Little Bits of History

May 31

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 31, 2017

1952: Efteling opens. Located in Kaatsheuvel, North Brabant, Netherlands the venue opened as a nature part with a playground and a Fairy Tale Forest. The 15 acre forest is based on the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, and Charles Perrault. R.J.Th. van der Heijden, Peter came up with the idea to help boost tourism to the region and asked Peter Reijnders (a filmmaker and inventor and van der Heijden’s brother in law) to help create the park and had Anton Pieck to add artistic features. It took about two years to create the first ten fairy tales. Today there are 25 scenes included in this portion of Efteling. Some scenes are very specific and some are more general in nature. Some are indoor scenes, scenes too small to enter, and some which can be entered into.

On this day, the ten scenes were first viewed. They contained mechanized movements as well as lighting and sound effects. This new approach to the ago old tales drew 240,000 in 1952 alone. Beginning in 1978, the park expanded. Today, it covers 178 acres for the park alone and then entire resort area, including a hotel, a theater, a golf course, and a holiday village covered 682 acres. The amusement park portion of Efteling has 35 high tech rides including 6 roller coasters and 4 water rides. The theme park is built around the myths, legends, folklore, and fairy tales of times past. There are nearly 5 million people visiting each year. It is the largest theme park in the Netherlands and one of the oldest theme parks in the world.

The Dutch climate is entwined with the park. The forest is all natural and because of cold winters, the park was originally only opened from April through October. Today, it is open year round, but with some attractions closed during Winter Efteling. While some are closed, there is the added bonus of Christmas lighting and decorations. The popularity of the park is due to, at least in part, the high quality of the ride designs and architecture. The pleasant woodlands are also a draw. Pieck, as the initial designer, would only work if the quality of the building materials could live up to his standards. He worked with the park until the mid-1970s when Ton van de Ven took over.

The park is divided into four themed areas. Originally North, West, East, and South, they names have changed to Travel Realm, Fairy Realm, Adventure Realm, and Other Realm respectively. The Adventure Realm is where the amusement park itself is located while the Fairy Realm holds the Fairy Tale Forest built among the pines. The newest addition is to open this summer. Symbolica: Palace of Fantasy will move the visitor through an enclosed palace and is the most expensive addition (€35 million) to the park. It is one of the reasons over 100 million people have visiting the Dutch treat since its opening.

In an amusement park, you can go on a roller coaster that carries you up and down, or you can go on another kind of ride that whirls you around in a circle. Similarly, there are different sorts of entertaining experiences in the theater. – Wallace Shawn

The way I see it, love is an amusement park, and food its souvenir. – Stephanie Klein

Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers. – Hans Christian Andersen

If you see the magic in a fairy tale, you can face the future. – Danielle Steel


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