Maarten Delobel

Belgian Brothels


In the Belgian province of West Flanders, an eight-mile-long street is home to a string of dilapidated pin-up clubs, sex palaces and brothels. Photographer Maarten Delobel drove down this street, which runs between Kortrijk and Menen near the French border, to document the often shabby fronts of these "bar-dancings" and "wellness centres".

Most of the clientele driving up to the brothels appear to be French. Paying for sex has been made illegal in France since April of this year, and you'll get a hefty fine if you're caught doing it. According to Maarten, the locals don't seem too concerned with the wealth of sex clubs in their neighbourhood – they just don't like being stuck in traffic during the weekend crowds.

You could easily not realize what is happening here. My father, born in this area, never knew this area is also known for its brothels. At first glance it often just looks like a funny house or a bar. But once you see it, you can't unsee it anymore.