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ABOUT Bart de Boer

What are your hobbies? I had a private pilot’s licence but I had to quit fl ying when I started working here so I fl y in a coaster instead now. I also like cooking and photography

What’s your favourite food? I’m a bit of a foodie. I’ve visited Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in the UK. I’m desperate to eat at Noma in Copenhagen, but it’s hard to get in – if anyone’s reading this, who can get me in, please let me know

Favourite fi lm? It’d be a bit cheap to say The Fairytale Tree! I don’t have a favourite fi lm, but I love the Swedish thriller tv series The Bridge. It’s excellent and I’d love to be able to produce a programme like that

How do you spend your spare time? With this job there isn’t too much spare time – there’s always something to do. I live a 45-minute drive from the park, which is good or I’d always be here. I like reading, walking the dogs and cooking nice meals to try and entice the kids back home

What drives you? I’m not a caretaker. When I’m somewhere I want change and growth and results. But at Efteling I’m building on a lot of history. This combination makes it a very interesting job

How would you describe yourself? I like to make a presence

How would others describe you? As a motivator

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? I once read: “You have to realise when you’re happy.” In other words, we should appreciate what we have while we actually have it. Another piece of advice is: “Relax.” That’s from my wife!



The majority of Efteling’s visitors are

from the Netherlands with about 10 per cent from Germany and another 10 per cent from Belgium. “We do have visitors from Spain, Israel and the UK, but it’s not as accessible,” says de Boer. Ten per cent of visitors stay at Efteling’s

122-room hotel or in one of the 203 accommodations in the holiday park Efteling Village Bosrijk. Both the hotel and resort are constantly fully booked. “Many resorts in the Netherlands are having a diffi cult time, but we’re not and are thinking of expanding,” says de Boer. “I think we’re the equivalent of the movie theatres in the 1930s – we give a day away from all the troubles. People need to have money to pay for it of course, so if things get worse it’ll start to impact, but up til now we haven’t been affected at all.” Eftleing’s employees are as loyal as its

visitors. “Many stay here for years and we have whole families who have worked for us across generations. Everyone is very involved, which is wonderful,” says de Boer. “But this can result in the organisation being a bit slow to react to suggestions because so many people are involved. I have to try and hurry things along without disturbing that very special Efteling feeling. That’s my biggest challenge here.” Efteling won a Brass Ring Award in

HR Excellence in 2010 with its internal program Betovering (Enchantment). “Key to this program is that our employees are told they can make the difference between a normal day in an attraction park or an exceptional experience,” adds de Boer.

MEDIA To add to this exceptional experience, the media side of Efteling is expanding rapidly. “Efteling Radio, featuring children’s news and a fairytale of the day, started four years ago,” says de Boer. “Broadcast to most of the Netherlands, it’s one of the most listened to children’s stations. We also produce and broadcast two hours of children’s television every day through commercial station RTL84. It’s shown in the Netherlands and in Belgium and we’re expanding that. Our series Raveleijn has fi ve million viewers, Pardoes the Tovernar has already been seen by a million people

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and our daily show De Schatkamer has about 100,000 viewers a day. “Efteling worked with famous Dutch

children’s writer Paul van Loon to create a book called Raveleijn,” he continues.

“We produced the television series, set up Hyyes (a Dutch Facebook-type site for children) for the different characters, launched an Internet game and created the show here in the park, so we do the whole range. The aim is to bring Efteling closer to people and doing it through tv works.” Efteling’s Facebook page was set up

a few months ago. It received 50,000 followers within two weeks of launching and is now up to 100,000. “I tweet to make Efteling reachable and we try to react actively to questions people raise on Facebook and Twitter,” adds de Boer.

AM 2 2012 ©cybertrek 2012

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