The designers of Efteling
Everything you see in Efteling was once conceived and made by people. Thanks to them, the fairytales of the fairytale writers were brought to life! Here you will find the most influential designers of Efteling.
Anton Pieck (1895-1987)
Anton Pieck is one of the best known Dutch illustrators of the twentieth century. He drew scenes from everyday life in his very recognisable, romantic style. The tens of thousands of drawing, watercolours, paintings, etchings and woodcuts he produced are witness to his enormous industriousness and passion.
At the age of 11, Anton already won first price at an exhibition of crafts with an aquarel of a still life. The prize: five tubes of paint and a fixative spray!
After a course in graphic arts, Anton became an arts teacher, a tragic denial of his artistry. He continued to study in the evenings, and in 1920 was permanently appointed as teacher at the Kennemer Lyceum in Overveen, where he worked until his retirement.
Illustrator of a theme park
At the start of the 1950's, Anton Pieck was asked to help design a fairytale park with a playground. At the time, he was already an established illustrator of famous fairytale books. His creativity contributed to the stagering success of the first genuine theme park in the Netherlands, fairy tale park ‘Efteling’ in Kaatsheuvel. He continued to actively design for Efteling until 1974.
Anton Pieck passed away on 25 November 1987 in Overveen. He was 92 years old. An unfinished drawing was still attached to his drawing board. Efteling cherishes Anton Pieck's legacy. The colours used by Efteling in the park are still based on his pallet.
Ton van de Ven (1944-2015)
Next to Anton Pieck, Ton van de Ven was also responsible for the unique and enchanting identity which distinguishes Efteling from other theme parks. After his studies at the Academy for Industrial Design in Eindhoven, Ton van de Ven became an Efteling employee in 1965. He threw himself into the artistic design with gusto: drawing and modelling in close consultation with Anton Pieck. Later he became responsible for the total design of the park.
In a very short time, Ton van de Ven managed to acquire the specific drawing style of Anton Pieck, and started adding his very own creations to Efteling. Ton also was able to think conceptually, and his writing talents and technical insight also gave Efteling many new attractions. He honoured the enchanting nostalgia and romance of Anton Pieck while creating attractions for a wider public. He was the creator of, among others, the little house of the Seven Kids, a number of Holle Bolle Gijzen, the Giant of Tom Thumb, The Chinese Nightingale, and the wicked witch of Rapunzel.
The large attractions
Ton's first large design for Efteling was the Spookslot Haunted House (1978). Subsequently he devised experience elements for thrill rides such as the Halve Maen swinging ship, Piraña river rapids ride and the Bobsleigh run. With the design of the Fata Morgana dark ride (1986) he brought Efteling back onto the fairytale-track. More attractions followed: Volk van Laaf Laaf People village (1991), Droomvlucht dark ride (1993), main entrance ‘The House of the Five Senses (1996), Villa Volta madhouse (1996), and the indoor roller coaster Vogel Rok (1998). Just before this farewell, Ton put up a beautiful building on the edge of the theme park: the Efteling Theatre (2002), one of the five largest theatres in the Netherlands. With this, the park took an important step towards the future: visitors would spend more time in the park, stay overnight, dine and enjoy entertainment.
From 2003 Ton stopped working for Efteling, but he remained closely involved in all developments. In that year he was given a Knighthood in the Order of Orange-Nassau. Ton van de Ven passed away on 16 September 2015 in Tilburg. Efteling is proud of his work, which will continue to enchant countless visitors for decades to come.