1/5 The controversial pink castle of the land of Ever (photo: ANP).

    The striking pink castle has long ceased to be pink and the estate in Drunen has almost nothing to remind you of the Land van Ever. On Monday it will be exactly fifteen years ago that the iconic amusement park closed its gates. How a dream of creator Marc Taminiau became a nightmare.

    Marc Taminiau developed the plan for an amusement park where the fairytale atmosphere had to play an important role. As exploitation director of Efteling, Taminiau increasingly missed the fairytale atmosphere there due to all the roller coaster violence.

    Children in charge
    In 1987 the time had come. Right along the A59 near Nieuwkuijk, Taminiau created his fairyland. The country ‘where children rule’. With its own population; the Everers. With own money (the Eversent) and regards (see you!). Visitors could buy a ‘visa’ which made them as foreigners gained access to the Land of Ever.

    Kloontje, one of the most famous characters of the Land van Ever.

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    Initially, the theme park attracted many visitors, but after ten years the numbers slowly declined. Innovations were slow ‘through the bureaucratic mill’, according to Taminau. The park slowly lost its shine. The criticism from the municipality and local residents about, among other things, the pink castle in the park also became increasingly loud.

    Dilapidated
    Due to fewer visitors and less attention from Taminiau, the park deteriorated. Taminiau had meanwhile started a similar amusement park in Belgium, but that turned out to be a major financial fiasco. In 2007 it was over: the Land van Ever went bankrupt. Everything that had been built up in business in nineteen years was gone.

    The pink castle with the petrified soldiers in the court pond (photo: archive).
    The pink castle with the petrified soldiers in the court pond (photo: archive).

    The municipality of Heusden bought the park for fifteen million euros. The municipality invested another twelve million in the maintenance of the castle, nature and hiking trails. The castle is still there, but the pink has been replaced by different shades of stone. A gate and the renovated petrified soldiers in the water also remind us of the Land of Ever.

    Sold at a loss
    After years of peddling, the site of the former Land van Ever has been sold at a loss by the municipality to a project developer who is going to turn it into a residential area with street names that refer to the castle and the nobility. The lots on the: Countess, Hertog, Marquis and Baroness were already sold last year.

    Estate Steenenburg Nieuwkuijk, formerly land of yesteryear (Photo: Martha Kivits)
    Estate Steenenburg Nieuwkuijk, formerly land of yesteryear (Photo: Martha Kivits)

    The former Land van Ever has a future again. According to plans, the castle will house a medical campus. A green residential area appears near this castle where adults are in charge again and fairy tales are only read before going to sleep.

    After the bankruptcy, the complete contents of the park were auctioned in March 2008.

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