A Vibrant Community Life in Doel in the 1950 and 1960's.

A journey through the leisure clubs and society life of Doel based on authentic testimonials from former residents.

celebration of the centanary of the monastery of Doel (1954-06-13)Gemeente Beveren

Village society

The village was a close-knit community, kept alive by various clubs and societies. These clubs organized various events, thereby strengthening the village community bounds.

celebration of the centanary of the monastery of Doel (1954-06-13)Gemeente Beveren


Numerous events were organized in Doel: markets, annual fairs, the eel parties and processions. These events were organized by local associations such as the National Guild and the local brass band.

Map of Doel with bars, hotels and brewerys by unknownGemeente Beveren


Associations such as the local brass band had separate club rooms, often set up on their own. These associations had a permanent bar, for example De Sportvriend, which served as a meeting place for various clubs and societies.

café the sportfriend in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren

Café the Sportfriend

The local pub 'De Sportfriend' was managed by the Adriaansens family for five generations. It was a meeting place for numerous associations such as the Pigeon Association and the Knalclub.

Pigeon society in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren

Pigeon association

Doel also had a Pigeon Association. Their club room was pub 'De Sportvriend'. Photo around 1988 in room Saxonia.

Music choir in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren

Local brass band

The local brass band participated in the annual funfair and accompanying procession. They rehearsed on Saturday in a small room called 'at Keul'. In the 1960's the marching band was led by postman ‘Specht’, who was also the sacristan of the Doel church.

The Scheldt Consecration of 1994 (1994-08-07) by Albert CleirenOriginal Source: De Wase Koerier

Skippers' guild

The skippers' guild was founded in 1860 as a form of mutual social assistance for the various skippers during the cholera epidemic of that time. Later, they became very active in the organisation of various village festivities. 

Farms in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren

Agricultural village

Doel was an agricultural village, which had a large number of institutions and societies associated with the profession of farmer such as the Lady Farmers  Association (Boerinnenbond) and  the National Farmers Guild (Landelijke Gilde).

Farm of Van Mieghem in the village Doel by Onbekende fotograafGemeente Beveren

Van Mieghem farm

One of the larger farms was the Van Mieghem farm on the English Steenweg. The Van Mieghems were the first in Doel to breed the Belgian White-Blue breed in the 1960s

Bond of women farmers in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren


The Lady Farmers Association (Boerinnenbond) was a Catholic women's association. The association was founded in Doel in the 1930's. The last members still meet regularly at the mill of Doel, a local restaurant.

Bond of young farmers in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren

Farmers' children

The farmers' children had their own association, the Farmers Youth Association (BJB). From 1965 this would be called the KLJ. The BJB was an association for young people from the age of 16. 

Youth organization Chiro in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren


Doel also had an active Chiro, with members recruited from the local middle class. They built their own club room. The clubroom was located on the Engelsesteenweg.

Village festival in Doel (2021-06-02) by unknownGemeente Beveren


Some festivities in Doel arose as a form of political protest in response to the threat of Doel due tot the Antwerp harbor extension. 

Funfair in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren


The annual funfair was a four-day celebration on the first Sunday of July. The fair stalls and the mill of Doel opened on Sunday. On Monday people commemorated the deceased, on Wednesday the annual market was organised.

Party of eel in the bar Saxonia in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren

The Eel Festival

The Eel Festival (Palingfeesten) took place on Ascension Day. During this period, the festivity participants, both villagers and tourists, ate kilos of eel in the local pub 'Saxonia'.

Blessing of the river Scheldt in the village Doel in 1978 by unknownGemeente Beveren

Scheldt ordination festival

In the 1970's the village community started with the Scheldt ordination festival to show that the village was very alive and well. These actions were largely supported by local associations such as the National Farmers Guild (Landelijke Gilde). 

Society of Doel actually by unknownGemeente Beveren


In the 1950s Doel was a polder village with a lively community that lived, lived and worked there. Now Doel is a community of which only a few have known village life in Doel, but of which everyone knows the village. Some associations still come together in the polder village, such as the members of the Boerinnenbond.

Credits: Story

This story is the result of an educational program of the University of Antwerp (UA), the Community Service Learning (CSL), in collaboration with the municipality of Beveren. This story was elaborated by history student Rik Lundström.  

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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