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Tuesday, April 23, 2013 | This article is listed in the sections Amusement parks and Magazine.

Anniversary in BELANTIS

 © BELANTIS Foto: Bertram Kober
© BELANTIS Foto: Bertram Kober
Aerial view of BELANTIS
On the occasion of BELANTIS celebrating its 10th birthday this year, it's about time to look back on one turbulent decade and to write down how the largest amusement park in East Germany came into being. In order to get an idea of the geographic speciality, it is necessary to know a bit of the eventful history of the district.

A large-scale surface mining operated in the region south of Leipzig from the early 1920s until 1999, after residents gathered to protest for the final closing. In the course of the site development for brown coal mining, especially in GDR times, villages made level with the ground and residents had to face forced movement. The closure left an rugged an destroyed area that called for elaborate recultivation and cost-intensive renaturation. They started filling the giant holes with water – Neuseenland was born. The artificial lake district now has an expanse of 70.000 hec. and is sure to become a new tourist attraction once finished.

19 months of building BELANTIS

A team of competent planning specialists and consultants put their heads together for around three years before converting the former brown coal mine area into one of the ten largest amusement parks in Germany in just 19 months. The owner company EVENT PARK GmbH & CO. KG, a consortium of radio channels and private investors, invested 55 million EUR to create a fantasy world, including one fairy tale-like entrance, out of an area ravaged by coal mining. Despite of a sound collaboration with the politically responsible neighbouring municipalities, city of Leipzig and state of Saxony, there was another citizens' initiative forcing them to drop the project. The fairly rapid implementation had been stopped for several months by way of action.

This case was dismissed by court, and nothing stood in the way of finishing BELANTIS anymore. On 5th April 2003, it was ceremonially opened by seven year old Kevin Kemmerling, representing all children of the world, in presence of the then Saxon minister of economic affairs Dr. Martin Gillo. The broken down brown coal mine area had been turned into a place full of magic, fun and adventure within a very short period of time. BELANTIS attracted approx. 25 million guests in its first year of operation.

Impressions from BELANTIS

Bild links Bild rechts
  • Huracan in Belantis<br />© Belantis
  • Goetterflug in Belantis<br />© Belantis
  • Bild aus Fotogalerie<br />© Parkteam AG
  • Bild aus Fotogalerie<br />© Parkteam AG
  • Bild aus Fotogalerie<br />© Parkteam AG
  • Bild aus Fotogalerie<br />© Parkteam AG

Another 25 million EUR have been invested to date to introduce new attractions again and again: By now there are eight different theme areas with more than 60 attractions within a surface area of around 30 hec., with another 80 hec. at disposal for possible extension purposes. Former chancellor Helmut Kohl promised "blossoming landscapes” after the reunification in 1990. BELANTIS proves to be a perfect example.

© parkscout/AF

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