A dance club so famous it got it’s history poured into a film; Zillion. 2022.

A dance club so famous it got it’s history poured into a film; Zillion. 2022.

Zillion | A dance club so famous it got its history poured into a Belgian feature film!

Here’s How.

By Alan & Hannes | A Belgian duo

Street Market Hong Kong

© Photo by Alan Cuypers | 19/09/2015

The Idea Behind Zillion

How it all started.

Once a man got kicked out of the well-known night club Carré due to reasons we all know they’re not very great, but thanks to this he decided to create his own night club or discotheek we like to call it here. With a magnificant technical infrastrure never seen before and he succeeded achieving this.

It was in 1996 when that very man and his business partners bought the sports hall “Going out” at the Jan Van Gentstraat 4 in Antwerp city. A year later construction finished and the club opened its doors on 16 October 1997.

He implemented impressive light shows with industrial laser systems and scanners.

The restrooms were even used in a video clip by the Vengaboys called “Boom, Boom, Boom“.

© Photos by Alan Cuypers

Its Impressive Mechanics

One Genius Man.

As a matter of fact we are not really into clubbing and night life in general, but we do like to read about local history despite not always being a very good one. We love exploring old and abandoned sites, just like this one and capture its interior for our ever-growing archive.

People will love to see these photos once again and by this medium we try to bring back the many memories this club created for thousands of people who enjoyed the nightlife in Antwerp city of Belgium.

Zillion Spin

© Photo by Hannes Hulstaert

Memoires

How we keep this club alive.

As a matter of fact we are not really into clubbing and night life in general, but we do like to read about local history despite not always being a very good one. We love exploring old and abandoned sites, just like this one and capture its interior for our ever-growing archive.

People will love to see these photos once again and by this medium we try to bring back the many memories this club created for thousands of people who enjoyed the nightlife in Antwerp city of Belgium.

© Photo collection from Zillion

48 Hours

None-stop Pure goodness.

During its peak around 5000 visitors came to party at Zillion every weekend. It was a great success.

People came from Belgium, The Netherlands, Europe and later on from every corner around the world just to see this place alone.

Zillion became famous for its long 4-hours parties like this one in the weekend of 19 December 2003, Zillion Reunion.

Tickets were sold at € 15,-
And minimum age was 18.

Zillion Reunion Party 19-20 December 2003

Xmas Party

Survival of the fittest.

We found this invitation at Zillion during our visit, but we are not sure if this party ever existed.

If someone knows if it did. Let us know in the comments below…

FOU was the man himself, the owner of the Zillion, also known as Frank.

Zillion Xmas Party Invitation 24 December 2004

Documentary Zillion

By Dirk Leestmans.

Nightlife isn’t always safe for everyone.

It comes with many attention and media coverage in case things go not as planned and just like this man hit the news for all sorts of things.

He even admits that he could land in jail if things went really bad.

The unfortunate events happened after all and his business had to close.

© Youtube | Zillion Documentary by Dirk leestmans

© Youtube | Memories @ Club ZILLION Antwerp ( retrohouse )

Zillion Merch

All About Merchandise.

Zillion was all about merchandise, just like these couple stickers we found during our visit in July 2015.

Zillion Stickers

© Zillion Merch

Zillion Tour

By Alan & Hannes.

We were lucky enough to gain access to the Zillion thanks to a good friend. We have seen many rooms, but far from everything as it was a huge complex and also pitch-black dark. It was made impossible to enter and sunlight didn’t even go in an inch.

We used our flashlights and took long-exposure shots with our cameras. It was well worth the visit as we were born and raised not very far from this place, although we have never ever placed a foot inside this club. Especially abandoned buildings are our favorites. Hence the interest to see this place when there’s no people nor activity inside.

Time went by and so did this massive dance club and in 2017 it was demolished to make space for “The Residence” building and a gas station in the Jan Van Gentstraat.

© Photos by Alan Cuypers | 04/07/2015

The Album

By Alan Cuypers.

Let’s take a look inside.

