Haunted Castle (Efteling)

Haunted Castle (Efteling)

The Haunted Castle ("Spookslot" in Dutch) is a haunted attraction in the amusement park Efteling in the Netherlands. It was designed by Ton van de Ven and was the first attraction built outside the Fairy Tale Forest.

History and details

On July 24, 1976 the announcement on the making of the world’s biggest haunted castle appeared in Brabant’s daily newspaper, "Het Brabants Dagblad". The article mentions that the castle would be built between the Fairy Tale Forest and the rowing and canoeing pond. This was a strategic choice, because the location of the attraction would attract visitors to the normally ‘forgotten’ southern part of the park.

The main reason for this mega-attraction was declining numbers of visitors at Efteling. Aiming for a more general public, with an attraction that didn’t depend on the weather conditions, Efteling authorized the new house designer van de Ven to start designing the ride.

Van de Ven designed the castle as a walk-through attraction and, in the style of Anton Pieck, the castle was designed to look old and decayed. It is meant to look as though it was once beautiful and majestic, but is now haunted and in ruins and somewhat romantic.

The construction took 18 months and the castle was officially opened May 10, 1978.

On May 12 a television special was broadcast with Kate Bush singing in and around the castle. She had a big hit around the globe with "Wuthering Heights" at the time. Reportedly this was Kate Bush’s first television appearance.

Ride statistics

*Ride time: 6:27 minutes
*Capacity: 800 visitors per hour (estimated)
*Cost: 1.588.823 million (40% overspent)

The ride experience

The waiting hall is a dimly-lit area, with monks chanting and several spooky items, of which an oriental ghost with a crystal looking glass is the most notable. The glass uses the Peppers Ghost technique to show a hologram of a beautiful woman turning into a skull. Another famous effect, added in 1979, is a ghost that hides behind a door, and starts rattling its chains and the door when someone touches the doorknob.

Upon entering the main attraction hall, a number of scary statues and scenes prepare the audience for the main course: a look into the inner court, graveyard, and the ruins of a monastery at night. When the clock strikes twelve, a violin starts playing the Danse Macabre of Saint-Saens and the graveyard comes to life and a number of skeletons and ghosts are visible.


*If you look closely at the exterior of the Haunted Castle, you can discover a number of faces in the ruins. The largest can be seen above the main entrance: two windows are the eyes and the entrance itself is a gaping mouth, through which the visitors enter. When it rains, one window appears to be crying.
*Two of the tombstones outside the mansion carry the logos of the National Railway Organisation and the Rabobank. There is also a tombstone inside the mansion with the name "Den Hegarty," an Irish rock singer who happened to be on the radio when the stone was made.
*One tombstone inside the Castle is labeled "Puella Innocenta" (innocent girl). The years on her stone (in Roman numbering) reveal that she has been living backwards in time!


The music is a shortened version of Dance Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns. The movements of the animatronics are synchronized with the music; the holographic violin that opens and closes the main part of the show demonstrates this.

Ruud Bos composed the prelude that leads to the main music.


* [http://www.wonderlijkewcweb.org Fansite]
* [http://www.efteling.nl Company information]

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