What once was the oldest theme park of Belgium, Dadipark

What once was the oldest theme park of Belgium, Dadipark

Dadipark

What once was the oldest theme park of Belgium, Dadipark

Once a famous theme park, now nothing more than a field of grass and a pond

October 31, 2011

What was the oldest theme park of Belgium? That was Dadipark, for sure. A truly magical place to explore after years of neglect. It was October 31, 2011 when we arrived at this location. At last we could check it off from our wish list.

As the days were growing shorter the night came quickly and darkness soon surrounded us completely. We parked the car at the back of the park so nobody could see it when the sun came up. My best friend Hannes was with me and as he can cook pretty good we had a delicious dinner on the table.

Yes, we had some luxury during our trip. First off it was a mobilhome Land Rover Defender made to accommodate 7 people with cooking furnace, a lot of storage room and more. But there was one thing we forgot… It was the day of Halloween!

All of a sudden we heard voices and the beam of a flashlight entered the window of the car. Scary, hell yes! I went out to check what was happening and quickly I realised it was October 31. All good, no panic, just some folks having fun exploring the park at night.

Next morning rise and shine for our own explore to come… it was so cool to explore this abandoned park with many attractions hidden behind a thick layer of trees. We missed quite a bit thanks to the Autumn season!

Let’s go back in time…

Anno 1950

Dadipark was a 12 hectare recreation park in the centre of Dadizele, a village in Belgium. Pastor Gaston Deweer opened the doors in 1950. Dadizele has been a hotspot among pilgrims since the 14th century. The playground for the kids of the pilgrims who served at the Basilica of Our Lady of Dadizele evolved into an independent theme park.

Big and modern attractions weren’t the main focus of the park but it was a low-profile and affordable park for children. In the spotlight stood an 800-metre long suspension bridge, the longest in Europe at that time. At its peak the park hosted up to 1 million visitors.

And now the sad part of the story…
At some point the park didn’t meet the safety requirements and parents rated it unsafe for their kids. As result Dadipark had to close in 2002 because of an incident on the Nautic Jet. Although several rescue plans were considered, the park was demolished in 2012.

Continue below for more history…

This 800-metre long suspension bridge was the highlight of the amusement park.

The brain behind

the child-powered attractions

Roger Beernaert, the man who almost entirely built all the attractions of Dadipark. His wife worked 10 years at the park during the summer and his daughter sold ice cream for the kids. It was like a family business. In the winter of 1956 Roger builds a suspension bridge, which was his most cherished masterpiece.

He made the newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ in July 2012 when the demolitions started.
Read the article here (in Dutch)

Hannes showing a sad face because this glorious location will soon be no more.

Red figures in the mid-1980s

In the mid-1980s the park became a commercial enterprise, but the number of visitors further decreased. Resulting in red figures.

The Super-Glissando with blue and yellow slides didn’t slide so good anymore. Proof tested by my friend Hannes by the way!

The Super-Glissando was still a nice attraction on this amazing day.

Karting circuit, no more karts are going to ride here ever again.

Anno 2000

In the year 2000, a tragic accident happened when a 9-year old kid from Kortrijk almost lost his arm in the attraction of the Nautic Jet. This was the last and most serious accident in Dadipark’s history followed by many complaints about the safety, resulting in a further significant decrease of visitors.

The Nautic Jet pictured below.

©2011 – Laurens Top

It was decided to close the park for renovations in 2002 which would last a year, but it never reopened ever since.

Due to financial difficulties and the tough competition from bigger theme parks, Dadipark was forced to close forever, although the company “NV Dadipark” still exists today.

Anno 2004

Since 2004, several companies showed interest in buying the park to convert it into a new theme park with modern attractions such as a wild water slide and an event centre, but the urban planning regulations were too strict to attract potential investors. The area is officially destined for daytime recreation, the access has to stay low-profile while only 15 to 20 % can be commercially used.

Several attempts to save the old Dadipark were made, but all of them failed to achieve their goal.

It was all about child-powered attractions, only non-child powered were the bumper cars and the train.

Me on the suspension bridge taking a photo with a tripod.

Anno 2011

In 2011, the group “Dadipark Blijft” (Dadipark Stays) was created to protect the park from disappearing very soon. Its purpose was to prevent this, but in July 2012, the demolition took place anyway. A Dutch company removed the asbestos from the buildings to tear them down afterwards.

Only the protected trees remained, nothing else was spared.

The municipal administration of Dadizele thought about converting the big do-it-yourself playground into a sports and leisure park, but it just remained an empty park.

It was a special feeling to be in this peculiar park, but hell yeah we had some fun!

Funny article by The Ghost Hunter.nl

The Dutch Ghost Hunters explored the park and found unusual activity there…

Read their full article here

A brief history of Belgian theme park Dadipark

‘waar kind koning is | where child is king’


References:

  1.  Dadipark on Wikipedia. Retreived from https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dadipark. Accessed on August 12, 2018.
  2.  Dadipark, waar kinderen de koning waren. Retrieved from https://www.hullabaloo.be/recreatief/dadipark. Published on March 22, 2005 by hullabaloo.be.
  3.  Roger Beernaert ziet met sloop Dadipark levenswerk eindigen. ‘Mijn levenswerk gaat tegen de vlakte’. Retrieved from https://www.nieuwsblad.be/cnt/dmf20120718_00227151. Published on July 19, 2012 by Arne Vansteenkiste on nieuwsblad.be.

Which abandoned theme park do you like the most and what is your story about it? Share below!

