Center Parcs

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Center Parcs Europe NV (CPE)
Public limited company (Naamloze vennootschap)
IndustryLeisure
Founded1987
FounderPiet Derksen
Headquarters,
OwnerFreehold: Blackstone Group
Leasehold operator: Pierre & Vacances
ParentPierre & Vacances
DivisionsCenter Parcs UK (associated, co-branded)
WebsiteCenterParcs
An original Center Parcs Cottage (called 'Lodges' in UK resorts) It was designed by the Dutch architect Jaap Bakema.
Dutch Center Parcs entrance (at De Eemhof).

Center Parcs is a group of holiday villages in Europe that was founded in the Netherlands in 1968. It is now two different companies: Center Parcs Europe (CPE), which is run by Pierre & Vacances on mainland European sites owned by Blackstone Group and Center Parcs UK which runs holiday villages in Great Britain and Ireland and is owned by the Brookfield Properties Corporation.

History[change | change source]

A Dutch businessman, Piet Derksen, started a sport items shop in 1953 at Lijnbaan, Rotterdam. Its name was 'Sporthuis Centrum', which means 'Sport House Centre'. It succeeded and Derksen made 17 more shops in the Netherlands. He then added things used for camping to the range.

In 1968, Derksen bought some woodland near Reuver so that his staff and customers could relax in small tents. The park, De Lommerbergen, worked well so the tents were replaced with bungalows. In 1987, Center Parcs opened its first UK resort at Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. The brewer Scottish and Newcastle liked the idea - they would buy Center Parcs UK.

Center Parcs UK[change | change source]

In 2001, Scottish and Newcastle sold the Center Parcs UK to venture capitalists Mid Ocean. In December 2003 they sold the UK resorts to Arbor for £285 million. After it was put on the London Stock Exchange in May 2006, Center Parcs UK Group PLC was sold to Blackstone Group. It was changed into a private company. The chief executive Martin Dalby said that the company might make a fifth village. In 2004 it the company said it would be built near Woburn in Bedfordshire. They weren't allowed to build it but later they were allowed to.[1]

Center Parcs in Whinfell Forest was built and run by the Rank Organisation, the only people who had the same service as Center Parcs in the UK. After a few years it was sold to Center Parcs. Whinfell Forest is not built in the same way as other Center Parcs places there are some design differences including the exterior look of the lodges and the Subtropical Swimming Paradise (which is the pools complex) which has been likened to a butterfly shape.

Break prices include accommodation, unlimited use of the Subtropical Swimming Paradise and playgrounds. Meals, bike hire and activities are additional costs.

Republic of Ireland[change | change source]

In July 2016, Center Parcs was allowed by An Bord Pleanála (the Irish group which decides who can build things) to build the first Center Parcs in Ireland. The 395-acre resort will be built in Newcastle Wood, a forest near Ballymahon, County Longford. This is in the Republic of Ireland. The resort will be called 'Longford Forest' and will open in the summer of 2019.

Center Parcs Europe[change | change source]

In 2003, Scottish & Newcastle sold the sites on the main part of Europe to Pierre & Vacances (P&V) and DBCP, a German investment group. This was called Center Parcs Europe (CPE). P&V owned a big bungalow-holiday-maker, Gran Dorado Resorts, a Dutch company.[1]

CPE was in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The Dutch government[2] did not like the idea of combining Gran Dorado and Center Parcs, because it would be too big. After agreeing to get rid of some beds, CPE sold all but six Gran Dorado Resorts to Landal GreenParks.[3] Six parks were added to CenterParcs: Loohorst (NL), Port Zelande (NL), Zandvoort (NL), Weerterbergen (NL), Hochsauerland (D) and Heilbachsee (D).

In 2006, after the Blackstone Group bought Center Parcs UK plc, Pierre & Vacances said they would sell all of the CPE sites, if they could still run them. In January 2009, Sunparks was made as well as a Center Parcs in Europe, as a version which did not cost as much.

Operations and facilities[change | change source]

There are now 26 resorts in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany and the UK. None of the villages are the same. Visitors stay in lodges or bungalows, with trees and bushes around them. Park Zandvoort is different - it is in sand dunes. Some resorts have hotel rooms. The first village had swimming pool, shops and restaurants. A dome was made in 1980.[source?] It is called Subtropical Swimming Paradise in the UK. It has a swimming pool in it and other water play areas and pools. It is called 'Aqua Mundo' in Europe. Visitors can do lots of things, like go to restaurants, do activities, visit the spas, and go cycling.

All places[change | change source]

Center Parcs UK and Center Parcs Europe has of 26 resorts and 4 Sunparks. There are six new parks being made.

