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Shimano to open Experience Center theme park in Netherlands (+ video)

Site in Valkenburg will focus on cycling, fishing and rowing and hopes to attract visitors from around world

Shimano Europe has unveiled plans to build an ‘Experience Center’ – effectively a theme park centred on the brand – that will be focused on the Japanese brand’s main areas of specialisation, cycling, fishing and rowing.

Located in Valkenburg in the Netherlands, which hosts the Amstel Gold Race annually and was the setting for the 2012 UCI Road World Championships, the planned complex is on the site of a former brewery and is due to open in 2017.

According to the Japanese brand, the Shimano Experience Center will allow visitors to “engage in a fusion of interaction and function,” with themed areas “presented as a sensorial experience, encouraging guests to move, feel and live the Shimano moment.”

As well as showcasing the latest Shimano products in areas called, respectively, Riding the Moment, Reeling the Moment and Rowing the Moment, the venue will also have indoor virtual reality displays highlighting iconic locations from around the world, plus outdoor test tracks and ponds for fishing.

Shimano Europe Business Development Manager Gerrit Middag said: “The opportunity to create Shimano’s new Experience Center in an area with such a rich cycling history is incredibly exciting.

“We have designed the centre to support retailers of Shimano cycling, fishing and rowing items in the region, enhancing the brand and providing exciting testing opportunities.”

“We expect the site to draw cycling, fishing and rowing fans from around the world and of course be of tremendous benefit the sporting industry in the region.

“We firmly believe in promoting health and happiness through the enjoyment of nature and the world around us, and this Experience Center firmly fulfils that criteria,” he added.

It is planned that the 15,000 square metre site will also host a visitor and event centre named after the Amstel Gold Race, as well as a 60 bedroom hotel, among other things, and cycle hire will also be available.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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