Efteling upgrades Vliegende Hollander with new scene

Visual of the new Vliegende Hollander scene
Visual of the new scene (© Efteling)

Today the Efteling (Netherlands) announced news about their semi-dark ride, De Vliegende Hollander. This winter, while the water ride is closed for regular maintenance, the park will redesign one of the most significant scenes in the dark ride section due to “technical and thematic reasons”. The plan is to re-open the ride with a completely new scene on 1 April this year.

The 2007 season marked the opening of the most expensive ride in the Efteling up to that point, De Vliegende Hollander. Built in collaboration with Kumbak Coasters, this water coaster features an extensively themed queue, a dark ride part of five scenes ending on a 45 degree lifthill, an outdoor coaster part and finally a splashdown. Originally De Vliegende Hollander was slated to open in 2006, but was delayed to 2007 because of technical difficulties with the ride system and lifthill. Nevertheless, now 16 years after opening the ride is still one of the most popular in the park.

The current version of the ride is vastly different from the first concepts which were released many years ago on Nieuwsrijk, a now defunct Dutch Efteling fansite. Both the outdoor and indoor portion of the ride were planned to be much bigger and even more elaborately themed. Although some of the original ideas remain, many had to be cut due to budget constraints.

Gevelconcept dvh
Concept of De Vliegende Hollander from the front (© Nieuwsrijk)

One of the major scenes in De Vliegende Hollander is the sequence in which you meet the cursed ghost ship the ride is named after, get swallowed by it and spit out into the outdoor coaster part. The ship in question appears as a projection mapped onto a curtain of water. The effect often fell victim to technical problems, resulting in an important aspect of the ride’s story missing from the experience. The Efteling has now decided to replace the show piece due to this unreliability.

The projection in the ride (© Dark Ride Database)

In the new version of the scene visitors will travel through an area littered with shipwrecks, boxes and other wreckage. Incorporated into these shipwrecks will be a set of figureheads which were originally found on the lifthill during the opening year, but had to be removed due to technical complications.

The existing music formed the basis of the programming for the new scene. Karel Willemen, designer of both the original attraction and the revamp, states the following: “Previously the pouring rain drowned out the audio, but in the new situation we can let the music and the ambient sounds play a bigger role”.

The Efteling even approached the composer of the original music, and together they came to the conclusion that no edits were necessary. “We soon discovered that it fits perfectly with the new scene. We even let the music direct what you see while sailing: lightning strikes to the beat of the music, the water splashes up and the shipwrecks loom with the immense figureheads. I think it will be fantastic.

The Efteling plans to re-open De Vliegende Hollander on 1 April, exactly 17 years after the ride opened to the public for the first time.

Onride of De Vliegende Hollander with the old scene