A Belgian night club so famous it got its history poured into a film; Zillion.

A Belgian night club so famous it got its history poured into a film; Zillion.

© Brixius – Coupe Amarena

Zillion Achterkant Gebouw


The Idea Behind Zillion

Once a man called “Frank V.” 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 infrastructur 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.

Zillion Entrance Stairs - Ingang Trappen

© Photo by Alan Cuypers


International Fame

This mighty dance temple became instantly popular throughout Belgium, the Benelux and also eastern Europe. From the very start it attracted a lot of big media coverage and local shows where held here.

Even the restrooms were used in a video clip by the Dutch band the Vengaboys called “Boom, Boom, Boom“.

Zillion Restrooms
Zillion Restrooms Reflection in mirror
Zillion Restrooms

© Photos by Alan Cuypers


Its Impressive Mechanics

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 met spinning heads

© Photo by Hannes Hulstaert



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


Parties @ 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 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 December 2004


Zillion Documentary

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

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

Zillion Stickers Merch

© Zillion Merch


Zillion Tour

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


Zillion Photo Album

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!


Zillion Film

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 could finally start.

Alan got the chance to play some minor extra roles in a couple TV series shot in Belgium and when he saw the word Zillion pop up on the “in the picture” website he immediately jumped right in and applied for a role.

It was so cool to be part of the set as a visitor and dance monkey of the Zillion club. He’s so lucky to have witnessed the production process of such a intriguing story of the not-so-far-from-his-door dance club Zillion.

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

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 to capture its interior for our ever-growing unique 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, Belgium.

The boss of Zillion “Frank Verstraeten” started his career in 1989 by opening an electronic equipment shop  in his parents’ home town Sint-Brixius-Rode. It went bankrupt in 1995 after illegal activities broke his business down. Meanwhile in the same village his parents ran an ice cream parlour, which was a family business for decades. His brother continous their work and we did love the special taste of the ice cream a lot. We highly recommend visiting Brixius, you won’t regret it.

Frank was someone who loved nightlife like no other until he got kicket out of dance club Carré in Willebroek. From there he decided to open his own dance temple called Zillion.

Brixius Ice Cream - Coupe Zevende Hemel

© Brixius – Coupe Zevende Hemel

Brixius Ice Cream - Coupe Amarena Krieken

© Brixius – Coupe Amarena

Brixius For My Birthday 2021

© Celebrating Alan’s birthday at Brixius


Keeping History Alive

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

Zillion seen from main stage - 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 – Remember The Time When People Grew Mushrooms Underground In Belgium

Preserving History – Remember The Time When People Grew Mushrooms Underground In Belgium

Preserving History – Remember The Time When People Grew

Mushrooms Underground In Belgium?

By Alan & A Good Friend | A Belgian Duo

MVRDV - Expo 2000 Hannover

© Alan Cuypers | Mine Shaft

A Good Friend

And not just a friend.

It wasn’t just by coincidence that we met in the first place! We were as a matter of fact working for one and the same company, although not at the same office and only 65 kilometers away we did got to know each other after all.

It was because of the internal magazine from ENGIE Axima that brought me to him. I mentioned my love for urban exploration and this meant that I had another friend to explore abandoned places with. Yay! 😃

He, the person in question, wrote me an email with subject: Vu dans le Blablaxi, date: 19 September 2011, and even pictures from his favourite explores.

Quote: “Salut collègue.

Désolé mais je ne parle pas un mot de flamand, mais si tu veux que je te parle en anglais, je devrais pouvoir me débrouiller.

Tout ça pour te dire que une de mes passions c’est la photo industrielle (genre site derelicta ou forbidden places) et aussi la photo nocturne en pose (de sites abandonnés ou d’industries métallurgiques).

Une autre c’est la visite de mines souterraines (avec mon appareil photo bien sûr).

Je ne faits quasi plus de varappe mais j’aime encore bien faire une belle descente en rappel ou une via ferrata et bien sûr de la randonnée à la journée.

Bien a toi et serai heureux de te rencontrer à la remise des vœux de Pissens au mois de janvier.”

He became my tutor when it came down to knowledge, he knew so much about all these derelict places. Places like military bunkers from WOI and WOII, as well as industrial plants like steel manufacturing sites.

Really! Thank you! I mean, I felt so honored that someone out there at the other side of Belgium read my short interview presenting myself in the internal magazine of the company. It was crazy and I was so psyched. And that even in another language!

My hobby wasn’t so famous as it later became and photography isn’t a practice that gets a lot of attention as well. Although it should get more rewarded and respected because to me a photo isn’t just a photo. It is a moment or object or anything really captured on camera which could potentially freeze time forever.

Photography is magical as these captured photos can be picked up again from the (dusty) shelve or from your hard drive on the PC and you can look at them for hours to come where beautiful memories can be brought back to life once again.

One can make a photo album or print a picture and hang it on the wall or even use it as your favourite background on your PC or smartphone.

To me taking photos means protecting any kind of memory in time stored forever in the palm of your hands.

MVRDV - Expo 2000 Hannover

Van Damme Quarry Ciply by Alan Cuypers


Why we want to explore beneath our surface?