Unfortunately we didn’t see every single room or corridor of the whole complex. It was a very warm day in Antwerp and we arrived at the side entrance where the goods went in. Packed with our cameras, flashlights and tripods we opened the locked gate and went inside. Merchandise could be found anywhere as soon as we came in. Some still in good condition and made it to my house as a souvenir.

Too bad we didn’t film our footsteps and we only took photos, video simply gives your explores another dimension and much more memory for later use. The complex was huge and creapy at the same time. Darkness is a hard and scary thing, although our flashlights helped us see where we placed our feet. Rubbish, papers, equipment, electrical wires and other stuff were lying around everywhere.

Luckily we could see a safe floor to walk on as an abandoned omplex can be a little dangerous sometimes, we are very careful with what we do. Always, everytime!

The Film

It’s going to be a great success.

Zillion’s name resonates in meany people’s heads and it didn’t take much creativity to start making a film about its past. The Covid-19 pandemic slowed down the initial start of the production of the movie as it was originally planned for 2020. As of August 2021 the production started.

As Alan got some minor extra roles in a couple different TV series shot in Belgium he saw the word Zillion pop up on the “in the picture” website and gues what, he immediately jumped right in and applied for a role.

Two days of filming nearby his new apartment on Thursday and Friday 7 & 8 October to shoot the outdoor scenes of the film were intense. Despite the long waiting in between takes it was so cool to be part of the set as a visitor of the Zillion club.

Expected feature release date is October 2022.

Link to the IMDB page can be found here.

© Zillion Film Cast Reveal | 27/02/2020

Ice Cream

Brixius, a family business.

As a matter of fact we are not really into clubbing and night life in general, but we do like to read about local history despite not always being a very good one. We love exploring old and abandoned sites, just like this one and capture its interior for our ever-growing archive.

People will love to see these photos once again and by this medium we try to bring back the many memories this club created for thousands of people who enjoyed the nightlife in Antwerp city of Belgium.

Brixius Ice Cream With The Family
Brixius Ice Cream With The Family

© Celebrating Alan’s birthday at Brixius

Brixius Ice Cream With The Family
Brixius Ice Cream With The Family

© Celebrating Alan’s birthday at Brixius

Keeping History Alive

A self portrait.

All we try to do is keeping bits and pieces of history alive through photos.

It takes a lot of research about all the places that we explore and not every detail might be correct or as accurate as in real life. Often history is forgotten or lost or deleted for all sorts of reason, that’s why we cannot guarantee that everything we right is correct. We apologize if something is incorrect, so please correct us if this is the case!

Please, leave a comment or email us at info@twin-rhino.be with the correct information and we will update this blog accordingly.

Twin Rhino | Alan Cuypers

Alan & Hannes @ Zillion - 2015

© Alan & Hannes

Have you ever been to Zillion?

Share in the comments section below!

What are your experiences with club Zillion?

What are your thoughts about life inside the Zillion? What did you like and what didn’t you like about it?

From what country where you from?

Which other club do you like most? In which country is it located and what is the music style?

Share your story in the comments below! 😎

Preserving History – The American Petroleum Company – Petroleum Zuid Antwerpen

Preserving History – The American Petroleum Company – Petroleum Zuid Antwerpen

Preserving History – The American Petroleum Company – Petroleum Zuid Antwerpen

Preserving History – The American Petroleum Company – Petroleum Zuid Antwerpen

The American Petroleum Company Fueling Station

Petroleum

1800s

Petroleum or kerosine is used for many appliances likes cooking stoves, lamps, engine oil, chemistry, entertainment, and even mosquito control in Australia.

The destillation process from crude oil or petroleum is as old as the 9th century and is described by the Persian scholar Rāzi. The Chinese later used the kerosine for lighting lamps as early as 1500 BC.

History

28.06.1900

Due to dangerous petroleum fires in the old harbour of Antwerp it was decided to move the entire petroleum business to the south and therefor had 54 hectares of soil to be expropriated from the Hobokense polders in the year 1900.

To grant access to the marine transportation the current quayside of Antwerp had to be extended 2 kilometres to the south and a new concrete pier had to be constructed near the site. The extension works lasted from 1897 until 1903.