© Photos taken by me and Hannes Hulstaert, unless stated otherwise.

» Written by Alan who goes under the name of twin-rhino | Published on August 14, 2018

» RELATED POSTS

What once was the oldest theme park of Belgium, Dadipark

Ngong Ping Tea Garden, Hong Kong

Ngong Ping

Tea Garden

Ngong Ping Tea Garden, Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s only tea garden long gone

Hong Kong had just one tea garden to date and it was located on Lantau Island near the Mook Yu Mountain, called Ngong Ping Tea Garden.

It was owned by a cement maker for over a decade.  Thanks to the altitude of 400 metres and the humid air all year round, the tea grew well and could be harvested twice a year.

Following a brief history of the tea garden.

First Generation: Brook Bernacchi

The tea garden was previously owned by an English lawyer named Brook Bernacchi. In the 1940s he was assigned as the British Queen’s Counselor to Hong Kong. In order to create job opportunities for prisoners who were set free, Brook Bernacchi came up with the idea to open this Tea Garden and let them make their own living.

Brook Bernacchi

b. 22nd January 1922, d. 22nd September 1996

He was born in London and arrived in Hong Kong in 1945 as advisor to Major General FW Festing. “One of Hong Kong’s early democrats, he was an important moderate political voice in the colony from the 1950s to the 1970s”.

“In 1947 Bernacchi bought 200 acres of land at a former nunnery in Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, and built a tea plantation on 70 acres of it, producing a tea that he sold under the name Lotus Brand.”

Second Generation: Chan Woon Chi

The only tea plantation of Hong Kong is located in Lantau Island. Chan Woon Chi is the master of tea plantation. He used to be a contractor and took over the plantation. He named it simply the Tea Garden almost 18 years ago.

The main products of this tea plantation are green tea and oolong tea. The process of producing oolong tea is complex and time-consuming. Usually, Mr. Chan would choose to produce green tea. In the morning he picks tea leaves, and then he prepares the tea leaves for several hours.

Find out the process of making tea here

Mr. Chan is very proud of the quality of his tea. Some Indian used to visit his plantation and they left some tea trees to him. He says, “India tea cannot compare with my tea!” he also proclaims, “the elevation of Lantau Peak is 900 m, the elevation of my tea plantation is 600 m. This height is very suitable for planting tea.”

The Future of the Tea Garden

The biggest problem of Mr. Chan is that he does not have enough people to help him. Some of his friends used to come here to help him pick tea leaves, but they are aging. Their children do not want to carry on the planting career. The labor cost of Hong Kong is high. Mr. Chan cannot make a lot of money. Talking about the future of his tea plantation, his biggest wish is keeping the plantation. He makes a plan to promote his tea plantation and restaurant. He wants young people who visit his plantation can experience the process of producing tea. He will teach them how to pick and fire tea leaves. The next generation will experience the charm of traditional tea culture.

 


 

References:

The Secret Garden. Retrieved from https://aria927.wordpress.com/tea-garden/. Group name EACA – Evangeline, Alfred, Chris, Aria. Ngong Ping Tea Garden. Accessed June 25, 2018.
Brook Bernacchi. Retrieved from https://industrialhistoryhk.org/brook-bernacchi-tea-estate-ngong-ping-western-resident-lantau-island/. The Industrial History of Hong Kong Group. This article was first posted on 30th April 2016.

Wisdom Path

38 timber columns with a height of 8 to 10 metres each symbolises the infinity symbol (8).

Why is it there and what is written on them?

These columns are located near the Po Lin Bhuddist Monastery, which was established in 1906 by three Chinese monks. At that time it was simply known as “The Big Hut” (大茅蓬 Tai Mao Pung). It changed to its current name in 1924.

Each one has a Chinese inscription and originates from a 260-word prayer used by Bhuddists. It is the Heart Sutra.

Origin of the Wisdom Path?

The sutra’s Sanskrit title, Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya, can be translated as “The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom“. The Heart Sūtra is often cited as the best-known and most popular Buddhist scripture.

More about the Wisdom Path

Tian Tan Buddha

Also known as the Big Buddha, a large bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, constructed started in 1990 and was completed in 1993. It symbolises the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and faith and is a major centre of Buddhism in Hong Kong.

Height: 34 metres (112 ft)

Weight: 250 metric tons

Material: 202 bronze pieces

Take: 268 steps to get there

Orientation: Faces north instead of south

The figure can be seen across the bay from as far away as Macau on a clear day. The Buddha’s right hand is raised, representing the removal of affliction, while the left rests open on his lap in a gesture of generosity.

The Tea Garden nowadays

I went to Hong Kong in December 2017 and visited Lantau Island to check out Ngong Ping and what did I find there…

Empty houses on the path to the YHA Ngong Ping SG Davis Youth Hostel, which I booked for 2 days. 1 day was enough to see everything really, but the scenery is beautiful for hiking or a visit to the monastery.

These houses are originally from the tea garden and are empty as can be, surrounded by plants and trees they kind of disappear in the background. Yet still visible to many hikers and backpackers as they are close to the main hiking road. No more windows, no more doors, you just walk right in and check it out yourself. Can be a little bit eerie to enter but with a companion it is quite alright.

So there’s unfortunately no future for the tea garden…

» Written by Alan who goes under the name of twin-rhino | Published on June 27, 2018

» RELATED POSTS

What once was the oldest theme park of Belgium, Dadipark

Spreepark, Germany

Germany's Spreepark

Spreepark, Germany

Spreepark

This entertainment park opened its doors in 1969 under the name Kulturpark Plänterwald right next to the Spree river.
It was the only constant entertainment park in the GDR, and the only such park in either East or West Berlin.

