The painter workshop of Europa-Park

Around Europe in seven hours

No time for boredom. We join the Europa-Park painter team for one day

If there is such a thing as a dream job, then the painters working at Europa-Park in Rust near Freiburg, have found it. The 25-person team looks after Germany's largest theme park five days a week, the whole year round. An incredibly varied and colourful job – but also hard work. We accompanied the painter team for a day, taking a seven-hour trip through "Europe" – with the new cordless sanders from Festool joining us for the ride.
After a good two hours of driving we have nearly reached our destination. We navigate the last metres to Europa-Park on a two-lane approach road. It consists of more than one lane to prevent annoying traffic jams during arrival. After all, more than 5.5 million visitors from all over Europe arrive at Germany's largest theme park every year, looking for relaxation and fun. We leave our car in the visitor car park and walk towards the entrance. The "Europa-Park" name delivers on its promise, with nearly all European regions represented as themed areas. Once we clear the revolving door, our very special day trip through "Europe" commences. We are not here to ride the many roller coasters, but rather to accompany the park's team of painters during their work.
One painter of the Europa-Park team

Boredom? Unheard of for the painters

Adrian Bürkle, master painter and head of the team, welcomes us behind the gates with a firm handshake. He has been working at Europa-Park since 2005 and since 2016 been head of the team. While we walk through the park, he tells us that his 25-person department is responsible for an area of approximately 95 hectares. That's the size of around 90 football pitches or a small town. And the number of people working at Europa-Park are nearly that of a small town - its 3700 employees ensure that each day runs smoothly. Bürkle leads us to the painter's workshop, whose neighbours include the car workshop, the joinery and the paint shop. We are in the service centre of the park, which needs to be maintained and cared for daily. On Bürkle's desk we see Ed Euromaus, Europa-Park's mouse mascot – self-painted, of course. On the opposite side, a large sheet of paper that's almost A1 in size, lists the jobs for the current week. Boredom seems to be an utterly foreign concept for Bürkle and his team. "There are more than ten trades represented in the park, including wood carving and decorative painting," he says and adds: "We all intersect at numerous points in our daily business, so excellent coordination is essential for working efficiently."
Paintwork with the Festool eccentric sander
Paintwork with the Festool eccentric sander

"6500 orders and around 50,000 litres of paint per year"

„The painting department receives around 6,500 orders each year. To complete them, we use up a total of 50,000 litres of paint," Adrian Bürkle tells us. He continues: "More than 90% of those orders are touch-ups and sanding work. We mostly do smaller repairs on the different sets in the park, for example the wooden façades in Europa-Park's 15 themed areas. We recently gave the cars on the Vintage Cars ride in "Germany" a fresh lick of paint. Right now, we are off to "Scandinavia". We need to touch up a few sets there," he says and grabs two SYSTAINERs and a mobile dust extractor. A little while later, he and his colleague Sebastian Summ are loading the team's company vehicle: A white golf cart.
The paint team of the Europa-Park

Full speed ahead to "Scandinavia"

We approach the home of Vikings and crispbread at maximum cruise speed – which peaks at approximately 10 km/h for golf carts in Europa-Park, taking into consideration the flow of visitors. Sebastian Summ skilfully manoeuvres the electric vehicle to their next job. "The park gets very busy during the week as well; we try to work outside peak times so that we don't disturb the visitors," he explains. "Scandinavia" welcomes us with a picturesque port city. It mainly consists of painted wooden surfaces. The slightly weathered look is clearly desired and has been painted on, or rather off, by practised hands. Painted wooden crates are piled high in front of the "Whale Adventures – Northern Lights" building, with small boats gliding through the crystal-clear water between them. We have reached our destination. Sebastian Summ parks the golf cart outside the building and immediately points out a special aspect of a painter's work in the park: "We mainly rely on the ROTEX RO 150 FEQ and the ETS 125 for outdoor applications. But with touch-up work, finding a power connection is always a bit of a challenge. That is why we now also use the new cordless sanders – especially the ETSC – for exteriors." Speaking of exteriors: The phone rings, a fellow painter is on the line. The "Santa Marian" in "Portugal" needs work done on a few surfaces and a door in "Ireland" requires sanding. So, our journey through Europe continues.
Paintwork with the Festool eccentric sander

