If you wanted proof of how quickly and powerfully nature can reclaim the land back from human activity, then these photos from the Chatillon car graveyard are a great reminder. In what looks like a haunting scene from a post-apocalyptic earth, these photos capture a car graveyard in a forest in Chatillon, a village in the Ardennes region of Belgium. It's one of the largest car graveyards in the world.
No one really knows for sure how these cars got there, there are models from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s. But the story goes that after the Second World War American soldiers unable to take their cars home starting abandoning them in the woods.
According to Digital trends:
In 1948 Twelve countries including the United States and Canada founded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
In 1951 Canada builds 2 strategic air force bases in France one in Grostenquin and another on a former German airstrip located next to the Belgian border town of Marville. The two bases were less than 100 miles apart.
In 1955 Canadian soldiers arrive bringing with them ice skating, Canadian beer, and a taste for big American cars. An auto shop in Chatillon is one of the only one’s around that specializes in cars.
In 1965 French President Charles de Gaulle publicly announced plans to pull out of NATO, and on March 11, 1966, he went to the American embassy in Paris to announce France’s resignation from the group, asking all NATO forces to leave the country as soon as possible.
By 1967 most soldiers had left Virton. Without a steady diet of American cars to fix, the owner of the Auto shop in Chatillon shifted the focus of his shop to European cars. The owner began winding down his business as he got older but he never fully retired. The cars that were new in the 1950s were now classics so his collection began to attract enthusiasts from Belgium and from a handful of neighboring countries. The shop was still opened when he died approximately eight years ago.
After that the Chatillon locals used it as a dumping ground for their old vehicles and over the decades many cars—up to 500—were left there to rot and the legend of the abandoned Chatillon Car graveyard arose..
Unfortunately the Chatillon Car graveyard no longer exists today as it had to be cleaned up in 2010 for environmental reasons. One things for certain though, it makes for some haunting imagery—giving us a glimpse of what the world might look like once humankind has ceased to exist. R.I.P Chatillon Car graveyard.