Construction started in 1902 and in operation from 1903 by the American Petroleum Company or APC.

A huge devastating fire broke out on 26 August 1904 and destroyed most of its buildings and installations, except some warehouses and the congierge building survived the aftermath.

Entrance gate of the American Petroleum Company

Where the petroleum was still present, great smell, black stuff everywhere

The Interwar Period

1918-1939

Petroleum demand was still staggering high and the American Petroleum Company in Antwerp served as the most important petroleum harbour in Europe.

After the Second World War, WWII, most of the petroleum storage and production relocated to the northern side of Antwerp to the new Marshall dock, leaving behind 4 other companies in the area. They can remain until 2035, marking the end of their concession.

A roof of the American Petroleum Company

The concierge building of the American Petroleum Company

Blue Gate Antwerp

2011

Petroleum Zuid became Blue Gate Antwerp in 2011, it’s a brand-new concept for the abandoned area once thriving with a blooming petroleum industry and which now has to completely disappear to make space for new a industry business.

The leftover warehouses, concierge building and lots of oil pipes are still present, at least up until 2013/2014 when everything but a warehouse of the American Petroleum Company was preserved and marked as cultural heritage.

Demolition of a warehouse of the American Petroleum Company

Almost demolished warehouse on the site

Concrete chimney

Petroleum storage tanks

Our first visit

2010

We were well familiar with this peculiar site as teenagers who loved cycling in the area. Adventure and wild explores were in our blood starting at a very young age. Petroleum Zuid attracted us as we loved exploring the old and forgotten industrial zone of Antwerp South. When we first discovered the place it was already long abandoned and we could freely enter the site without any problems whatsoever.

Of course we knew the dangers of urban exploring, so we were always very careful. As there were many parts of the site spoiled with petroleum, oil, burned down roofs and almost collapsing buildings we were very alert of anything that could happen at any moment during our explores, and we never went alone.

Alan in his early 20s he knew this site as he had guitar classes in Hoboken, not far from this American Petroleum Company and he passed these abandoned cobblestone roads for at least a decade. He knew every street out of his head and also saw the area evolving into something completely different than it was when he first saw the place as a teenager.

Now at his 30s the site got demolished and replaced with new buildings in development.

The only warehouse currently left of the American Petroleum Company

Damaged roof of a building on the site

Sunrays entering a storage space

The Concrete Pier

1902-1903

Lot A consisted of the first construction of the jettypier in 1902, located near the river Scheldt and would allow the petroleum to flow above the ground to the facilities where it would be collected into the petroleum storage tanks. The pier was completed in 1903 and has a length of 301.6 metres, with a maximum tanker vessel capacity of 3. The very first tanker arrived on 3 August 1903.

During World War 1 there was no activity due to lack of the resource as it was all reserved for the war.

The concrete pier and petroleum pipes

Pipelines in the air

1919

After the First World War the activity at the Petroleum-Zuid restarted again and restoration works of the jettypier could begin. In 1930 the underground petroleum pipes became out of use and above ground pipes were installed on the site as we can still see today.

To cover the growing demand of petroleum a new pier was errected on the south-west side of the existing pier. And in 1962 a third pier was errected for tanker barges. Which became the last pier constructed on the site.

Forever sealed

Where old pipe meets new pipe

Avia-Belgomine

1946

A Swiss company started doing business in the year 1946 at Petroleum-Zuid in the coal industry. Although not lasting very long, they changed to fuel and lubricant oils.

In 1971 with the arrival of fuel trucks the export of fuel oil, or as we like to call it; mazout, became a fact. Their logo speaks for itself.

avia-international-logo

Cobblestone street towards Avia

The offices of Avia

The elevated Avia door

Demolition in action

Taken right before the demolition works started

Petroleum pipes everywhere you could see, surrounded by thousands of very old trees and cobblestone roads

12.05.2010

Same picture before all the trees were cut

21.05.2011

Slowly the scenery is about to change

22.04.2017

Seen toward the other direction

Once you could not see all the facilities and buildings from my point of view, they were all covered by trees