Lonely Planet Writer

One Dutch photographer is on a quest to capture Europe's abandoned buildings

A collection of striking images has been shared online, featuring a range of haunting and beautiful abandoned buildings from across Europe, including closed power plants, former hotels, and once decadent palaces.

A piano in a dust covered palace somewhere in Poland.
A piano in a dust covered palace in Poland. Image by Roman Robroek

Taken by Dutch photographer Roman Robroek, the series was captured over the space of five years and includes images taken in countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Hungary, Romania, Poland, and Italy. To date, Roman has visited approximately 500 locations for the project, with the goal of travelling to and documenting at least one new country every year. This year, he has chosen Ukraine as his destination to photograph.

The dining room in a former hotel in Germany.
The dining room in a former hotel in Germany. Image by Roman Robroek

“When I started my urban photography journey, I mostly saw empty, abandoned and derelict buildings. It didn’t take long before curiosity struck me. What was the story behind those buildings? Who used to live there? What purpose did these objects serve and why were they abandoned? This curiosity created a close bond between me and urban photography and I have since visited so many beautiful locations. The opportunity to take a peek behind closed doors is a truly unique experience, both relaxing and enticing at the same time. I immerse in the surroundings, but am also watching my every step and listening closely to every sound trying not to draw any attention,” Roman told Lonely Planet Travel News.

The control room of a partially abandoned power plant in Hungary.
The control room of a partially abandoned power plant in Hungary. Image by Roman Robroek

While the project is centred around documenting architecture and history, Roman feels that having a unique task to complete when visiting a new country can lead to rich, unexpected experiences. “I’ve learned that each country has its own amazing architecture, as well as culture and general ways of life. I’ve tried eating local dishes, driven on the worst roads you can imagine, seen the most hidden villages and met the nicest people. All has been such a great experience. Places that you would usually never see have become my place of joy and have given me unique memories,” he said.

A piano in a villa in France.
A piano in a villa in France. Image by Roman Robroek

Next year Roman plans to visit Scandinavia to document the landscape as well as abandoned building, while Japan and the United States of America are also on his bucket list.

More of Roman’s photography is available at his official website.