Under the Spreepark GmbH in 1991 some new attractions were added and visitor numbers reached 1.5 million per annum. Later the concept was changed and the park was gradually transformed into a more Western-style amusement park.
Entrance fee: adults: 29 DM, children: 27 DM.

Since 1999 the park has had to cope with large debts. The increase in the admission fee to 30 DM per person and a lack of parking space contributed to a drop in visitor numbers until in 2001 only 400,000 visitors entered the park.
In 2001 Spreepark GmbH announced that they were insolvent, which led to the closure of the site in 2002.

© Video by Hannes Hulstaert

Our visit

July 14, 2014 | 12 years after closure

On route to Poland from Belgium we crossed Germany, the holy grail for urban exploration. Simply put because of its long and exiting history. Although not all of it is positive but as an urban explorer does love to explore such impressive places it is a real adventure to dig in history and do research about it and see it with their own eyes.

Same for this abandoned theme park, there’s little known about its history although they still have a website spreepark.de.

After we got in we stumbled upon the Santa Fe Express, located close to the main entrance of the park. A pity this train had to suffer like this, despite all the years it still looked like a decent train. A little bit paint and you’re all set.
Its track was long and exciting, running close near the fence and later passing the water rapids called Grand Canyon while going through a curvy tunnel.

Then there was the Spreeblitz roller coaster… Ready for take off at the launch pad. A funny selfie taken on the last seat of the cart made the scene complete. We were having a lot of fun!

The original map of the Spreepark

 

1. Haupteingang 21. Wildwasserbahn „Grand Canyon“ 41. Kindereisenbahn 2
2. Maskottchen-Fotopoint 22. Autofahrt „Monte Carlo Drive“ 42. Schießstand Indianer
3. Santa Fe-Express 23. Imbisspavillon 43. Pizzeria
4. Las Vegas Country 24. Weinverkostung „Pallhuber“ 44. Verlosung
5. Dönerimbiss 25. Kanalfahrt „Canale Grande“ 45. Haribo-Markt
6. Rollover „Jill“ 26. Eispavillon 46. Riesenrad
7. Fernlenkboote 1 27. Achterbahn „Spreeblitz“ 47. Amphitheater
8. Brummel 28. Chapeau Claque 48. Schiffsschaukel „Pirat“
9. Bühne vor der Bank 29. Bäckerei/Café 49. Kinderkarussell Bummi
10. Steak-House 30. Schwanen-Fahrt 50. „Kentucky Ride“
11. 180° Kino „Cinema 2000“ 31. Dino-World 51. Kinderbühne
12. Imbiss 32. Minitruck-Fahrt 52. Grillpavillon
13. Flic Flac 33. Schießstand Pirat 53. Spielplatz
14. Loopingbahn „Mega-Loop“ 34. Fernlenkboote 2 54. Altberliner Oldtimer
15. Achterbahn „Fun Express“ 35. Imbisspavillon „Storchennest“ 55. Imbisspavillon „Goldhähnchen“
16. Kindereisenbahn 1 36. Piccadilly Circus Chapiteau 56. Crêpes- und Waffelpavillon
17. „Spider“ (Polyp) 37. Merry Old England 57. Walzerfahrt
18. Imbisspavillon 38. Greifer-Pavillon 58. Fliegender Teppich „1001 Nacht“
19. „Butterfly“ (Twister) 39. Achterbahn/Bobbahn „Jet Star“ 59. Kettenflieger
20. Baby-Flug 40. Riesenrutsche „Wellental“ 60. „Roting Cup“
© https://berliner-spreepark.de/

© Published on Dec 31, 2012 by Rasendampfer01

© Published on Apr 29, 2014 by Daniel Becket

» Written by Alan who goes under the name of twin-rhino | Published on June 25, 2018

» RELATED POSTS

The sanatorium for curing tuberculosis

The sanatorium for curing tuberculosis

The sanatorium

for curing tuberculosis

 

The sanatorium for curing tuberculosis

A sanatorium is a medical facility for long-term illness, most typically associated with treatment of tuberculosis (TB).

a.k.a. the “Great White Plague”

What is tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB).

Consumption, phthisis or Miliary tuberculosis, scrofula, Pott’s disease, and the White Plague refer to tuberculosis throughout history. The historical term “consumption” came about due to the weight loss.

La Miseria by Cristóbal Rojas – Obra de arte, Pintura de Cristóbal Rojas (1857–1890) Galería de Arte Nacional, Caracas- Venezuela. – 150 Pinturas Antológicas. Juan Calzadilla. Fundación Museos Nacionales, Galería de Arte Nacional, Caracas, 2012, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2566264

Ways to cure TB?

The advancement of scientific understanding of tuberculosis and its contagious nature created the need for institutions to house sufferers.

Tuberculosis facilities came to life as early as the 1840s. George Bodington proposed a dietary, rest, and medical care program for a hospital he planned to find in Maney, England. After numerous attacks from medical experts, especially articles in The Lancet, disheartened Bodington and he had to turn his plans into housing the insane. Read his essay here.

George Bodington (1799–1882) was a British general practitioner and pulmonary specialist.

