belgian coast: Middelkerke: attractions



The well of drunks


Came to be in 1876. Already at the turning of the previous century Middelkerke was a famous seaside resort thanks to the sea and tram lines with neighbouring Ostend. In 1879, because of the increasing demand for purified water during the summer season, the council decided to dig a concrete tube from the canal of Nieuwpoort-Plassendale to a huge waterresevoir 3 km away where it would be purified by a filteringsystem.

They started the very same year. They dug an enormous well of 9 metres deep. All this brought along many problems because of the wet and marshy underground. When first attempts to place a concrete resevoir failed they vuilt a heavier one. To get stability the surrounding wells were filled up with earth.
In April 1899 the then still empty tank was pushed up because of the rising groundwater. The uneven weight distribution caused the tank to lean over. The tank partly emerged above the surface. They tried to even it out but all attempts failed.
The name well of druks is aptly chosen: once inside the well the visitor feels dizzy as he is trying to focus on the skewed pillars between a horizontal surface.
During the war the well was used as a hideout. Many families used to spend the night there.




Technical specifications

length: 14,2m

width: 8,5m

depth: 4,5m

content: 500.000 liter

weight: 213 ton

slope angel: 12°

restored in 1992

location: Kapelstraat 55-Middelkerke


For a visit: tel: 059 30 89 20.



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