Center Parcs Europe

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Center Parcs Europe N.V.
Company typePublic limited company (Naamloze vennootschap)
FounderPiet Derksen
HeadquartersRivium Boulevard 213, ,
Number of locations
Center Parcs - 26
Sunparks - 2
BrandsCenter Parcs, Sunparks
ParentPierre & Vacances

Center Parcs Europe N.V. (formerly Center Parcs) is a European network of holiday villages that was founded in the Netherlands in 1968, and is currently operated by Pierre & Vacances.


An original Center Parcs Cottage (named 'Villas' in UK resorts), designed by the Dutch architect Jaap Bakema.
Center Parcs Hochsauerland in Germany
The former church at CP Het Vennenbos. Because Derksen was a Catholic, he decided to build small churches at his parks. There was a similar church at Sherwood Forest which has since been converted into a Starbucks.

Dutch entrepreneur Piet Derksen started a sporting goods shop in 1953 at Lijnbaan, Rotterdam. Its name was 'Sporthuis Centrum', 'Sport House Centre'. It succeeded and Derksen expanded into 17 outlets across the Netherlands, and then added camping articles to the range.

In 1968, Derksen purchased woodland near Reuver so staff and customers could relax in small tents. The park, De Lommerbergen [nl], was successful, and the tents were quickly replaced by bungalows. In 1987, Center Parcs opened its first UK resort at Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. This brought the company into the sights of expanding brewer Scottish and Newcastle, which later bought the group.

In 2001, the UK locations separated from the continental Europe locations and formed a separate company, Center Parcs UK.[1]

In 2003, Scottish & Newcastle sold the Continental European sites to a joint venture of Pierre & Vacances (P&V) and DBCP, a German investment group. This was given the name Center Parcs Europe (CPE). P&V owned Europe's largest (in terms of bed-count) bungalow-vacation-supplier, Gran Dorado Resorts, a Dutch former joint venture of Vendex,[2] Algemeen Burgerlijk Pensioenfonds, GAK and Philips Rentefonds. P&V brought Gran Dorado in the joint venture.

As CPE was based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the Dutch and European Commercial Competition Authority[3] did not approve of combining Gran Dorado and Center Parcs, as it would effectively control the European market. After agreeing to a reduction in beds owned, CPE sold all but six Gran Dorado Resorts to Dutch Landal GreenParks.[4] The remaining six parks were added to CenterParcs: Loohorst (NL), Port Zelande (NL), Zandvoort (NL), Weerterbergen (NL), Hochsauerland (D) and Heilbachsee (D).

After the sale, five of the six remaining Gran Dorado Resorts parks were rebranded Sea Spirit from Center Parcs or Free Life from Center Parcs. The Weerterbergen-Resort was sold to Roompot because of the cost of bringing it to standard.[5] All original Center Parcs resorts in the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Germany were sub-branded CP Original. Having completed the integration and rebranding exercise, Pierre & Vacances bought DBCP out of the partnership.

In January 2009, Sunparks launched alongside Center Parcs in Europe, as a low-cost brand. Many of the former Gran Dorado resorts were rebranded in this exercise, but the sub brand was dropped in 2011 and the parks were rebranded to Center Parcs.

Operations and facilities[edit]

There are now 26 resorts in the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Germany. Most villages are different, but some villages such as Bispinger Heide in Germany and Domaine Les Bois Francs in France (and many more) share the same Village Plaza design. They have the same styled Aqua Mundo and Sports Plaza. Accommodation is in villas or bungalows, clustered in a park and surrounded by trees and bushes. An exception is Park Zandvoort, set among sand dunes. Certain resorts also provide hotel rooms. The first village had features that have stayed popular like the swimming pool, shops and restaurants. The first dome arrived in 1980,[citation needed] named Subtropical Swimming Paradise in UK resorts and Aqua Mundo in European resorts. A range of sporting activities is available, with restaurants, spas, saunas, and massage.

