Efteling adjusts Carnaval Festival attraction after racism accusations

Carnaval Festival at Efteling
Carnaval Festival at EftelingPhoto: Eliedion/Wikimedia Commons

Efteling is adjusting a number of Asian and African dolls in its 35 years old Carnaval Festival attraction, the amusement park announced on Wednesday. This follows criticism that some of the dolls in the attraction show stereotypical or racist characteristics, NU.nl reports.

The park will adjust the decor in three parts of the attraction - Japan, China and Africa. "The attraction shows how celebrations are held around the world, but in these countries that is not really the case", a spokesperson said, according to NU.nl. "The dolls will get an appearance that fits better with the current picture of the times." For example, dolls in the Africa scene will be dressed in traditional African costumes, instead of nose rings and frizzy hair.

In the past the park received criticism about two of its attractions having hurtful or racist characteristics - the Carnaval Festival and Monsieur Cannibale. The park especially received complaints from international visitors, and an action group demanded that the hurtful stereotypes be removed. Efteling emphasized that the adjustments are being made at their own initiative. Carnaval Festival will also remain recognizable. "It is still a fun ride around the world", director Fons Jurgens said. 

Carnaval Festival will close from March 4th until May 31st for major maintenance. In total 100 of the 275 dolls in the attraction will get a makeover. The technology will also be updated and energy efficient lighting will be installed in the attraction. This is expected to cost a total of 3 million euros. 

Adjustments to Monsieur Cannibale are not planned as of yet, but will certainly be considered as soon as the attraction needs maintenance, the spokesperson said to the newspaper. 

Africa scene in Efteling's Carnaval Festival attraction
Africa scene in Efteling's Carnaval Festival attractionPhoto: Mw007/Wikimedia Commons