Belgium is set to host the fourth Legoland amusement park in Europe. In 2027, the town of Gosselies near Charleroi in the province of Hainaut in Wallonia. The site used to host the Caterpillar machinery factory. The Walloon Government foresees 1,000 new jobs.
The Walloon Government has been negotiating hosting Legoland since 2019. A non-binding letter of intent has been signed by Merlin Entertainments, Wallonia and the Federal Government and the plans have been made more firm.
The construction of the amusement park would cost between 370 and 400 million euros, of which Wallonia pays 100 million euros. This will make it the second largest investment of the past ten years in Wallonia, after the arrival of Google in Mons. Should the costs of construction nevertheless rise much higher than estimated, each partner can still reconsider the decision. That’s a big caveat.
A final decision on the project is therefore not expected until the end of 2022.
The intention is that the park could open its doors to the public in 2027. This would create more than 1,000 new jobs in the region, 70% of which are reserved for the low-skilled.
Wallonia, Hainaut and Charleroi don’t enjoy a good reputation regarding employment and economics. Therefore, it’s no surprise Wallonia’s Minister-President Elio Di Rupo (PS) is satisfied.
For Di Rupo, “suffering is now giving way to hope and new job opportunities are being offered to workers in our region”.
Hosting Legoland should be a boost for tourism in Belgium. There is this story Lommel in Limburg was in the running to host Europe’s Disneyland, now near Paris. But politicians at the time blew their chances by not taking it seriously.
Visitors for Legoland Belgium are mainly expected from Wallonia, the Benelux and the north of France. On average, the Legoland parks attract between 1.5 and 2 million people a year and this number could also be reached in Charleroi, according to projections.
The park and its infrastructure initially cover an area of 70 hectares, which means that a reserve of 20 hectares is spared to allow future expansions and evolutions.
Other Legoland parks
- Legoland Billund Resort, Billund, Denmark.
- Legoland Deutschland Resort, Günzburg, Germany.
- Legoland Water Park Gardaland, Castelnuovo del Garda, Italy.
- Legoland Windsor Resort, Windsor, England, United Kingdom.
- Legoland California Resort, Carlsbad, California, United States.
- Legoland Florida Resort, Winter Haven, Florida, United States.
- Legoland New York, Goshen, New York, United States.
- Legoland Malaysia Resort, Iskandar Puteri, Johor, Malaysia.
- Legoland Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
- Legoland Japan Resort, Nagoya, Japan.
- Legoland Korea Resort, Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, South Korea.