Mini-Europe is a miniature park located in Bruparck at the foot of the Atomium in Brussels .
The park features reproductions of the most famous monuments of the European Union at a scale of 1/25. About 80 cities and 350 houses are exposed.
The park is renowned for the quality of its models, some of which cost up to 350,000 euros ( Grand Place Brussels ). The park contains many animations (train, mills, Vesuvius eruption , Airbus, wire-guided trucks … A guide gives the details of all the monuments.) At the end of the course an interactive exhibition “Spirit of Europe” presents the European Union in the form of interactivities and games.
The park is built on 24 000 m 2 .
Behind the miniature world of monuments or scenes is a history of Europe with its European values (democracy, entrepreneurship, culture and radiance, spirit of adventure, Christian heritage, technology, secularism and multiculturalism) or its legacies (Greek, Roman, Viking, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Enlightenment, French Revolution ..) or current events (brexit)
A booklet in 11 languages details this information as well as many anecdotes about monuments, countries and the European Union.
The original idea of the park comes from a Dutch businessman who imagines in 1986 the realization of a miniature park on the Heysel site. After his association with the Regional Investment Company of Brussels who takes shares in the miniature park, he withdraws from the project after bad luck in business. The park having already been sketched and models ordered, the Regional Investment Company of Brussels Walibi Group approach led by Eddy Meeùs to become a shareholder in recovering the shares of the designer. In June 1988, the leaders of Walibi buy the case 1 .
The basic investment is 10 million euros . Prince Philippe of Belgium inaugurates the site thewith Thierry Meeùs at the management N 1 . Mini-Europe is less profitable than the amusement parks held by the Meeùs. The turnover is between 100 million and 120 million Belgian francs in the first years (between 2.5 and 3 million euros) 1 . The Monastery of El Escorial , the Palace of Westminster , the Nyhavn of Nyhavn , the Brussels Grand Place , the Arc de Triomphe , the Leaning Tower , the Parthenon and the Brandenburg Gate are among the first models visible to customers 1. Mini-Europe welcomes 300,000 visitors in 1997 3 . With 350,000 visitors in 2012 and 4 million euros in turnover, Mini-Europe is one of the first attractions of Brussels.
The construction of monuments
The monuments have been selected for their architectural quality or for their European symbol. After this first selection, we must find plans and photos. This phase cost more than 200 000 euros of research. There are 165 designers and model makers from Germany, France, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK 4 . Most monuments are built by molding. The pieces are made from various materials and then copied by silicone molding. The final copy is made of epoxy resin (at the beginning) and polyester (currently). Epoxy is a type of refined polyester characterized by its high strength. This material is at the time used for the first time for the creation of models. The models are then enriched with details such as statues.
Three monuments have been made of stone (the tower of Pisa and the Castle of Chenonceau are made of marble). A new computer milling technique was used for three models.
Then comes the painting on the site of Mini-Europe. Finally, the monument is installed on site with decorations and light. Santiago de Compostela asked for more than 24,000 hours of work.
Many monuments have been funded by the countries or regions of Europe .
Every big miniature park animates the places with various animations: trains, mills, sounds, eruption of Vesuvius, fall of the wall of Berlin , gondolas with Venice, filoguidés trucks … These animations are industrial prototypes to withstand the many hours of exploitation and different seasons (frost, rain, heat).
Ground cover, dwarf trees, bonsai and grafted trees are used near miniature monuments, while classic bushes and flowers grace the promenade.
Spirit of Europe
At the end of the journey, the space reserved for the European Union briefly presents its history, its successes, its culture, the functioning of its institutions, the big market, the reasons for enlargement, generally in the form of games. . For schools, there are many educational projects.
For all these activities, Mini-Europe has received moral support from the European Commission and the European Parliament .