Around the same time in the United States, in late October and early November 1842, Dr. John Croghan, the owner of Mammoth Cave, brought 15 tuberculosis sufferers into the cave in the hope of curing the disease with the constant temperature and purity of the cave air. Patients were lodged in stone huts, and each was supplied with a slave to bring meals.

Dr. John Croghan (1790–1849) was an American medical doctor who helped establish the United States Marine Hospital of Louisville and organized some tuberculosis medical experiments and tours for Mammoth Cave, in Kentucky (U.S.) during 1839–1849.

By late January, early February 1843, two patients were dead and the rest had left the Mammoth Cave. Departing patients died anywhere from three days to three weeks after resurfacing; John Croghan died of tuberculosis at his Louisville residence in 1849.

Two patients were dead and the rest had left the Mammoth Cave. Departing patients died anywhere from three days to three weeks after resurfacing.

Efforts to end TB

On March 1, 2018 I received an email from a Health Educator with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Tuberculosis Control Program and I was surprised to read it…

World TB Day is at the end of March and provides the opportunity to raise awareness about this deadly disease. To commemorate this day, my program has decided to create a display of historical TB sanatoriums to show how far we have come in terms of TB prevention and treatment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) organises campaigns every year to commemorate World TB Day. This year it was held on March 24, 2018.

Mayo Clinic states the following as possible treatments for TB

Treatment

Medications are the cornerstone of tuberculosis treatment. But treating TB takes much longer than treating other types of bacterial infections.

With tuberculosis, you must take antibiotics for at least six to nine months. The exact drugs and length of treatment depend on your age, overall health, possible drug resistance, the form of TB (latent or active) and the infection’s location in the body.

Recent research suggests that a shorter term of treatment — four months instead of nine — with combined medication may be effective in keeping latent TB from becoming active TB. With the shorter course of treatment, people are more likely to take all their medication, and the risk of side effects is lessened. Studies are ongoing.

Most common TB drugs

If you have latent tuberculosis, you may need to take just one type of TB drug. Active tuberculosis, particularly if it’s a drug-resistant strain, will require several drugs at once The most common medications used to treat tuberculosis include:

  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)
  • Ethambutol (Myambutol)
  • Pyrazinamide

© Mayo Clinic

History of the sanatorium

Timeline

1517
1517

Lipik springs

Lipik springs

Lipik, Croatia | The Lipik Sanatorium was mentioned as far back as 1517, under the name of “Lipik springs”.

Image © http://www.bolnica-lipik.hr/?vrsta=3&id=117 | Banja Lipik

1836
1836

Sanatoria in the modern sense

Sanatoria in the modern sense

Sutton Coldfield, England | George Bodington opened a sanatorium, “the Driffold House” in 1836. You can find his essay “On the Treatment and Cure of Pulmonary Consumption” at the topic of ‘why is a sanatorium needed’.

Image ©  | Treatment and Cure of Pulmonary Consumption

1854
1854

Brehmersche Heilanstalt für Lungenkranke

Brehmersche Heilanstalt für Lungenkranke

Görbersdorf, Silesia | In 1863, Hermann Brehmer opened the Brehmersche Heilanstalt für Lungenkranke in Görbersdorf (Sokołowsko), for the treatment of tuberculosis. Patients were exposed to plentiful amounts of high altitude, fresh air, and good nutrition.

Image © http://fotopolska.eu/769703,foto.html | 1879, Dr Brehmer’s Heilanstalten w Sokołowsku (reklama obiektu)

1882
1882

Dr. Robert Koch identified the tubercle bacillus as the cause of the disease

Dr. Robert Koch identified the tubercle bacillus as the cause of the disease

Every year on 24 March, World TB Day commemorates the day in 1882 that Dr. Robert Koch identified the tubercle bacillus as the cause of the disease. Despite advances in modern medicine, TB is still endemic in many parts of the world, causing nearly 1.5 million deaths every year.

Image © | Child patients lying outside in beds on a terrace outside the Hospital of Alton, Hampshire, in the sun as part of their therapy | 1937, Wellcome Library, London

1885
1885

Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium, USA in 1885

Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium, USA in 1885

Was the first such establishment in North America, USA by Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau.

Image © http://museum.aarc.org  | 1922 Trudeau’s Cottage Sanitarium

1911
1911

Saskatchewan Anti-Tuberculosis League in 1911

Saskatchewan Anti-Tuberculosis League in 1911

Canada 1900, it was Saskatchewan’s first health charity. Peter McAra was the first President and Dr. William Hart was the first Medical Superintendent.

Image © https://sk.lung.ca/about-us/who-we-are/history/timeline | Saskatchewan Anti-Tuberculosis League in 1911

1943
1943

The cure for TB – 1943

The cure for TB – 1943

Graduate student Albert Schatz isolated streptomycin — a bactericidal antibiotic effective against a virulent strain of tuberculosis — in a tiny basement laboratory at Rutgers University.

Image © Wikimedia Commons | An October Scene- The Young Consumptive, from “Le Journal Illustré” no. 34 (October 2-9, 1864)

Sanatoria in Belgium

Personally I know 3 sanatoria here in Belgium, I visited all 3 of them. One is already converted into a retirement home, being Sanatorium Joseph Lemaire. The 2 other buildings are still abandoned and very popular among urban explorers with traces of tags and more broken windows after each visit. A sanatorium is a huge complex with large rooms and many windows to get lots of fresh air and sunlight. Located far from the city and surrounded by nature this is the perfect place to cure the disease. Back then, medicines didn’t exist yet and the sanatorium was thought to cure the sufferers.