Country Name City / Village Region/County Year opened Bought by Center Parcs More information
 Netherlands Het Meerdal America Limburg 1971 -
 Netherlands De Huttenheugte Dalen Drenthe 1972 -
 Netherlands De Eemhof Zeewolde Flevoland 1980 - This was the first Center Parcs with an indoor pool. It was closed in May 2000 because a fire destroyed the plaza and pool. It was built again in March 2002.
 Netherlands De Kempervennen Westerhoven North Brabant 1983 -
 Netherlands Het Heijderbos Heijen Limburg 1986 -
 Netherlands Port Zélande Ouddorp South Holland 1990 2002
 Netherlands Limburgse Peel America Limburg 1980 2002 Used to be called Sunparks Limburgse Peel
 Netherlands Zandvoort Zandvoort North Holland 1989 2002 Used to be called Sunparks Zandvoort aan Zee
 Netherlands Sandur Emmen Drenthe 1999 2011 Taken over from Landal Greenparks; used to be called Sunparks Sandur Drenthe
 Belgium Erperheide Peer Limburg 1981 -
 Belgium De Vossemeren Lommel Limburg 1987 -
 Germany Eifel Gunderath Rhineland-Palatinate 1979 2002 Used to be called Sunparks Eifel
 Germany Nordseeküste Tossens Lower Saxony 1992 2002 Used to be called Sunparks Nordseeküste
 Germany Park Hochsauerland Medebach North Rhine-Westphalia 1994 2002
 Germany Bispinger Heide Bispingen Lower Saxony 1995 -
 Germany Bostalsee Nohfelden Saarland 2013 -
 France Les Bois-Francs Verneuil-sur-Avre Upper Normandy 1988 -
 France Les Hauts de Bruyères Chaumont-sur-Tharonne Centre-Val de Loire 1993 -
 France Le Lac d'Ailette Chamouille Picardy 2007 -
 France Les Trois Forêts Hattigny Lorraine 2010 -
 France Bois aux daims Les Trois-Moutiers, Morton Nouvelle-Aquitaine 2015 -
 United Kingdom Sherwood Forest Rufford (near Mansfield) Nottinghamshire 1987 -
 United Kingdom Elveden Forest Elveden Suffolk 1989 - It was shut in April 2002 because a fire destroyed the plaza. The pool was not damaged. It was opened again in July 2003 after the Village Square was built again
 United Kingdom Longleat Forest Warminster Wiltshire 1994 -
 United Kingdom Whinfell Forest Penrith Cumbria 1997 2002 Used to be called Oasis, bought from Rank Organisation
 United Kingdom Woburn Forest Millbrook Bedfordshire 2014 -
Parks called Sunparks
 Belgium Sunparks Oostduinkerke Oostduinkerke West Flanders 1981 2007
 Belgium De Haan De Haan West Flanders 1989 2007
 Belgium Sunparks Ardennen Vielsalm Luxembourg 1992 2007 Used to be called Sunparks Vielsalm
 Belgium Sunparks Kempense Meren Mol Antwerpen 1994 2007
Parks being made
 Germany Allgäu Leutkirch Baden Württemberg 2018 -
 France La Forêt de Chambaran Roybon Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes 2017 -
 France Forêt du Rousset Le Rousset Bourgogne-Franche-Comté 2019 -
 France Forêt de Poligny Poligny Bourgogne-Franche-Comté 2019 -
 France Domaine du Papetier Pindères, Beauziac Nouvelle Aquitaine 2019 -
 Ireland Longford Forest Ballymahon Longford 2019 -

Three Center Parcs sites were sold because they could not be made bigger. They are now part of Landal Greenparks. They are still used:

Country Name City / Village Region/County Year opened Year Sold
 Netherlands De Lommerbergen Reuver Limburg 1968 1996
 Netherlands Het Vennenbos Hapert North Brabant 1970 1994
 Netherlands De Berkenhorst Kootwijk Gelderland 1975 1990

Name differences[change | change source]

These things have different names in Europe and the UK:

Name in the UK Name in Europe
Subtropical Swimming Paradise Aqua Mundo
Jardin Des Sports/Sports Plaza Sports Hall
Plaza/Piazza/Village Square Market Dome
Lodges Cottages
Wild Water Rapids Wild River
Flumes and Slides Tobbogans
Leisure Bowl Bowling
Parc Market Daily Foodstore
Lakeside Apartments (Elveden Forest) Hotel du Lac (Les Bois-Francs)
Aqua Sana The Spa
The Pancake House Pancake Shop
A Woodland Lodge at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest (Nottinghamshire, UK) in 2018

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]