Two priests, Father De Klijn and Father Rietra, have the idea of setting up a sports park to the south of Kaatsheuvel.
On 19 May, the R.C. Sports and Rambling Park is officially opened. This park consists of a football pitch, two training pitches and a playing field.
A playground is set up next to the sports park, including a roundabout, a slide, a cable runway and an area for pony rides
The charter for the “Sportpark” foundation is drawn up. The sports park then covers 12 hectares.
The exhibition “De Schoen ’49” provides the impulse for expanding the sports park. The entrance that is built for this exhibition will serve for many years as entrance to the sports park and what later becomes Efteling. A large amount of land is bought for the expansion plans.
Efteling Nature Park Foundation is established. The objective of the foundation is “providing physical development and relaxation for the residents of the municipality of Loon op Zand and promoting tourism to and within the municipality, within the spirit of Catholicism”. On 25 August, the first spade enters the ground to dig a large lake. In the same year, paths, parking areas, tennis courts and sports fields are laid. The first Director, H. Peeters Weem, takes up his duties on 1 November 1950.
On 11 May, the official opening takes place of the Tea House and of the renovated playground with about 16 different items of play equipment. There are some 50,000 visitors.
The Fairy Tale Forest is opened on 31 May. Efteling now consists of some 65 hectares of nature, including water gardens, a playground, tennis courts and football pitches and ten fairy tales. These earliest fairy tales are: Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Frog Prince, the Magic Clock, the Chinese Nightingale, the Talking Parrot, Longneck, the Gnome Houses, Mistress Holle’s well and Little Message. Anton Pieck drew the designs and Peter Reijnders was the technician who brought them to life. There are 222,941 visitors and an entrance ticket costs 80 cents (€ 0.36).
The Café-Restaurant, the swimming pool and the canoe and rowing lake are opened. In the Fairy Tale Forest, the castle acquires residents: Sleeping Beauty, the sleeping cooks and the sentries make their appearance. 411,671 visitors see the Red Shoes dance this year for the first time.
Beside the Anton Pieck Square (with a souvenir shop, puppet theatre, pump and gates), the Children’s Railway with pedal trains is put into operation.
Hansel and Gretel join the Fairy Tale Forest and the Hen lays her first eggs.
The Steam carrousel is put into operation and the Donkey is mounted on its pedestal in the playground. The number of visitors has now risen to more than 700,000 per year.
The Flying Fakir floats on his magic carpet from one tower to the other.
Big Mouth, the friendly guzzler, makes his appearance as a waste bin. The paper-gobbling attraction becomes world famous.
The house of Little Red Riding Hood’s Grandmother is built in the Fairy Tale Forest, and the first surprise eggs emerge from the Enchanted Duck.
The Indian Water lilies, a fairy tale written by Queen Fabiola of Belgium, comes to life at Efteling. The Water Organ is put into operation in a former shelter near the Steam Carousel.
The first steam train with Aagje the engine rides on the ‘Miniature Steam train route no.1’ through the park.
The Diorama, a three-dimensional ‘Anton Pieck style’ miniature world, can be admired.
Efteling receives the Pomme d'Or, the first major international award, for its lay-out, originality and recreational function. In a wing of the Steam carrousel, the public can attend performances in the Victorian Theatre.
The Wolf and the seven Goats are the new residents of the Fairy Tale Forest. Horse lovers can enjoy themselves in the “Duyksehoef” equestrian centre, a covered riding school on the edge of Efteling.
Steam engine Moortje comes to join Aagje on an extended railway line with points. One of the halts is a new station in the St. Nicolas Square. In the Gnome Village, a gnome plays his music in a hollow tree.
The Haunted Castle opens its heavy, creaking doors. The record number of 1,449,078 visitors is registered and the 25 millionth visitor since the Efteling came into being is welcomed.
The Chinese Nightingale makes way for the Irritable Dragon, who guards the treasure with smoking nostrils. The steam engines Aagje and Moortje are joined by a cousin, Neefje.
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