Preventorium for the kids of Dolhain

 

This old art-deco hospital was a tuberculosis preventorium for kids. In the 1970s this hospital had 150 beds. Preventoria differed slightly from sanatoria in that they catered more specifically to patients with an early state of infection. The Dolhain preventorium nestled along the Weser and the railway line Liege-Welkenraedt, knew its best days in the 70’s. Due to advances in medicine, that almost completely eradicated tuberculosis, the domain lost its purpose. The hospital was sold in the 1990s to a German company that planned lofts in the building. Now, many years later, the plans still haven’t been carried out.

Outside the hospital stands an old fire truck. The Magirus-Deutz with a 30 meter ladder was used years ago by the local fire brigade.

Image © Pieter-Jan

Sanatorium Du Basil

 

The construction of Sanatorium Du Basil, a complex of around 1.2 million francs, started in 1900 and occupied 56 hectares of usable space for curing tuberculosis. The first patients were admitted three years later in 1903. 113 beds were provided for men from Liège at first. Later the facility was opened for women too. Located at a remote area from the nearby city at a height of 400 metres surrounded by a coniferous forest. Fresh air as well as quiet and peace should help curing the disease. The site had its own water supply and even their own graveyard to prevent infection from tuberculosis as it was a major concern.

After integration of another hospital this site closed in 2010. It became a shelter for asylum seekers and was finally abandoned due to cost concerns. Since then it stands in decay.

“Not to spot with the disease but rather a picture to illustrate how he thought it should look like.”

Sanatorium Joseph Lemaire

 

This sanatorium is situated in Tombeek (Overijse), Vlaams-Brabant. Built in modernism and Nieuwe Bouwen style by architect Maxim Brunfaut. Designed in 1937 by Maxim and Fernand and commissioned by the socialist insurance La Prévoyance Sociale and named after the director of that time.

» Written by Alan who goes under the name of twin-rhino | Published on November 13, 2017

» RELATED POSTS

Zillion Antwerp – dance club facts & photos

Zillion Antwerp – dance club facts & photos

Zillion Antwerp – dance club facts & photos

Zillion

A nostalgic place for many party people,

is hereby gone,

forever.

Frank Verstraeten turned a polyvalent space into the Zillion in 1997.

Due to criminal activities and other assumptions he had to close his world-famous disco in 2002.

In-depth interview

With Frank Verstraeten.

→ In-depth interview by Frank Verstraeten in Dutch.

A night @ Zillion

Adult Content! I am not the owner of this video.

→ 18+ only, adult content! If negative, listen only to the sound of Zillion…

Zillion Muzic

By Wim Van Dessel.

Zillion Hiztory

Dutch text copyrighted by www.zillion-memories.be 

Aankoop Zillion-gebouw

1996

Frank Verstraeten koopt samen met enkele zakenpartners de sporthal “Going Out” in 1996 aan de Jan Van Gentstraat 4 te Antwerpen, met als bestemming een polyvalente zaal. De bouw duurde een jaar en uiteindelijk werd het een van de grootste en meest technologische discotheek van de Benelux. Op 2 oktober 1997 wordt de naam Zillion gedeponeerd bij het Benelux-Merkenbureau in Den Haag, Nederland.

Purchase of Zillion Building

1996

In 1996, Frank Verstraeten and his business partners buy the “Going Out” sports hall at Jan Van Gentstraat 4 in Antwerp. The destination mentioned in the building permit reads: multipurpose hall. One year is spent building what will become the biggest and most technologically advanced nightclub of the Benelux. On 2 October 1997, the name “Zillion” is deposited with the Benelux Trade Mark Office at The Hague.

Opening van de Zillion

1997

In 1997 gingen de deuren van de hypermoderne megadiscotheek in Antwerpen Zuid open. In een mum van tijd kreeg de Zillion zo’n 5000 fuifbeesten tijdens het weekend over de vloer. Het was toen “the place to be” van de Benelux en werd wereldwijd bekend.

Opening of Zillion Building

1997

The ultramodern mega dancing “Zillion” opens its doors in the Antwerp city centre. Every weekend, 5000 party goers come down to the place to be of the Benelux.

De Zillion-spin

The Zillion Spin © Photo by Hannes Hulstaert

De Zillion-spin

De Zillion stond bekend voor zijn spectaculaire “spin”, een gigantische stalen constructie gemonteerd aan het plafond boven de dansvloer die uit 7 armen bestond en volledig kon ronddraaien. Aan deze armen hingen beweegbare trussen stampvol discoverlichting. De spin was ontwikkeld door de firma Techno-construct uit Dendermonde.

The Zillion Spin

Zillion was famous for its spectacular “spin” (Dutch for spider), a gigantic construction of steel mounted on the roof above the dance floor.  It existed of 7 arms which could spin around completely. Rotatable disco lights were connected on the arms. The spin was designed by company Techno-construct from Dendermonde.

1e sluiting Zillion

maart 1998

Na nog geen jaar wordt de discotheek al in verband gebracht met criminele activiteiten, zoals verboden wapenbezit, onvergund opslag van vuurwerk, omkoping, witwasoperaties en fiscale fraude, heling, handel met voorkennis, openbare zedenschennis en handtastelijk gedrag. Als gevolg wordt de Zillion door burgemeester Leona Detiège gesloten in maart 1998. De Raad van State annuleert deze beslissing wegens procedurefouten. Met 4 stemmen tegen 2 besluit het Antwerpse schepencollege dat de Zillion weer open mag. Frank Verstraeten komt het stadsbestuur tegemoet met een aantal aanpassingen. Zo wordt het parkeerprobleem opgelost door een shuttledienst in te leggen vanaf de Scheldekade en worden er voldoende nooduitgangen gebouwd.

