Trading in the Village of Doel in the 1950's and 1960's.

Testimonials from former inhabitants of Doel about daily life and local businesses in their village

Stores and shops in the village Doel in the fifty's by unknownGemeente Beveren

Nice village

Doel was alive

The village of 1500 inhabitants counted about 30 hotels, restaurants and cafés and as many shops and trades. Villagers, farmers, tourists and resident of the nearby Lillo did their shopping there.

Flandria boat in the port of DoelGemeente Beveren

modern time

We had everything there.

The people of Doel could acquire everything they needed in the village. Everyone knew each other and shops were often meeting places.

Achterstraatje or Dijkstraat in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren

Social differences

The less privileged people lived in the so called Backstreet, farmers and notables were the richest. They all visited the shops. Some people had to by on credit because of financial needs. 

Farmhouse "De Vleeschouwer" in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren

to get milk


There were many farms at the sides of the village, but also in the center. At some farms people could buy fresh milk or vegetables. 

Grain mill in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren

grain mill

The milling-business

The grinder went to pick up the grain at the farms. He grinded it and delivered the flour to the bakers. He also was a farmer himself. 

Baker Smet in the Pastorijstraat in the village Doel (green shed) by unknownGemeente Beveren

three bakers


There were three bakeries in Doel. They also sold groceries, ice cream and pastry. Several bakers from outside the village delivered in Doel as well.

Grocery Matilleke in the Pastorijstraat in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren


Grocery stores

There were several grocery stores. They sold fruit and vegetables, meat, clothing, textiles, yarn, ornamentals, medicines, … Children liked them the most because of their candies.

Picture postcard of the Molenstraat by UnknownGemeente Beveren


Several traders combined businesses:
a grocer with farmer utilities,
one with a taxi company, cafés combined with hair dressers, farmers, coal merchants, traders in fish, vegetables and flowers.

Butcher "De Keulenaar" on the corner of the Pastorijstraat and the VissersstraatGemeente Beveren



There were two butcheries, one of which was also a café.
Customers could await their order there or in a pub elsewhere. Some people bought animals directly at the farm, to slaughter themselves at home. 

Sale of shrimps on a fishing boat in the village Doel (1985) by Gerry SmetGemeente Beveren

fishing boats

Fish traders

The river Scheldt has always been an important part of Doel.
At the quay one could buy fish and shrimps straight form the fishing boats. In the village was a fish trader with a shop as well.

Shoe shop "Florke De Smit" (blue front) in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren

Shoe store Florken

Shoes and clothes

There were two shoemakers. One mainly sold shoes, the other one slippers. Different stores had textiles and clothing. People could buy fabrics or have their clothes made.

Painters shop D'Hamers (signboard Gallic) in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren

Paint shop

Paint shop

To decorate the house, one could go to the paint shop to buy paint, wall paper or materials or let the painter come over to do the house.

Furniture store Josefa Driessens on the corner of the Pastorijstraat and Kloosterstraat in Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren

Furniture store

The house could be decorated with furniture or a kitchen bought by the local furniture store.
In wintertime, around the period of Santa Claus, the shop sold toys as well.

village of Doel by UnknownGemeente Beveren


Forges and electro

There were two electricians and three forges in the village. Clients could buy there bicycles, heaters, household appliances, horseshoes and even gasoline. They also could order a plumbing job.

village of DoelGemeente Beveren

Doel had it all

A transporter with horse and carriage, a liquor store, a soup merchant, a photographer, a telephone centre, a bus company, timbers, builders, hair dressers, bankers and a car sales man: Doel had them all. 

Kerkstraat or present Camermanstraat in the village Doel by unknownGemeente Beveren


Most stores were named after their exploiters. Many shops were held by spouses or siblings. Often, the children took over the business from their parents.  atmosphere in Doel remained always friendly.  They all sat and drank together in the local pubs in the village.

Photograph of the mill viewed from the dike (1950/1999) by UnknownGemeente Beveren


In the 1960’s stores generally grew bigger. Small businesses slowly vanished. Due to a building stop from 1965 to 1978 and expropriation, many trades could not survive.

Electro shop of Charel Kimpe and Marcella van den KeybusGemeente Beveren



A lot of discontinuations followed due to a lack of follow up and the threat of the vanishing of Doel. The last remaining shop, the one of Charles and Marcella, remains operational until 2012.

Movie of DoelGemeente Beveren

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 (Caroline Van de Manacker). Many thanks to Agnes van Puymbroeck, Claire Gillis, Marijs en Sabine Stuer, Roland en Liliane Van Mele, Maria De Jonck, Sylvain Adriaansens en Maria De Roover for the audio samples.

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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