Impressed with the thoughts of Carl Hagenbeck of Hamburg zoo, he becomes a fan of naturalistic enclosures. On its opening day, the zoo - including a goat rock and a maze - attracts 5000 visitors.
Zoogeographic design, biopark
Impressed with the thoughts of Carl Hagenbeck of Hamburg zoo, founder Willem Oosting becomes a fan of naturalistic enclosures. In 1970 Willem Oostings retires and the zoo is taken over by his daughter and her husband, the architect Jaap Rensen.
Underlining the importance of education in order to connect people and animals Aleid Oosting and Jaap Rensen adopt a zoogeographic design and begin to arrange displays by ecological themes. Visitors can travel around the world at the Emmen Zoo. On 1,5 hectares, giraffes and white rhino's are kept together with other animals in an open area. A hillock in the middle. The African plains are well landscaped with nice sightlines and enough places to hide in.
Ardent fans of monkeys enjoy a large number of Hamadryas baboons, that seem to be seated in an amphitheatre. In Asia, the elephant Island includes an underground stable and an outdoor paddock for the bull. The islands are connected to the Asia House.
The Rensen-Oosting concept is used to undertake drastic refurbishment in a few decades.
Botanical garden museum and zoo are merged into a biopark.
Graphics software has been used to design the animal enclosures including animated installations and educational elements.
Playa Pinguïnos and Wallanganda on second location Es
Park Es encompasses Playa Pinguïnos, a naturalistic exhibit where some 150 Humboldt penguins can be observed on 3440 m2. The new addition is a replication of the coast of Peru. Kay Elliott Architects are commissioned to recreate the habitat. Their design contains a saltwater coastline, beaches, cliffs and a nesting plateau. The visitor experience starts at the penguins' pool having a wave pool system. People can walk around the beach and up inside the cliffs to the nesting plateau. Across the plateau, they descend into a penguin school and thence to the aquarama, a 24-meter curved underwater viewing window.
In water pavilion Wallanganda by Plan Architects Haarlem, there are video screens that visitors can keep running by using the home trainers connected to them. In this multimedia building, the animal park and water company Drenthe shed light on water purification, through a living machine, made out of plants and microorganisms. After filtering it through a high tech water factory, the park reuses all the water.
2016 Wildlands Adventure Zoo
On the 25th of March 2016, a new park opens, three times the size of the zoo. The design is in the hands of an in attraction parks specialised bureau; Jora Vision. The name WILDLANDS Adventure zoo is the sublimation of the tagline "A world expedition in Emmen".
The website of Kondor Wessels Projects stated:
Scrambling through the tropical greenery, balancing across the suspension bridge towards the elephants. Nothing is too crazy for the designers. Don’t be surprised by the sound of rats buzzing by in the belly of a ship. Pinguins swim past the portholes.
On its opening day in 1935, the zoo - including a goat rock and a maze - draws 5000 visitors.
In 1936 an owl ruin is launched and in 1938 a wildpark. The site expands to 10 hectares. In the same year, the owner marries a garden designer, which guarantees a green zoo.
After the war the family enterprise attracts over 250.000 visitors a year to the uncrowded northeast of the Netherlands. A thatched-roofed pachyderm enclosure is designed by architect Boelens from Assen, and been built in 1946. A year later, the elephants are moved to another paddock, only surrounded by low fences and electric wire. In the late 1960s the zoo suffers a dramatic decline of revenues.
Zoo geography and education
Ongoing financial support from the local government appears to be essential to Emmen zoo's survival and success.
The 1980s and 1990s
In 1980, Emmen purchases the Hospershuis and the Lindenhof adjacent to the animal park.
AmeriCasa opens, a tropical glass house including a nocturnal section. It contains a noteworthy display of Indian feather headdresses. The rat sewer dates from the late 1990s, too.
In the meantime, the not so large zoo is sandwiched between railway line, market and a neighborhood. It could no longer expand.
Second location park Es
In 2002, zoo Emmen is expanded to a second location, park Es, including two major attractions. Eight (road) construction companies are hired and the project has a cost of € 45 million.
In the years that follow a lot of the zoo is tinkered with:
- The Wild West (2003) is populated with a unique combination of Canadian wood bisons and North American moose.
- Name change to Emmen Zoo (2004), clearer for German tourists. Opening of Oasia, a tropical greenhouse with Rodrigues fruit bats, and an outdoor enclosure for dwarf otters.
- Passport signs near the animals to experience more of the world expedition.
- n 2005 the family steps away from the company and Emmen seeks venture capital.
- Exhibition Wallaganda stops in favor of play expedition Yucátan (2006), in which 16 Mobotix camera’s assure the safety of kids who play in pueblos , a temple and the wreckage of a ship while meeting extraordinary animals.
- In 2006-7 enclosures for prairydogs and bearded screetch-owls are created.
Friday morning November 13th, 2015
Through market-stalls I made my way to the entrance next to the birthplace of Willem Oosting.
Atmosphere of a 1950s architectural garden
Immediately stumbled across the micro architecture that repeats itself throughout the park. Kiosk architecture, pavilions, what shall we call it. Thin park architecture, or so it’s being listed, somewhere.
It's breathing the 1950's. This is where you feel what it's like to grow up in Emmen. Five sided trash cans fit the design. The decoration where the naked mole-rats are seems to be pulled from an apartment from the 50’s. Dotted linoleum on the stairs. The polygonal pattern is also recognizable in the wall that runs past the water where the Hamadryas baboons are situated.
Walking uphill in the direction of the owls, there is a small view at the farm with, again, those interconnected pavilions. These date from 1940 and were launched as miniature farms. Imagine this being said in a classic radio voice from the 50’s. Inside is a wooden milk cow to teach one how to milk a cow. Experience, education, and animal well-being. That.
We think we've found the old owl ruin. It’s now called the bearded screetch-owls enclosure.
There’s Wildland signs already there, the name of the new theme park that’s opening Spring of 2016. It’s to get into the edutainment mood, I guess. There is already almost more information on the new attraction park than on the old zoo. Did manage to find unique information on website historical Emmen, though.
Saw a noteworthy Indian feather headdresses in AmeriCasa. After closure of the zoo at the end of 2015, the terrain is available for redevelopment. Maybe, just maybe, the beautiful old trees, like those behind the Hamadryas baboons, will see to it that there won’t only be entertainment architecture and high-rise buildings returning to this spot.
Lastly, in an exposition room we stumble upon a pretty large heap of ivory, and that precious statuette of an Immortal. Expedition in Emmen....
Zoo maps animal park Emmen
- Emmen Centre 12 ha and Park Es 5 ha
- 1,4 million (2004) vs 700.000 (2010)
- December 31st 2015
- Architect involved
- Former zoo