1st Closure of Zillion

March 1998

Burgomaster Leona Detiège closes the Zillion. The Council of State cancels this decision owing to procedural errors. The Antwerp City Council decides by 4 votes against 2 the reopening of the Zillion. Frank Verstraeten fulfils the requirements of the City Council with a number of adaptations. He solves the parking problem by providing sufficient emergency exits and a shuttle service to and from the Scheldt quay.

Evacuation of the Zillion on 17 October 1998 © Zillion Memories

1 jaar Zillion

17 oktober 1998

Discotheek Zillion bestaat 1 jaar, maar tijdens deze avond wordt na een valse bommelding de Zillion helemaal ontruimd. Het straatbeeld wordt gevuld met meer dan 4.000 bezoekers en moeten wachten in de koude.

Zillion Exists 1 Year

17 October 1998

During the “1 Year of Zillion” night, the Zillion is completely evacuated after a false bomb threat. More than 4.000 visitors have to wait outside in the cold.

MTV Music Awards

13 november 1998

Prins Laurent is eregast in de Zillion ter ere van de uitreiking van de MTV Music Awards.

MTV Music Awards

13 November 1998

MTV Music Awards ceremony with Prince Laurent as guest of honour.

Millenniumfeest

10 januari 2000

Antwerpse stadsambtenaren mogen de Zillion gratis gebruiken voor de organisatie van hun “Millenniumfeest”. Op de vraag van buurtbewoners om dit feest te verbieden, antwoordt burgemeester Detiège dat de stad dat wel zou kunnen, “maar we moeten dat ook nog willen”.

Millennium Party

10 January 2000

The Antwerp civil servants are allowed to use the Zillion for free for the organisation of their “Millennium Party”. At the request of the local residents to forbid this party, burgomaster Detiège answers that the city could forbid it, “but we also have to want to forbid it”.

Zillion @ Telefacts

21 februari 2001

Het Telefacts-programma op VTM zendt een reportage uit van Zundays @ Zillion, de erotische avonden in de Zillion. De discotheek wordt alweer in een slecht daglicht gesteld.

Zillion @ Telefacts

21 February 2001

The Telefacts show on VTM broadcasts a commentary of Zundays @ Zillion, the erotic nights at the Zillion. Again the nightclub is put in a bad light.

Sluiting Zillion: het begin van het einde

2001

Het politieke landschap in Antwerpen verandert en de politieke beschermheren van de Zillion verdwijnen van het toneel. Na de eerdere mislukte poging tot sluiting in 1998 is het stadsbestuur vastbesloten om de Zillion deze keer definitief te sluiten. Zillion wordt na gerechtelijke onderzoeken in december 2001 gesloten met een bezwarend beslag door het Parket van Antwerpen. De Zillion zou opgestart zijn met geld verkregen uit fiscale fraude en ook de bouwovertredingen in het gebouw werden niet geregulariseerd. Ondanks het megasucces, wil de stad geen megadiscotheek in een woonzone. Wettelijk houdt het beslag de exploitatie van het complex niet tegen en even is er sprake van een heropening op 19 januari 2002.

Closure of Zillion: the Beginning of the End

2001

The political landscape in Antwerp changes and the political protectors of the Zillion disappear from the scene. After the first failed attempt to close the Zillion in 1998, the City Council is now committed to definitively close the Zillion this time. After legal inquiries, the Zillion is closed in December 2001 with sequestration by the Public Prosecutor of Antwerp. The Zillion would have been established using money obtained from fiscal fraud and the building infringements were not regulated. Despite its mega success, the city does not want a mega disco in a residential area. Legally, the sequestration does not stop the exploitation of the premises and for a while a reopening is planned on 19 January 2002.

Openbare verkoop inboedel

februari 2002

De heropening op 19 januari 2002 gaat dan toch niet door. De inboedel van de Zillion wordt in februari openbaar verkocht. De merknaam en het gebouw gaan nog niet onder de hamer. De verkoop brengt 570.000 euro op. De merknaam Zillion wordt in 2003 voor 26.000 EUR verkocht aan August Verbeek (bekend van discotheek Reflex).

Public Sale of Moveables

February 2002

The reopening on 19 January 2002 is cancelled. The moveables are sold publicly in February. The brand name and the building are not put under the hammer yet. The sale raised 570.000 euros. The brand name “Zillion” is sold in 2003 for 26.000 euros to August Verbeeck (known from disco “Reflex”).

Zillion on/off

2002 – 2005

Zillion heropent af en toe zonder vergunning in de vorm van kleinschalige privéfeesten, de MFMPP oftewel Mega Fou Minded Private Party. De politie gedoogt deze feestjes grotendeels aangezien deze kleinschalig zijn en weinig op voorhand worden aangekondigd. Frank woont nog altijd in zijn flat naast de discotheek en zijn garage wordt de inkomhal.

Volgens geruchten hing er in die periode nog heel wat apparatuur die op de openbare verkoop niet verkocht geraakte. In 2005 worden de gebouwen dan definitief verbeurd verklaard en is het definitief afgelopen met feesten in Zillion.

