Experience The Netherlands at “THIS IS HOLLAND”
Take in the scents of tulips as you fly over colourful flower fields; gaze at historic heritages that reveal magnificent stories; feel the wind in your hair as you glide over water-wonderful landscapes that show the eternal Dutch struggle with water: you will feel as free as a bird at THIS IS HOLLAND. This brand-new experience in the Northern heart of Amsterdam utilises state of the art technology to take you on a unique journey across history, the present, but above all the beauty of the Netherlands.
It would be far from fair to label THIS IS HOLLAND as a mere flying theatre. Set in the iconic circular building between the A’DAM Lookout and the EYE Film Museum, Amsterdam’s newest attraction lets you experience the small yet wonderful Netherlands from an unseen perspective. Through two extensive pre-shows in which you are immersed in the history and present of this special country and its most beautiful spots, it is time to fasten your seatbelt and fly over the country’s must-see locations during the journey of a lifetime.
Opened in October 2017, THIS IS HOLLAND was created in collaboration with two Dutch companies specialising in rollercoaster manufacturing and theme park experiences. The I-Ride – the hardware of the flying theatre – is produced by Vekoma Rides, a Dutch company leading in the manufacturing of Rollercoasters and its partner Brogent Technologies from Taiwan. The concept and content design is in the hands of Leisure Expert Group: while first primarily responsible for the attraction setting, the Dutch company now directs the experience as a whole, ensuring a smooth balance between film, music, decor, and effects.
A Water-Wonderful History
“The beauty of the Netherlands and persistence of the Dutch inspired us to present a picture of the country and the extraordinary story of its creation,” begins Joost van Berkel, commercial director at THIS IS HOLLAND. “The Netherlands is particularly interesting to experience from the air because you get a good picture of its unique flat patchwork quilt landscape and of the hard work invested in it.”
Designed by Leisure Expert Group, the two pre-shows before the main attraction set the mood to everything Dutch and prepare visitors for what they are about to experience. A brief history of the country is provided – in which the Dutch struggle with water is a continuous element. “Due to its water-rich landscape, the Netherlands was previously considered inhabitable,” Van Berkel explains. “The Romans even called it the worst place on earth,” he smiles. How wrong the Romans were. The Dutch challenged this perception, and used dykes, windmills and polders to create an extraordinary country of which the main parts remain below sea level, and especially the ingenuity of Deltaworks made the Dutch famous.
From a Bird’s Eye View
Your breath will be taken away during the main attraction of THIS IS HOLLAND, where a huge domed screen and breath-takingly beautiful filming will make you see the Netherlands from a bird’s eye view. The various technologies and effects will make you forget you are in Amsterdam: your hands and feet dangle freely, while atmospheric effects really make you feel like you are flying. Van Berkel: “That is where Vekoma showed their mastership. Effects such as wind, mist and scents really make you feel like you are flying through the air, crossing dykes and braving storms. You can even smell the tulips when flying over the famous Dutch Tulip Fields.”
The nine-minute flight will make you marvel at the diverse yet typically Dutch landscapes and scenes: ice skaters on Frisian frozen waters, stunning wind-mills, and the beautiful nature of the Veluwe. A prominent spot is reserved for the Netherlands’ UNESCO sites – they are beloved witnesses of the country’s significant cultural and historic position.
Much footage for THIS IS HOLLAND was shot by the makers of De Nieuwe Wildernis, a documentary about the Netherlands and its natural wonders. For two years, the makers filmed the most beautiful places in the country from a helicopter, after obtaining special permission from nature conservation organisations, municipalities and other organisations enthusiastic about the project.
A Rollercoaster of Learning
Although Amsterdam’s many tourists make up a great deal of THIS IS HOLLAND’s target group, the attraction has shown to be loved by the Dutch too. “Even locals get to know the country from literally a whole different perspective,” Van Berkel enthuses. The attraction is available in multiple languages, and limits concerning age are pretty much non-existent. “Our youngest visitor was three years old, our oldest 91,” Van Berkel laughs. “It is what makes THIS IS HOLLAND unique: the visual and rollercoaster-like elements make it simply an incredible fun experience, while the information truly teaches you something new. THIS IS HOLLAND is the thrill of a rollercoaster, yet offers the insights of a museum.”