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Mini-Europe and Océade forced to close in

August 2013

Update : 10/02/12 - 22h49 Published by François Mayné the 8 February 2012, Corporate.
Mini-Europe and Océade forced to close in August 2013Mini-Europe and Océade forced to close in August 2013

The miniature park Mini Europe and the waterpark Océade, two of the most iconic tourist attractions in the city of Brussels, will have to close their doors in August 2013. That is the decision taken by the local politicians while they will launch a redevelopment plan for the Heysel, an area located at north-west of the Belgian capital. As a result of this redevelopment plan, The leases for both parks will not be renewed.

Heysel became famous for hosting the World Exposition in 1935. One finds today the renowned Atomium monument, an Exhibition Centre, a 50,000-seat stadium, various sports and cultural facilities as well as the recreation area "Bruparck". Inaugurated in 1988, Bruparck offers tourists and Brussels residents a village with shops and restaurants, a multiplex cinema, and various leisure activities including Océade and Mini-Europe opened respectively in '88 and '89.

The redevelopment project, called NEO, plans the complete destruction of Bruparck and the stadium to make way for a new neighborhood where there will be built a mall, a convention center, hotels, housing, offices, a concert hall and recreational infrastructure... but without Mini-Europe and Océade that developers no longer wish to see in the final draft.

Mini-Europe in a miniature park dedicated to the European countries since 1989Océade is a waterpak, mainly indoor, that opened in 1988

Even if some "arrangements" have been proposed - namely Océade moving into a new building and a change of concept for Mini-Europe - the managing director of both companies Thierry Meeùs (son of the Walibi Group founder) doesn't agree to see his activities disapearing highlighting the fact that both parks are profitable, popular and essential for tourism in Brussels and even in Belgium.

Indeed, Océade and Mini-Europe welcome around 600,000 visitors annually, representing 25% of all visits to museums and attractions in Brussels. They thus provide about € 15 million in economic benefits for the city. In 2011, Mini-Europe welcomed 361,000 visitors, employed 85 people and generated a turnover of € 4 million. Océade generated in 2011 a turnover of € 3.5 million, employed 140 people and welcomed 240,000 visitors. Total investments for both parks since 1988 is about € 26 million while the reconstruction cost would be between 37 and € 40 million...

In a statement, Thierry Meeus explained his disagreement with the city authorities. "We have in our favor: investment, jobs created, number of visitors and economic benefits for the region ... Many tourists combine a visit to the Atomium with Mini-Europe, and Océade grew by 80 % in the last 10 years, becoming one of the water parks the most popular between Paris and The Hague! "

The NEO project will have a mall, convention center, hotels, housing, offices, a concert hall and recreational infrastructure.With NEO, Mini-Europe will be replace by public walkways and Océade by new buildings.Left: the current Bruparck with Océade and Mini-Europe. Right: the NEO project doesn't include the two attractions

He adds "The NEO plan is a prestige project which, if it sees the day, asks important questions in terms of cost, profitability and nuisances. On our side, the project exists, is profitable, costs nothing to the taxpayers, provides many benefits, emphasizes the role of Brussels as the European capital in and is constantly growing with new nvestments. "

The words of Thierry Meeus against the authorities are incisive : "The City of Brussels seems to want to kill the unique entrepreneurial dynamism in the field of attractions that we demonstrate for so long. What's worse is the lack of respect from authorities: we are told for example that Océade might remain ... if he moves 100 meters! We are also told that Mini-Europe could remain if we destroy all the buildings and provided that the miniature monuments are visible to all passers of Heysel. Basically, they give us the right to remain only if Océade and Mini-Europe are almost entirely rebuilt... meaning that they will become financially inexploitable for us!"

To prove they won't give up, Thierry Meeus said that both parks will continue to invest until the end to satisfy their loyal customers and tourists. Last night, Océade has opened two new water slides while several renovations of models will be carried out in Mini-Europe before the opening of the 2012 season on March 17.

And because the authorities' decision is unpopular, Mini-europe and Océade also launched an online petition to ask people to support them.
Océade - - -
Written by François Mayné François Mayné Publishing Director » Contact Us
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Mini-Europe (Amusement park)
Belgium Site : www.minieurope.be

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