STEKENE - It is not allowed to live in a recreation area. Yet people still live in a chalet or a caravan, or sometimes in a brick weekend residence. Sometimes these are people who find themselves in precarious financial circumstances. Pensioners, people coming out of a divorce, people who are ill, or who, in short, have a low income. They have found a housing solution that is acceptable to them and they are proud of it. They are not going to let it go.

Sometimes it is about people who have simply lived there for a long time. At the time, no one had warned that it was not allowed. They have gone into one of the many misleading advertisements when buying the house. 

Meanwhile, the open space is under pressure. Attention for unspoilt nature and more forests is growing in densely populated Flanders. Weekend houses and their permanent residents do not fit into this picture. Many see them as profiteers who have bought a piece of land in the green for little money.

Photo: © Esmeralda Borgo

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Esmeralda Borgo

Esmeralda Borgo is a freelance investigative journalist.

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