Zillion On/Off

2002 – 2005

Zillion reopens every now and then without licence for small scale private parties, the MFMPP or Mega Fou Minded Private Party. The police tolerates these parties primarily because they are small scale and announced at short notice. Frank is still living in his apartment next to the disco and his garage is used as entrance.

According to rumours, there was still a lot of equipment in that period that had not been sold at the public sale. In 2005, the buildings are definitively forfeited and the parties in Zillion have definitively come to an end.

Zillion Reunion Lommel

24 april 2004

Met een capaciteit van 6300 personen organiseert Frank Verstraeten een reunion party in De Soeverein te Lommel. Naast de Zillion-sound is er natuurlijk ook weer heel veel aandacht voor de lichtshow en ook nieuw is het 3D-concept.

Zillion Reunion Lommel

24 April 2004

Frank Verstraeten organises a Reunion party in De Soeverein at Lommel with a capacity of 6300 persons. Besides the Zillion sound, again e great deal of attention is devoted to the light show and new is also the 3D concept.

Zillion Beach

2006

Het volk wil nog steeds Zillion-feesten. Frank organiseert in 2006 een grote Zillion Beach party.

Zillion Beach

2006

The people still want Zillion parties. In 2006, Frank organises a big Zillion Beach Party.

Zillion Spullen

2006 – heden

Enkele Zillion-spullen veranderen van eigenaar. Op 2dehands.be passeren onder andere de computermeubels uit het cybercafé, de trussen die aan de spin hingen en een aantal tafels.

Zillion Things

2006 – present

Some Zillion things change owner. The computer furniture from the cyber café, the trusses that were hanging from the spider and a number of tables pass by on 2dehands.be, a Belgian online shop for used products.

Zillion wordt verkocht

2010

Stad Antwerpen koopt het Zillion-gebouw en betaalt hiervoor 1,7 miljoen euro.

Zillion is Sold

2010

The city of Antwerp buys the Zillion premises in exchange for a purchase price of 1.7 million euros.

Zillion @ Sportpaleis

13 maart 2015

Helemaal onverwacht wordt plots een nieuwe Zillion-facebookpagina en website gelanceerd. De meeste mensen denken dat er een nieuwe Zillion-discotheek komt. Dat is natuurlijk onmogelijk in het verzuurde België en sowieso zijn megadiscotheken over hun hype heen. Frank en zijn team kondigen een grootse party aan in het Sportpaleis, Relive the vibe with the original cast. Frank is sinds 7 januari 2015 terug eigenaar van de Zillion-merknaam voor een periode van 10 jaar.

Zillion @ Sportpaleis

13 March 2015

Suddenly and completely unexpectedly a new Zillion Facebook page and website are launched. Most people think that a new Zillion disco will be established. This is of course impossible in the embittered Belgium and the hype of mega discos is also over. Frank and his team announce Relive the vibe with the original cast, a large-scale party in the Sportpaleis. Since 7 January 2015, Frank is again owner of the Zillion brand name for a period of 10 years.

Zillion @ Sportpaleis

19 maart 2016

Editie The legend strikes back.

Zillion @ Sportpaleis

19 March 2016

The legend strikes back Edition.

© Google Earth view of Zillion

Zillion verdwijnt uit het straatbeeld

Eind 2016

In december start de afbraak van het Zillion-gebouw. Wie Antwerpen binnenreed, zag de Zillion altijd knipogen naast het gerechtsgebouw. Heel wat geïnteresseerden, urban explorers en fotografen komen nog een laatste kijkje nemen. Wat mij altijd zal bijblijven, was hoe intact de main room nog was. Een grondige kuisbeurt, vervangen van het parket, herstellen van het beweegbaar podium en de zaal was weer (polyvalent) inzetbaar! Eind 2016 wordt ook de website “Zillion memories” in het leven geroepen. Want Zillion zal nooit verdwijnen en voor altijd in onze harten voortbestaan.

Zillion Disappears form the Streetscape

End of 2016

The demolition of the Zillion building starts in December. Driving into Antwerp, you always saw Zillion winking next to the court house. Many interested people, urban explorers and photographers come down to have a last look at it. I will always remember how intact the main room still was. The room only needed some thorough cleaning, replacement of the floor, repair of the moveable stage and could have been used for multiple purposes again! By the end of 2016, the website “Zillion memories” is created. Zillion will never disappear, but live forever in our hearts.

Zillion @ Sportpaleis

17 februari 2017

Zillion komt voor een laatste keer naar het Sportpaleis met de editie The final rave.

Zillion @ Sportpaleis

17 February 2017

Zillion comes to the Sportpaleis for the last time with the edition of The final rave.

Zillion Zundays @ The Ark

augustus 2017

Zillion komt – verrassend – terug met het Zundays-concept op The Ark, een dance-festival op een cruiseschip.

Zillion Zundays @ The Ark

August 2017

Zillion returns – surprisingly – with the Zundays-concept at The Ark, a dance festival on a cruise ship.

Zillion in Costa! – Nederlandse komische Film

2001

De film is geregisseerd door Johan Nijenhuis uit Nederland. Slechts 35 draaidagen waren nodig om de film te maken. De meerderheid werd opgenomen in de Spaanse badstad Salou, maar deze filmscène van de schuimparty was toch gefilmd in de voormalig Belgische discotheek Zillion te Antwerpen Zuid.

Text
From Wikipedia and me – https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa!_(film)

Video
From the Dutch film Costa! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5II806b4Sv4

Zillion en de Vengaboys

October 1998

Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!! is een single van de Nederlandse popgroep Vengaboys. Het was de vijfde single, afkomstig van het debuutalbum Up And Down – The Party Album. Het nummer werd in oktober 1998 uitgebracht en stond nog geen maand later vier weken bovenaan de Top 40.

