Center Parcs Europe

Center Parcs Europe (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 and owned by Blackstone Group.

Center Parcs Europe N.V. (CPE)
TypePublic limited company (Naamloze vennootschap)
FounderPiet Derksen
HeadquartersRivium Boulevard 213, ,
Number of locations
22 (Center Parcs brand), 4 (Sunparks brand) (2019)
BrandsCenter Parcs, Sunparks
OwnerFreehold: Blackstone Group
Leasehold operator: Pierre & Vacances
ParentPierre & Vacances
An original Center Parcs Cottage (named 'Villas' in UK resorts), designed by the Dutch architect Jaap Bakema.
Dutch Center Parcs entrance (at De Eemhof).
Wild water rapids at Center Parcs Het Meerdal (NL).
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.

A similar enterprise operates in the UK and Ireland, also under the name Center Parcs; however, the two companies have been separately owned since 2001.[1]


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, was successful, 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 facilitiesEdit

There are now 22 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.

All resortsEdit

Center Parcs Europe owns 22 Center Parcs resorts and 4 Sunparks resorts. Also, there are 4 parks in development, and one park will be taken over from Landal Greenparks.

Country Resort City / Village Region/County Year opened Added to portfolio Details
  Netherlands Het Meerdal America Limburg 1971 -
  Netherlands De Huttenheugte Dalen Drenthe 1972 -
  Netherlands De Eemhof Zeewolde Flevoland 1980 - The first Center Parcs resort to contain a Subtropical Swimming Paradise. Closed in May 2000 due to a fire that destroyed the central plaza area and Swimming Pool. Re-opened in March 2002 with a new Mediterranean market square and Aqua Mundo after extensive re-building.
  Netherlands De Kempervennen Westerhoven North Brabant 1983 -
  Netherlands Het Heijderbos Heijen Limburg 1986 -
  Netherlands Port Zélande Ouddorp South Holland 1990 2002
  Netherlands Limburgse Peel America Limburg 1980 2002 Formerly Sunparks Limburgse Peel
  Netherlands Zandvoort Zandvoort North Holland 1989 2002 Formerly Sunparks Zandvoort aan Zee
  Netherlands Sandur Emmen Drenthe 1999 2011 Taken over from Landal Greenparks; Formerly Sunparks Sandur Drenthe
  Belgium Erperheide Peer Limburg 1981 -
  Belgium De Vossemeren Lommel Limburg 1987 -
  Germany Eifel Gunderath Rhineland-Palatinate 1979 2002 Formerly Sunparks Eifel
  Germany Nordseeküste Tossens Lower Saxony 1992 2002 Formerly Sunparks Nordseeküste
  Germany Park Hochsauerland Medebach North Rhine-Westphalia 1994 2002
  Germany Bispinger Heide Bispingen Lower Saxony 1995 -
  Germany Bostalsee Nohfelden Saarland 2013 -
  Germany Allgäu Leutkirch Baden Württemberg 2018 -
  France Les Bois-Francs Verneuil-sur-Avre Upper Normandy 1988 -
  France Les Hauts de Bruyères Chaumont-sur-Tharonne Centre-Val de Loire 1993 -
  France Le Lac d'Ailette Chamouille Picardy 2007 -
  France Les Trois Forêts Hattigny Lorraine 2010 -
  France Bois aux daims Les Trois-Moutiers, Morton Nouvelle-Aquitaine 2015 -
Parks from the Sunparks Brand
  Belgium Sunparks Oostduinkerke Oostduinkerke West Flanders 1981 2007
  Belgium De Haan De Haan West Flanders 1989 2007
  Belgium Sunparks Ardennen Vielsalm Luxembourg 1992 2007 Formerly Sunparks Vielsalm
  Belgium Sunparks Kempense Meren Mol Antwerp 1994 2007
Parks in development
  France La Forêt de Chambaran Roybon Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes 2017 -
  France Forêt du Rousset Le Rousset Bourgogne-Franche-Comté 2019 -
  France Forêt de Poligny Poligny Bourgogne-Franche-Comté 2019 -
  France Domaine du Papetier Pindères, Beauziac Nouvelle-Aquitaine 2019 -
  Germany Brombachsee[6] Langlau Middle Franconia ????

In the case of the former Gran Dorado Resorts, the 2002 "Added to portfolio"-date refers to the year these resorts were brought into the joint venture, although they were not re-branded as Center Parcs until 2003.

Three former Center Parcs sites were sold because they could not be expanded. They are now part of the Landal greenparks operation; they still continue to be used and have had some refurbishment:

Country Resort City / Village Region/County Year opened Year Sold
  Netherlands De Lommerbergen Reuver Limburg 1968 1996
  Netherlands Het Vennenbos Hapert North Brabant 1970 1994
  Netherlands De Berkenhorst Kootwijk Gelderland 1975 1990

Three additional sites separated from the company in 2001 and came under the ownership of Center Parcs UK.[1]

Country Resort City / Village Region/County Year opened Added to portfolio Details
  United Kingdom Sherwood Forest Rufford (near Mansfield) Nottinghamshire 1987 -
  United Kingdom Elveden Forest Elveden Suffolk 1989 -
  United Kingdom Longleat Forest Warminster Wiltshire 1994 -

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Center Parcs Longford Forest officially launches". Center Parcs UK and Ireland. 30 July 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ https://centerparcs-frä Missing or empty |title= (help)