Criticism of racism at Europapark: “Dinghy ride in the jungle” causes irritation – and is rebuilt – Baden-Württemberg

It is supposed to be an exotic adventure, the “jungle raft trip” in Europapark, but some are more reminiscent of colonialism. Those responsible react promptly.

Stuttgart / Rust – “Explore the fascinating African continent on a leisurely expedition raft tour” – these are the words used by Europapark to advertise its famous attraction for the jungle raft ride, which has been one of the most iconic rides of Rust for more than 30 years. The ride, studded with clichés, lasts about eight minutes: “Among waterfalls, fountains and lianas, you will not only meet some ducks, but also rhinos, hippos and monkeys”.

But the idyllic water safari through cliched Africa doesn’t make some people feel good at all. Because in the attraction not only exotic plants and animals appear, but people are also shown. And that is exactly what is being criticized. The accusation: the representations of role models are reminiscent of colonial history. Europapark is now reacting and wants to completely rebuild the attraction. The Badische Zeitung spoke about it for the first time on Thursday.

Europapark takes the allegations seriously

Apparently, an essay by two Freiburg students started the game. According to the Badische Zeitung, in 2019 they made the raft trip in the jungle a topic of discussion. What angers the attraction: that blacks are depicted in traditional clothing while whites wear safari outfits with beige suits and hats. Students are very disturbed by this image of the superior white. “A period like colonialism has no place in an amusement park,” a student involved in seminary work is quoted in the report.

“Some scenes from the ‘Jungle Raft Ride’, which is one of Europa-Park’s oldest attractions, can be misinterpreted by today’s standards,” says Engelbert Gabriel, Europa-Park management spokesman, when asked by our editors. . Already last year there were isolated insights from guests who wanted the attraction to be reclassified in a contemporary context.

The attraction must be completely rebuilt

“We took this feedback as an opportunity to accelerate the already planned redesign of the attraction and to remove individual figures for the current summer season.” In the course of this, the thematic design will also change completely. “There is no question that clichés are used deliberately in the thematic areas of Europa-Park, some of which are certainly exaggerated,” says Gabriel.

The first changes are already visible. The figure of a black man hanging along a cable car has already disappeared. This role is now assumed by a white man. The park also took over the “Colonial Food Station” and renamed it “Adventure Food Station”. The Europapark boss pointed out that around 5.7 million visitors from all over the world meet in the park every year. “Europa-Park strongly rejects all forms of racism and discrimination.” After all, a declaration against racism and discrimination has been initiated with all the amusement parks of the world together with the Council of Europe.

Again and again criticism of Europa Park

Only recently voted the best amusement park in the world by “Amusement Today” magazine, Europapark has recently come under criticism over and over again. A few weeks ago, Corona bracelets caused a lot of trouble for those in charge. The park quickly adapted the labeling of vaccinated, cured, and tested visitors to hotels around the theme park. According to them, critics had complained that the different colors indicated the vaccination status, which was problematic in terms of data protection.

There was also criticism of the expansion plans: in Alsace, for example, there was resistance to a multimedia development center designed by the Mack International group, which also includes the Europa-Park in Rust.

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