Text
From Wikipedia and me – https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boom,_Boom,_Boom,_Boom!!

Video
From the Original music video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llyiQ4I-mcQ

Zillion gaat tegen de vlakte

10 januari 2017

Zillion gaat officieel tegen de vlakte en verdwijnt voor goed van het straatbeeld om plaats te maken voor het exclusieve project “The Residence”.

Zillion goes down

10 January 2017

Zillion goes officially to the ground and disappears for good from the streetscene to make place for the exclusive project “The Residence”.

“Zillion” DE FILM

2019 – 2020

Eindelijk is het zover… een film over de megadiscotheek Zillion is de aantocht. De Belgische regisseur Robin Pront onder andere bekend van de films D’Ardennen en De Premier met een top no-nonsensestijl als houvast heeft grootse plannen om de oude befaamde discotheek Zillion in beeld te brengen.

Text & Photo
© Robin Pront
From HLN and me – https://www.hln.be/showbizz/film/opnames-zillion-film-met-matteo-simoni-als-dennis-black-magic-starten-in-2019~ac4fa3d8

Video
https://atv.be/nieuws/video-robin-pront-maakt-film-over-de-zillion-57683

» Written by Alan who goes under the name of twin-rhino | Published on March 19, 2017

» RELATED POSTS

The Red Star Train – a collection of historical trains

The Red Star Train – a collection of historical trains

The Red Star Train

The Red Star Train – a collection of historical trains

The Red Star Train

A collection of historical trains in Budapest

A picture of an abandoned train with a star of the Soviet Union on its nose is not something you see every day.

Quickly figured out that its location was Budapest, Hungary and that this beauty was long forgotten glory of a past soviet era. So it came easily to my mind to travel to this country and have a blast of a good time exploring not one but many old relics of trains.

My trip to Hungary was great and those trains were real killer beasts to take cool pictures of.

MÁV class 301 Steam Train

One of Europe’s most powerful express train locomotive.

Build date: 1913

Configuration: 4-6-2 “Pacific” steam locomotive
Four leading wheels on two axles, six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles and two trailing wheels on one axle. The 4-6-2 locomotive became almost globally known as a Pacific type.

Total weight: 84.7 tonnes

MÁV class 424 Steam Train

Double-chimneyed, superheated machine, nicknamed Buffalo and Nurmi.

Build date: 1924–1958

Configuration: 4-8-0 in Whyte notation
Four leading wheels on two axles, usually in a leading truck or bogie, eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles and no trailing wheels. Total production: 514 pieces in Hungary alone.

Total weight: 137.7 tonnes

Baleset [ˈbɒlɛʃɛt]

Noun

baleset ‎(plural balesetek)

  1. accident (befalling, mishap, casualty)

There stood this strange truck in front of the old train hangar, with the word Baleset written backwards so people could read it without too much effort through their rear-view mirrors.

MÁV – Magyar Államvasutak or Hungarian State Railways

The first steam locomotive railway line was opened on 15 July 1846 between Pest and Vác, which is regarded as birth date of the Hungarian railways.

The Romantic poet Sándor Petőfi rode on the first train and wrote an occasional poem, predicting that rails would connect Hungary like blood vessels in the human body.

A Hungarian-overhauled jet-powered snow blower

A powerful but homely creature, the Hungarian-overhauled Snowzilla sounds like 10,000 hair dryers running at once and resembles a cross between an aardvark and a tollbooth.

It sits on railroad wheels, weighs 26,000 pounds (11,79 tonnes), and measures 8 by 12 by 27 feet (2,44 by 3,66 by 8,23 metres) — though most of that length is taken up by its elongated snout and defers from type of engine used.

Its thirst for fuel is so great — it guzzles 900 gallons in a single run — that a tanker truck must follow it from station to station, depending on which type of snow blower the kerosene fuel tank can be mounted onto the machine.

Hungary

A beautiful country to travel to! Polite people, good food, interesting architecture, tempting landscapes and nature, and so much more.

Hungary was my second solo trip and was so great I returned a second time in July 2017 with my friend Korneel.

Read more about my 14 best places to visit in Hungary in the link below.

The Basilica of Esztergom, Szent István tér 1, Hungary

Domed, neoclassical style place of worship, built from 1822 to 1856 with a crypt & ornate interior.

How I took this photo?

Shot this in bright daylight and the brand-new Sigma lens was blocking the sun for me. I had to edit the shadows because they were too dark. Resulting in more noise, but I added even more in Adobe Lightroom just to alter a better effect.

Where I took this photo?

My balcony, Antwerp Belgium

Date taken: 30/07/2016

f/2.8
1/400 sec
ISO 100
27 mm

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 24-70 mm lens

What I recommend.

If you like zoom lenses and what to go from wide-angle to telephoto then this lens might be useful to you.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 II USM Zoom Lens
Priced at US$1899,00

View item – USA

What I recommend.

The Sigma 20 mm Art Lens, Canon mount – Sigma Corporation Japan.

The Sigma 20 mm f/1.4
Priced at £699.00 / US$899.00

View item – UK
View item – USA

Mighty steam trains aren’t they? What do you think… you like to go there but want to ask me a question? Share below…

» Written by Alan who goes under the name of twin-rhino | Published on January 9, 2017

» RELATED POSTS