Saturday, May 19, 2007

(B) Dadizele, Dadipark


Dadipark in Dadizele is the oldest amusement park in Belgium.
It was raised in 1949 by the diocese of West-Vlaanderen under influence of priest Deweer. At the end of the eighties, the park was taken over by a few local retailers, but in 2003 they decided to close it down because the park made losses and the constant cost of repairs was raising.
At the climax of its popularity, Dadipark welcomed one million visitors a year - the last year there were hardly 175.000 visitors.

The park had always free entrance, and most of the attractions are mechanic, that is, the power comes from the kids and not from the electricity. In former summertimes, Dadipark was the place to be for many people I know, as part of a pilgrimage, a school trip or just some occupational therapy in summer holidays ;-).

Now nature has taken over the park that has a size of 10 hectare; weeds and rust are everywhere. Some attractions are even hard to find between all that green (in times of spring and summer).

In 2003, the middle class was still hoping that it would be closed for only one season.
In 2004 an investor from the Netherlands wanted to turn it into an outletshopping, but the plans didn't go on because a part of the park had to be restored in its original condition.
In 2005 there was again new hope that the park would be re-opened somewhere in 2007.
In 2006 the town-council of Moorslede would approve the change of the development plan, so that there could be a small shopping center too.
This year, on April 18, there was the announcement that a British investor would invest € 80 million in the park. The plan of Building & Engineering, a property developer from Deerlijk, is to open a free theme park, with income from commercial activities like the sale of products linked to the attractions. They aim at a half a million visitors a year and 350 employees. The re-opening would be in 2009... we'll see.
An amusement park for kids is now the playground of adult photographers...

When we tried to enter, some kids playing there thought it was cool and entered before us through the holes in the revolving door - which were too small for us. For one moment we considered to jump over the small canal, but luckily we found an easier way over it.
While shooting we met two other urbexers from Mechelen, but the real surprise was... 2 huge ostriches, running free in the park. Luckily they didn't go that far, so that the rest of our urbex-trip seemed pretty safe. Later on we met some local youth hanging around. The guys were proud that they had taken out the water in the arena near the big slide. They also told us that the ostriches are from a butcher nearby; they had broken out but the owner thinks it okay that Dadipark becomes a bit like Jurassic Park now ;-)

We climbed up the huge footbridge (used to be feared by a lot of kids) and had a nice view on the park and its surroundings, of which the cathedral of Dadizele, the bridge seems to lead right to it.
While I was standing on top a man in the street warned me that it was dangerous, but the bridge had already proven its firmness to us, as we had even been running on it.
The way down was a real jungle, but we got out alive ;-)


Anonymous said...

been there 2 months ago love the place field like a child again....even more a child then other "forgotten"places.


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