Sanding work on the "Santa Marian"

The "Santa Marian" turns out to be a realistic copy of the "Santa Maria", the ship Christopher Columbus sailed to America in 1492, at least to a layman's eye. Here, amidst the almost Caribbean feel of "Portugal" with its smooth pools of water, the true size of Europa-Park is revealed: The wooden roller coaster "Wodan" rises in the distance, while the "Atlantica SuperSplash" leaves its passengers yelling with exhilaration as it plummets towards the water below. An impressive set-up! Sebastian Summ is immune to the sights and grabs the ETS 125 and CTL MINI mobile dust extractor, in order carry out a few repairs on the rudder. Later, on deck, he touches up some surfaces on the door leading to the captain's cabin – which serves as a cocktail bar. "The eccentric sander is my favourite tool," he reveals with a smile and adds: "It has excellent handling and I can control the material removal rate perfectly. The new cordless sanders, here on deck primarily the RTSC, are even more useful of course, especially when we are out and about in the park."

„Our job is to identify faults before the visitors do. And with a grand total of 15 themed areas, that's not always the easiest task.“

Adrian Bürkle - painter at Europa-Park Rust

Working with the Festool eccentric sander

On to the Irish pub!

After a five-minute journey we arrive in "Ireland", on of Europa-Park's 15 themed areas. Several pubs, restaurants and souvenir shops line the streets in the idyllic, almost dreamy scenery. Unfortunately, we don't have time to stop, as the next job already awaits us: A door needs sanding. Sebastian Summ whips out the ETSC 125 eccentric sander and gets straight to work – thanks to the battery and integrated dust collection bag, that is all he needs. In just five minutes, the surface is fully sanded. He applies a little bit of paint with a brush, but not too much – the door's retro look needs to remain intact, after all. "Just a small touch-up," Summ comments as he closes the SYSTAINER and loads it on the golf cart. "We do have a lot of demanding projects as well, especially during the autumn and winter months when the park is closed. Jobs that require several different trades to work together are particularly difficult. The key aspect there is to coordinate precisely, set deadlines, carry out transfers and work together as a team."
Working with the Festool eccentric sander

Bavarian beer gardens and Russian space stations

"Our job is to identify faults before the visitors do. And with a grand total of 15 themed areas, that's not always the easiest task," Adrian Bürkle explains, while his colleague nods his agreement. Our journey continues towards "Russia". But first, we must cross "Germany". We drive past a maypole and a beer garden. Everything seems to be in order – Adrian Bürkle is satisfied. Once we reach "Russia", work on the last outdoors order for today commences: One visitor has left their mark on the copy of the "Mir" space station with some small graffiti – clearly a job for the ETSC. Sebastian Summ removes the writing with a practised hand, then he touches up the spot in the same paint. After just 20 minutes, the graffiti is completely gone. In the meantime, Adrian Bürkle checks the handrails leading visitors up towards the "Euro-Mir" roller coaster. "We see a relatively high degree of wear here, because people hold on the handrails in order to move forward quickly in the waiting area," he tells us.
Paintwork with the Festool eccentric sander

Back at the painter's workshop

By late afternoon, we are back at the painter's workshop. Here, the hustle and bustle hasn't stopped: Benches are sanded down, statues receive new coats of paint and signs are carefully painted with intricate details. "A brief colour and surface treatment," Adrian Bürkle explains, "then the refurbished props go back to the park. The main star in the workshop is the ETS 150 eccentric sander. The ROTEX RO 150 FEQ is also very popular thanks to its versatility and precision. We also have the ASA 5000 boom arms and energy boxes from Festool to make work easier and more ergonomic for our employees." We are impressed by our taster day with the Europa-Park team of painters and want to know which skills a painter needs to work in Bürkle's team. Bürkle has a clear answer: "They would need to be an all-rounder. A painter in our team should be able to do anything, from small, delicate and demanding paint jobs to large and complex orders. For that, they need to work fast and at a very high level of quality." We say our goodbyes, because the next job is already waiting for Bürkle's team directly outside their workshop: Even though it is just before closing time, a white wooden bench has just arrived – it needs to be sanded down and touched up by tomorrow morning. As his team is working at capacity, the boss Happily gets to sanding it himself.
The scenery of the Europa-Park gets a new colour.