Douane Station Essen
THE ABANDONED STATION IN BELGIUM
This customs warehouse ‘Douane Station Essen’ was designed by architect Wisselez and built in 1901 by the Antwerp firm Bolsée & Hargot. The building served primarily as a transshipment warehouse.
In 1854 the first railway was opened in Essen, it became an important border station. The station is the most northern station in Belgium, the closest to The Netherlands. In 1896, they built quarantine stables in which, until the 1970s, cattle were checked for contagious diseases.
The customs hall was originally between the tracks and parallel to the station, close to the quarantine stables. The freight wagons were shunted under the roof next to the shed and then, after everything had been checked by customs, the cargo was transported to its destination.
In 1902 a new station was built in Essen, the hall for the customs is used as a temporary station for some years. When the station was finished ‘Douane Station Essen’ gets back the original function as accommodation of the custom services. During 1975 the tasks were taken over by the Antwerp Docks and Stapelplaatsen. The costumes hall was abandoned in 1988 when the freight line was closed. In 1993, the tracks leading to the hall were removed. After many years the hall finally gets a protected status in 2003. It will be renovated soon. I visited ‘Douane Station Essen’ in 2007.