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Gent-Dampoort
nr 8:
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Ghent Dampoortstation
April 2021
From the Rodetorenkaai I proceed towards the Dampoort train station, in the north of the city. From a holiday vibe at the jetty to an abandoned train station, that seems to have turned into a shelter for the homeless. If there's any place in the city, where you can see how badly the virus has hit society socially, it's here!
Some mouth masks are left behind in the corridor. I can hear the ventilator in the frame of the billboard zoom. The automatic doors slide open with a tired squeaking noise. The vending machines are selling mouth masks and disinfectants. For the more exotic corona-warriors among us, there are custom made mouth masks available in the Photomaton. A men informs the missing travelers over the intercom: “From 3 to 18 April, at the request of the federal authorities, all passengers on the train with a destination towards the coast, can only take a seat at the window. With the exception of children up to the age of twelve...”

Two months later

Today I can feel there is definitely a different atmosphere in the station, then in April. The public toilets are opened once again and a lady urges the travelers over the intercom:
 “Notice to all passengers; Let's continue to respect the safety regulations together and always wear a mask in stations, on the platforms and on the trains...”
A train arrives, the station gets flushed with people.
I notice two newly spread beds in the waiting hall. One persons is sitting on one of the beds. It is clearly a matras for a small child. The melancholy in the eyes of this man, is in sheer contrast with the excitement of the travelers.