The American Facebook group Abandoned & Forgotten (Abandoned & Forgotten) has once again dusted off Villa Nottebohm from Brecht. The castle, which was quietly demolished in 2018, continues to capture the imagination in the United States, because the post received 30,000 likes and crying smileys, provoked 906 reactions and has already been shared 1,200 times.
The message dates back to the summer, but because it is shared so much, it continues to have a life of its own on social media. In one of the comments someone writes that the castle was ‘recently demolished’, but that demolition was already five years ago. A photo is shown of Nottebohm Castle in 2013 in a dilapidated state, and a photo from 1976 when it was still operated as a kind of Ponyland amusement park.
Many do not believe it is the same building. In the 2013 photo, the building looks less tall and wider, but participants in the discussion attribute this to the evolution of camera lenses.
Villa Nottebohm was for many years the most famous building for urbex photographers in our country. To those who visit the place today, it seems as if a castle never stood there.
Villa Nottebohm – because it was actually not a castle but rather an extended cottage – became world famous thanks to the fantasy novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in 2011 by the American writer Ransom Riggs. He based his orphanage on a photo that Dutch urbex photographer Martijn Zegwaard had once taken of Villa Nottebohm.
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Tim Burton later adapted the book into a film, but the recordings took place a few kilometers away in a castle in Brasschaat.
At the beginning of 2018, it became known that the Nottebohm family had applied for a demolition permit. The situation had become unsafe, because many photographers, as well as playing children, entered the dilapidated building.
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The Facebook group Abandoned & Forgotten also shows old photos of the dilapidated historic Handelsbeurs in Antwerp, but it has now been restored for four years.
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