It can perfectly being said that we humans have built many things on our planet, both above ground and underground. For all sorts of reasons we have considerably altered the face of our surface, be it in a good or bad way, we changed it according to our needs, experiments, unfortunate events or bad habbits. You name it, we changed it and it can’t always be undone.

Above ground it’s easy, we only need to keep in mind that gravity is a real thing.

Underground there’s also gravity, but also other things to keep in mind. The soil can be wet, cold, hot, muddy, dry, it can even shake and collapse which could leave huge sinkholes all the way to the surface.

This time I will talk more in depth about underground activities and why they can be very beneficial to us.


Mother Earth is a resource-rich planet which could serve our needs for many years to come, although sometimes these vulnerable resources are rather hard to reach or difficult to extract and process.

Today, I will bring you only a handful of meters below the surface where massive mazes of human activity carved their memories in the ground for a lifetime to come.

Belgium is rich in chalk, clay, pig iron and many more resources from the underground world. We explored just a small fraction of what once was a very big booming industry of mining.

Although I do am very satisfied with the chance of being stood there, under the surface away from the sun, for just a couple of hours. This experience was already enough to fulfil my dreams as an urban  explorer.

The Brick



Why growing mushrooms underground?

Industrialization brouth people to the cities where work was and where people could earn enough to support their hungry families in the countryside. Today isn’t any different. We have our cities and farmlands and for some it is a beautiful sanctuary somewhere in a hot place where they work an online job and can relax at the same time. Today and in the future we’re growing towards a digital online world, but for most of our products we still need agricultural and industrial factories. Aren’t we right?

Meanwhile underground everything was empty and excavated by many men. Rock formations were split open by either dynamite, immense machinery or hand-crafted tools and these tunnels formed huge underground galleries which eventually could still be used as a second purpose.

And so these quarries were also considered practical for growing mushrooms. Rows of mushroom beds were made with the help of horse poo or compost as a fertiliser and in the picture below this practice can still be found today.

MVRDV - Expo 2000 Hannover

© Alan Cuypers | 23/12/2016 @ 16:42 | Canon EOS 5D Mark III | f/8 | 25 sec. | Mushroom beds at the Van Damme Quarry, Ciply Belgium



Rediscovering Possibilities

What are we going to rediscover?

Managed quarries

To my surprise there was still active water pumping going on in some visited quarries, of course, otherwise the quarry would have been completely flooded by rainwater. If it were flooded the mine wouldn’t be still accessible to us.

Although these mines are actually forbidden to enter, I was guided by an expert who explored many mines before. Deep underground and open-pit ones alike.

We knew what we were doing and we did it carefully.

So, what did we rediscover?

The Rediscovery

Equipment was in some of them still there and ready to use at any given moment. Fresh truck tracks leading in the angled mine were a sign of recent life inside this rocky cave where water was being pumped out.

These scenes gave us beautiful pictures as a result.

Small lakes can be seen here and we remind you to not dare to take a swim in it as it can be very cold water and it isn’t the best water to swim in.

Small volcanoes under the water can be seen, which was a very cool sight, I admit.

The crystal clear water was perfect to photograph and the ground beneath it could be seen from afar.

Be sure to bring enough light in case you want to enter this exquisite underground maze of tunnels!

MVRDV - Expo 2000 Hannover
MVRDV - Expo 2000 Hannover
MVRDV - Expo 2000 Hannover
MVRDV - Expo 2000 Hannover

A Greener


A Greener Future

Nobody wants a dark future! Right?

Ecological struggle

Currently, there are only a handful of small start-ups that invest their piggy savings 🐖 into greener and more efficient life-oriented industries like farming and transportation from the farm field to the consumer.

How hard we’re all trying to conquer the ecological strugle this world comes with, we can only do even more to help protect us from our doomsday that might come sooner rather than later.

Although we’re not trying to be less optimistic here, we’re supporting businesses who try to make our lives better. And so can we!

But how?

By supporting local produce or growing your own vegetables and fruits. Yes, this is possible and completely safe to do, plus you help our beloved planet to survive even longer. It’s a win-win situation for you and us.

Take this amazing company for example, PlantLab 🌱, a startu-up business from The Netherlands is doing everything it can to go global and they’ve reached the US with one plant launched in December of 2020.

They are doing an amazing job 😊

MVRDV - Expo 2000 Hannover

© PlantLab ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands


How are we helping?

One of us, that’s Alan, loves to read about all things with better environmental impact which could only benefit us in the right way possible.

Yes, friends, there are solutions to our global threats out there. We only need to go big on this one and we will succeed! 💪

The answer to this is BAMBOO.

We understand and know it grows like crazy, we have tested this ourselves and have proof. There is an extensive blog about this in the making!

Benefits of bamboo


One can manage without eating flesh; but one cannot manage without the bamboo.

Su Dongpo, Song Dynasty poet

Flowers of Hong Kong

© Alan Cuypers | Flowers in Hong Kong

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 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.



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


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


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


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


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


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



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.


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


Same picture before all the trees were cut


Slowly the scenery is about to change


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