easily see the old art deco pool. I decided to take a wander over and see what the crack was.

    I grabbed the camera and made my way over, Ahhh yeah I’d forgotten that there was a river between the car park and the pool. I walked along and found a bridge over it and headed do the pool, making a mental note that I would either have to carry the kayak around to the bridge or simply float over the shallow river. Yup I chose the latter lol

    Interestingly a building that was in use last time I was there now only appears to be used for storage and had some odd stuff inside lol This was used as the base for the car shows and still had the odd poste up from back then.

    After snapping away for a bit I headed back, chucked my camera in the dry bag and grabbed the kayak. It’s been a while since I used it and I soon go the hang of it again, despite a near capsize on getting it to it lol
    It was great to see this place again, even if it did have a few thousand less cars and people.




    The “storage” building











    The changing rooms











    The pumping house













    The bar






    The art-deco viewing area














  2. Thanks given by: etc100, Hugh Jorgan, HughieD, krela, Locksley, Mearing, oldscrote, psykie, Rubex, Safe Breaker, smiler, sonnet
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  4. #2
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    Seen pics of this place before. Very photogenic and you caught it really well there. Belgium has so much to offer urbex wise.

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    That's a cool story, thanks. :)

  7. Thanks given by: mockney reject
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    Thats lovely.

  9. Thanks given by: mockney reject
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    The art deco viewing building does it for me. I've seen this on other foreign urbex websites but you've seem to include a few more pics which they have missed out.
    When the going gets tough - the tough get going.

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    I imagine the local kids love the place, especially now, Nice One MR, Thanks
    Smiler
    😁

  13. Thanks given by: mockney reject
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    Quote Originally Posted by smiler View Post
    I imagine the local kids love the place, especially now, Nice One MR, Thanks
    The rest of the complex is pretty awesome too

    A man made beach, water skiing lake, bmx track etc etc

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    I've been looking forward to seeing this report! It looks like you had a good few days, great stuff as always.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubex View Post
    I've been looking forward to seeing this report! It looks like you had a good few days, great stuff as always.
    yup and heading back into Europe again soon.....

  18. Thanks given by: Rubex

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