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Created by T. Gentsch | News

Skateparks under the magnifying glass | Hengelo / The Netherlands

A new concrete park right on the boarder to the Netherlands

Photos & Text: T. Gentsch

If you look at the development of skateparks in Germany over the past ten years, you’ll see that an incredible amount has changed in just a short time. Fifteen years ago, a flood of new parks were introduced across the nation. The thing is, a vast majority of these parks were made of prefabricated ramps, often making them more suitable for inliners than skateboarders. We prefer not to think of how much money was "wasted" in this way, but fortunately, a great rethinking has taken place in many German cities and communities.

A possible trigger for the changes in our skatepark development could have been the amount of new DIY projects that popped up across Germany. Through these projects, city officials began to see how skateboarders are often averse to these prefab ramp layouts. Furthermore, there’s the fact that more and more skaters, especially those who’ve gained experience with DIY projects, have set up their own skatepark design/construction companies. Great examples are Yamato Living Ramps, Minus Ramps, DSGN CONCEPTS or Anker Skateboard Ramps. Behind all these companies are skateboarders who are often still active on their boards. The best part: In the last five years, skatepark construction in Germany has been almost exclusively done with concrete. The result is an array of unique, quality skateparks that truly give skaters what they need.

It’s not only in Germany that many great concrete parks are currently being built, our neighbors in the Benelux countries are enjoying the growth of many new skateparks as well. Since the Netherlands is very close by for many north Germans, we like to provide coverage for new parks in this region as well. Just two years ago, we presented a blog article detailing the Amsterdam NOORD indoor skatepark. Now, we’ve made our way to the new Hengelo skatepark near Enschede and the German border.

Hengelo is a rather small town with around 80,000 people that’s just off the A1 motorway. This motorway changes to the A30 in Germany, which is an easy connection for skaters in the Rhein region/Osnabrück. Hengelo has an inviting cityscape that’s a great mixture of old and modern buildings with some shopping and dining options, possibly interesting for parents of younger skaters who want to bring them to the skatepark for the day. The location of the skatepark is also different than many German cities, where skateparks are unfortunately often quite decentralized.

In Hengelo, the skatepark is located right next to the main train station in the city center. In Germany, skateparks are sometimes equipped with noise barriers to try and isolate them. But in Holland, they’ve simply thought, "here’s a noisy road, here’s a railway line, why not integrate a skatepark in-between?".  In addition, this thinking integrates and invites skateboarding into the cityscape. This really makes the Hengelo park stand out. If you look at parks we’ve presented in the past, they’re often some 500 meters away from the nearest houses, making it difficult to integrate them into an urban/inner-city culture.

In addition to the awesome location, the Hengelo park was designed by skatepark design firm DSGN-Concepts from Münster in close collaboration with the Hengelo locals. You can’t always satisfy everyone, but the completed skatepark certainly offers everything ‘necessary’ for a great park. There are a few discrepancies that some skaters may dispute about dimensions, i.e., too high of a rail or too low of a ledge, but nothing truly negative that you can’t get used to. Check out the pictures to see for yourself.

One noticeable downside that we must mention is that the ground is currently quite slippery. Hopefully this will change as the park gets skated and endures some weather. You could also argue that the thickness of the rails/handrails are a little wide, making it difficult for tricks like bluntslides. The ledges and curbs slide and grind like butter and there’s certainly nothing to criticize here. As with many skateparks today, you do need to be prepared for a mass of scooter kids if you come at the right hour. As usual, you must be cautious of them darting aimlessly through the park, just waiting to get hit. One kid had to painfully experience this when Titus rider Jelle Maatman ripped through the park like a ‘Jelle bullet’.

In summary, the Hengelo skatepark is definitely worth checking out, especially because of its close proximity to the German border and great inner-city location. If you can catch the park when there’s not a scooter meetup on a sunny day, you’ll have a lot of fun and you can enjoy a true Dutch community and lifestyle right in the immediate area. 

Wichtige Fakten über den Park:

Planung: Dirk Lücke in Zusammenarbeit mit finelines marketing und Düsseldorfer Locals

Bau: Minus Ramps

Architekt: Dirk Lücke

Bowldesign: Rune Glifberg

Größe: 3800qm

Bauzeit: 18 Monate

Kosten: ca. 2 Mio. Euro

Unsere Fahrer geben dem Park: 9 von 10 Punkten