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Park People
Q Lines
Bart de Boer Efteling
Last season you attracted 4 million guests for
Bart de Boer
the first time. Can you keep growing
renowned for its
attendance, or is it more important to
fairytale characters,
concentrate on per capita spending?
charming and elaborate
We were quite frightened before last season, but we
theming, Efteling is the
can proudly say the economic crisis has not hit us;
Netherlands’ number
we are like the cinemas were in the 1930s. We
one theme park.
cannot complain about spending either. We have to
Affectionately known as
see what happens this year of course, but hopefully
the “World of Wonders,”
we can grow attendance a little. Opening year-
the Katsheuvel-based
round should help this.
park is older than
Disneyland and in 2009
Will the entire park be open year-round?
clocked up record visitor
It is said that every Dutch citizen visits Yes. We open again on April 1, but then we will never
numbers. Bart de Boer,
Efteling four times in their lifetime. How often close. This includes the whole park, except for some
59, has served as
did you visit as a child? coasters that cannot work when it’s freezing. It does
president and CEO of
I came at least five times as a child, and even though not freeze often in the Netherlands …except this
De Efteling BV since
in between I did not visit that much, when I came here winter!
2008. Educated at the
to work in 2008, I saw many things I still remembered. There are a few reasons for opening year round.
Erasmus University in
For instance you have a wishing well that as a child I Winter Efteling, our Christmas celebration, has been a
Rotterdam, he previously
found rather frightening, well now it seems such a little huge success. Then we have Efteling Village Bosrijk.
held management
thing, but suddenly all these things come back to you. We wanted to have Bosrijk open all year round and to
positions at Koninklijke
do that you need to offer the people something,
Ahold supermarkets,
What are the park’s greatest strengths? which is the main attraction park, and also the
Esselte Abonnee TV, Pay-
First of all we are an icon, certainly in the Netherlands, Efteling Theatre. We will still have our peak summer
TV Netherlands,
but also in parts of Germany and Belgium too. The staff, but now it helps to keep some staff year round.
Eindhoven Airport and
Fairy Tale Forest from when the park started 58 years So it has all these advantages, but when I look
Gran Dorado. This
ago with designs of Anton Pieck is still at the core of the outside now, and it’s a dreary February day, I wonder
winter Efteling opened
park. We have kept the forest as it was, and every now how many people will here be this time next year. We
new holiday
and again we are building new attractions. will wait and see!
accommodation called
Another strong point is our target group, extended
Efteling Village Bosrijk
families, which means we do not have to keep building Why did you develop Bosrijk instead of
as it prepares to
taller, faster, higher rides. In everything we do, we are another hotel?
become a year-round
storytellers. Our most popular attraction is still Two reasons. In the Netherlands we invented Center
destination. At this
Droomvlucht (Dream Flight), people are so quiet in Parcs, which has been a very big success, so this kind
exciting time in the
there because they are enjoying the story and then of offering is understood here. The other thing was
park’s development,
making their own stories. Even if we have attractions that we wanted to do something special. It took us
Bart de Boer talks to
Park World
you can find elsewhere, they still have an Efteling touch. about 20 years to get permission to build this village
in the middle of the forest, but that makes it very
Owen Ralph
How do you retain the original Efteling spirit attractive and unique.
when adding new attractions?
Right now we are building the wooden racing coaster
Joris en de Draak (George and the Dragon). Great
Coasters International are building this attraction and
they are doing a great job. It’s going to be a
spectacular ride, with an 8-metre high dragon right
beside it that blows fire and splashes water with his tail.
It’s going to be a double racer, but Great Coasters
said if we’d spent the money with them instead of
doing the dragon story we could have done a triple
racer! We think it’s necessary that there is a story
attached to things we build, and of course our
architecture has a classic feel to it too.has a classic feel
to it too. The Flying Dutchman exterior
MARCH 2010
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