List of miniatures visible to Mini-Europe
- Berlin – Brandenburg Gate
- Bonn – Beethoven House (en)
- Lübeck – Holstein Gate
- Magdeburg – Millennium Tower
- Münstermaifeld – Eltz Castle
- Soest – Osthofentor
- Spire – Cathedral
- Steingaden – Church of Wies
- Trier – Porta Nigra
- Melk – Melk Abbey
- Alden Biesen – Archicommanderie
- Antwerp – Brabo Fountain
- Antwerp – City Hall
- Bruges – Belfry
- Brussels – Berlaymont
- Brussels – Grand-Place
- Those – Castle of Vêves
- Dinant – Citadel
- Dinant – Collegiate
- Dinant – Rocher Bayard
- Ghent – Rabot
- Liège – Curtius Museum
- Leuven – City Hall
- Walibi – Ferris wheel
- Walibi – Radja River (disassembled)
- Rila – Monastery
- Limassol – Ancient Theater of Kourion
- Zagreb – St. Mark’s Church
- Copenhagen – Stock Exchange
- Copenhagen – Nyhavn
- Trelleborg – Viking Fortress
- Barcelona – Columbus Column
- Campo de Criptana – Windmills
- Escurial – Monastery
- Santiago de Compostela – Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
- Seville – Arena
- Tallinn – Cannon Tour
- Savonlinna – Olavinlinna
- la France
- Arc-et-Senans – Royal Saltworks
- Chenonceaux – Castle of Chenonceau
- Paris – Arc de Triomphe
- Paris – Basilica of the Sacred Heart
- Paris – Georges Pompidou Center
- Paris – Eiffel Tower
- Ronchamp – Chapel Notre-Dame-du-Haut
- Athens – Parthenon
- Budapest – Széchenyi Baths
- Cashel – Saint Patrick Rock
- Glendalough – Monastery
- Alberobello – Trulli
- Pisa – Leaning Tower
- Siena – Piazza del Campo
- Venice – St. Mark’s Square
- Vicenza – Villa Rotonda
- Rīga – Monument to Liberty
- Vilnius – University
- Luxembourg – Adolphe Bridge
- Ggantija – Megalithic Temples
- Alkmaar – Grant Pavilion
- Amsterdam – Channels
- Hoensbroek – Kasteel Hoensbroek
- Hoorn – Hoofdtoren
- Kinderdijk – Windmills
- Maastricht – Maastricht Town Hall
- Middelburg – Kloveniersdoelen
- Ootmarsum – Castle
- Orvelte – Village-museum
- Veere – Veere Town Hall
- Gdańsk – Manor of Artus
- Gdańsk – memorial of shipyard workers killed
- Lisbon – Ocean Pavilion
- Lisbon – Belém Tower
- Porto – Quai de Ribeira
- Palace of Mogoşoaia
- Bath – Royal Crescent
- Anne Hathaway Cottage
- Dover – Castle
- London – Palace of Westminster
- Longleat – Castle
- Bratislava – Blue St. Elizabeth Church
- Ljubljana – Tromostovje
- Stockholm – City Hall
- Czech republic
- Prague – Astronomical Clock
- Airport – Airbus
- Ariane 5
- Jumbo Ferry
- Oil rig
- Channel Tunnel
Unrepresented notable monuments
The walker notices for example that no monument of the city of Rome ( Basilica and St Peter’s Square , Colosseum …) is represented N 2 .
Notes and references
- ↑ The founder of the Walibi Group Eddy Meeùs is his father. He studied commercial engineering in Louvain-la-Neuve and obtained an MBA in Cornell, University of the State of New York, worked for two years at Dow Corning in Brussels and joined the Walibi teams in 1983.
- ↑ The Vatican is not part of the European Union .
- ↑ a , b , c and d Eddy Meeùs , Off the beaten track: From Kivu to Walibi , Beersel, Clepsydre Publishing,, D / 2002/8166/2 ed. , 349 p. ( ISBN 2-930304-07-3 )
- ↑ Jean Vandendries, ” Walibi turns ” [ archive ] , in Le Soir , (accessed November 6, 2017 )
- ↑ ” Development Agency and Urban Planner – Theme Parks ” [ archive ] , on adu-montbeliard.fr [ archive ] , (accessed on 1 st April 2015 ) [PDF]
- ↑ Martine Dubuisson ” The European tour in 80 minutes ” [ archive ] , in Le Soir , (accessed November 6, 2017 )