Amsterdam Chocolate Factory Theme Park

Amsterdam will get a theme park dedicated to chocolate and inspired by Roald Dahl's children's book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", city officials and entrepreneurs said on Thursday.

Just like Dahl's fictional "Chocolate Factory" owned by Willy Wonka, the main part of the "sweets park" will be located underground, in a disused railway tunnel which was handed over by the city of Amsterdam in a ceremony on Thursday.

The attraction, which is expected to open to the public in two to three years, will feature a glass elevator and a chocolate fountain, similar to the book. It will also produce small amounts of chocolate.

"Ten years ago I made a radio play of the 'Chocolate Factory' and ever since I've been fascinated by it," said audio books publisher Maurits Rubinstein who started the project.

The city of Amsterdam and Dutch construction company BAM are supporting the plan, which will cost 20 million euros, partly raised with bonds that parents and grandparents can buy for their children and grandchildren.

Amsterdam is the world's biggest cocoa port, processing around 30 percent of the world's cocoa beans from countries like Ghana and Ecuador. It supplies the key ingredient, cocoa paste, to major chocolate manufacturers throughout Europe.

Amsterdam is also the place where Coenraad Johannes van Houten invented the hydraulic cocoa press in the 1820s, enabling the production of eating chocolate alongside the already available drinking and cooking varieties. He also came up with the process known as "dutching" to create a mildly flavoured cocoa powder that mixes more easily with water.

An impression of how the Chocolate Factory will look can be found by clicking on Impressie on www.dechocoladefabriek.nl.

Source: Reuters UK

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