De Waarbeek

The oldest surviving steel rollercoaster in the world...

Theme ParkDe Waarbeek
ManufacturerDe Waarbeek (in-house)
Height13 ft
Duration1½ minutes
Rodelbaan at the top of one of the rollercoaster's hills

Rodelbaan at the top of one of the rollercoaster's hills

When I first saw pictures of Rodelbaan, I very nearly dismissed it as a small kiddie ride in a children's amusement park not worth bothering with. Luckily, one of my friends had read a bit about it and insisted it was worth a ride.

The rollercoaster is located at De Waarbeek in the Netherlands and was built around 1930. It is widely thought to probably be the oldest surviving steel rollercoaster in the world.

Rodelbaan (Dutch for "Toboggan Run") was built in-house by the park and remains one of its main attractions, drawing visitors to De Waarbeek primarily because of its historical significance.

The ride itself features four seater cars that travel around the track encircling the western part of the park and passing beside its main lake. Rodelbaan is gravity powered, with a chain-driven lift hill pulling cars up to the ride's maximum 4 metre height at the start of the ride. From the top, cars proceed through a series of gentle drops and turns to return to the station.

Up until 2012 Rodelbaan had no restraint system, leaving riders to enjoy the well padded seats completely unrestricted. However, for safety reasons and to stop riders standing up during the ride, it has now been retrofitted with a metal lapbar.

Considering its age, Rodelbaan is in remarkable condition, and it is obviously well cared for by the park's mechanics. It is smooth and pleasant and, even if it only rises 4 metres above the ground, amazingly fun too. Rodelbaan is a real classic rollercoaster, and throughly deserving of a visit from all serious coaster enthusiasts.

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