Plans to create a €400 million (£314m, $489m) “metropolitan theme park” on the outskirts of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, are being developed by a caucus of leading design firms.
The project, dubbed Park 21, is a 1,000-hectare (3,000 acre) cultural, recreational urban parkland, with the landscaped and leisure elements incorporated into farmland and water bodies. Facilities such as shops, restaurants, hotels and attractions are central to the proposal, offering a “cluster concept” experience where visitors may pick and choose from the wide variety of activities on offer.
The development of the plans has been commissioned by the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer, where Schiphol Airport is located. About 20 minutes from downtown Amsterdam, Park 21 would offer residents and tourists an immersive leisure experience.
“The downtown area of Amsterdam is overcrowded,” Hans van Driem, development consultant for the project, told Attractions Management. The city has seen a 14 per cent increase in overnight international visitors since 2013, from 6.35 million that year to 7.23 million in 2014, according to research by MasterCard.
“The municipalities have beautiful areas as well, but nobody goes there,” Van Driem said. “We want to create the same cosy and cultural atmosphere as downtown offers, and here we have 1,000 hectares of land on the doorstep of Amsterdam.”
The hope is Park 21 will make Amsterdam a more attractive destination to families, as well as providing a vast expanse of recreational green space for locals. The major hub of Schiphol Airport is just five minutes away and will be connected by direct train, so transit passengers are a huge potential market.
The concept is being developed alongside consultancy practice Leisure Development Partners (LDP), Dutch leisure concept consultancy M2 Leisure and Canada-based design firm Forrec.
Steven Rhys, vice president of Forrec, is supporting a new kind of leisure attraction. “There’s a phenomenon we’re seeing in entertainment where the conventional single-gated attraction – where you park your car in the lot, walk through the retail village and spend your whole day inside the gated facility – are making way for many gated cluster-concept attractions,” he said.
“This will be a cultural, recreational, family destination. The model we’ve talked about is a deconstructed theme park, a clustered theme park, where you enter through public, no-charge gates and choose what you want to do. You can do it in packages or one at a time; you can stay for two hours or five or more,” said Rhys.
“In the next 12 to 24 months, we’ll be drawing up a financial feasibility study,” added Van Driem. “After an investors roadshow, we hope to announce in 2017 to 2018 that we’ve secured the financing of the project, for a planned opening in April 2020.”