Introducing: Bart Stadhouders

“My name is Bart Stadhouders and I am a lecturer within the Attractions & Theme Parks Management track. The courses that I lecture in are Fundamentals of Storytelling, Professional Development & Leadership, Placement coordination and Change Management. I started working for NHTV in January 2014. Before NHTV, I worked in strategy consultancy on sustainability and for a provincial organization called Vrijetijdshuis Brabant (now VisitBrabant).

I am involved in several courses but I would like to point out the one on Fundamentals of Storytelling. This course is focusing on developing new concepts and storylines for zoos. The assignment this year was to come up with a new and playful concept for Dierenpark Amersfoort, focusing on Dutch nature. A very interesting and fun course to supervise and coordinate.

When I joined NHTV, I was asked to assist in the Theme Park Management track (predecessor of Attractions & Theme Parks Management) and one thing led to another. During that time, the industry asked for professionals with a specific background on Attractions, Zoos and Theme Parks and this lead to the development of a three year track: Attractions & Theme Parks Management .

I think that almost all projects are linked to the industry very well. Fundamentals of Storytelling is a course with a focus on the zoo industry. I think this is very important, since zoos are interesting visitor attractions to look at. They combine education, conservancy and entertainment. In this course we work together with a zoo and try to create value for the client. Besides that, we ask a lot of professionals to come into class and tell more about the zoo industry.

Our industry is growing very fast. There are so many developments going on in China, Middle East and Europe that there is a strong demand for future professionals. When I look to the group of students that graduated last year, almost all of them found interesting jobs in the industry. This makes me very proud and I am convinced that more and more Attractions & Theme Parks Management students will grow into management positions; in theme parks, zoos, visitor attractions or in other industries.

I think that the Attractions & Theme Parks industry will continue to grow and develop. With a lot of new investments, especially from China, the bar raises higher and higher. Theming and immersive environments will remain important, as will authenticity. And do not underestimate the impact from new technologies: virtual worlds, gamification, creating your own story and designing your own experience. But on the other hand, I think that the social aspect will stay important as well. Sharing experiences with friends and family is something from all periods in time.”

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