In 2009, Center Parcs Europe divided its parks into two brands: "Center Parcs", which includes the 5-star parks, and "Sunparks", which includes the 3- or 4-star parks. At the beginning of 2011 the company decided to rename most Sunparks as Center Parcs.[6]

All resorts[edit]

Center Parcs Europe owns and/or operates 26 Center Parcs resorts and 2 Sunparks resorts. Aroundtown owns the freehold of seven of these resorts.[7]

Overview of all Center Parcs resorts
Country Resort City Region Opened Added Details
 Netherlands De Huttenheugte Dalen Drenthe 1972
Parc Sandur* Emmen 1999 2011
De Eemhof Zeewolde Flevoland 1980
De Kempervennen Westerhoven North Brabant 1983
Het Meerdal America Limburg 1971
Het Heijderbos Heijen 1986
Limburgse Peel* America 1980 2002
Port Zélande Ouddorp South Holland 1990 2002
Park Zandvoort* Zandvoort North Holland 1989 2002
 Germany Park Eifel* Gunderath Rhineland-Palatinate 1979 2002
Park Nordseeküste* Tossens Lower Saxony 1992 2002
Park Hochsauerland Medebach North Rhine-Westphalia 1994 2002
Bispinger Heide Bispingen Lower Saxony 1995
Park Bostalsee Nohfelden Saarland 2013
Park Allgäu Leutkirch Baden Württemberg 2018
 France Les Bois-Francs Verneuil-sur-Avre Upper Normandy 1988
Les Hauts de Bruyères Chaumont-sur-Tharonne Centre-Val de Loire 1993
Le Lac d'Ailette Chamouille Picardy 2007
Les Trois Forêts Hattigny Lorraine 2010
Le Bois aux daims Les Trois-Moutiers, Morton Nouvelle-Aquitaine 2015
Villages Nature Paris (Disneyland Paris) Marne-La-Vallée Île-De-France 2017 Originally a joint-venture with Euro Disney S.C.A.
 Belgium Erperheide Peer Limburg 1981
De Vossemeren Lommel 1987
Terhills Resort Dilsen-Stokkem 2021
Park De Haan* De Haan West Flanders 1989 2007
Les Ardennes* Vielsalm Luxembourg 1992 2007
Kempense Meren Mol Antwerp 1994 2007
Oostduinkerke Oostduinkerke West Flanders 1981 2007
Resorts in development
 France Les Landes de Gascogne[8] Beauziac Nouvelle-Aquitaine 2022
 Denmark Nordborg[9] Nordborg Southern Denmark 2024
 Germany Pütnitz[9] Ribnitz-Damgarten Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 2026
 France Forêt de Poligny[8] Poligny Bourgogne-Franche-Comté T.B.D.
Forêt du Rousset[8] Le Rousset T.B.D.
 China Hanshui Hometown[10] Shiyan Hubei T.B.D. Joint-venture with CCTID
Former resorts
 Netherlands De Lommerbergen Reuver Limburg 1968 - 1996 Sold to Creatief Vakantieparken
Het Vennenbos Hapert Noord-Brabant 1970 - 1994
De Berkenhorst Kootwijk Gelderland 1975 - 1990
 United Kingdom Sherwood Forest Rufford Nottinghamshire 1987 - 2001 Spun off into Center Parcs UK and Ireland[11]
Elveden Forest Brandon Suffolk 1989 - 2001
Longleat Forest Warminster Wiltshire 1994 - 2001
*Former Sunparks

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Center Parcs Longford Forest officially launches". Center Parcs UK and Ireland. 30 July 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Site Disabled".
  3. ^ "Language selection | European Union".
  4. ^ GreenParks, Landal. "Landal GreenParks - Ontdek wat groen kan doen".
  5. ^ "Vakantieparken & Bungalowparken aan zee en in het bos | Roompot". Roompot Vakantieparken.
  6. ^ "Center Parcs stopt met merk Sunparks". (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-01-25.
  7. ^ "Aroundtown raises fresh €600m, buys Blackstone Center Parcs for €1bn". REFIRE Ltd. 20 August 2019. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  8. ^ a b c "Center Parcs Projects in France". Retrieved 2022-01-25.
  9. ^ a b "Center Parcs Projects in Europe". Retrieved 2022-01-25.
  10. ^ "Projects in China". Retrieved 2022-01-25.
  11. ^ "History". Retrieved 2022-01-25.