The People of Laaf are a race which turned up in Efteling in 1990, seeking out a nicer place to live. Their village is located in the Fairy Realm in the park, and there you can visit the Laafs and watch them go about their everyday business, including baking, wine making, and attending school. Here is a nice long story about how the Laafs came to be, so grab yourself some Laaf beer (or ordinary beer…) and enjoy…
Written by: Ton van der Ven
Former Creative director of “de Efteling”
Once upon a time….long, long ago, the peace-loving Laafs lived in a land that was heaven on earth. This land was located somewhere above the North Pole, where the Laps now live.
In that time, the North Pole was delightfully warm and the Laafs lived outdoors, not needing to build houses for shelter. Wild goats wandered the hillside and provided the Laafs with milk and cheese. Fruits and berries grew in abundance and streams of clear, cool water flowed across the countryside of the Laafs. It was truly the land of milk and honey. The Laafs all share the same mother and father.
Father Laaf, patriarch of the clan married Mother Lot. Mother Lot is a very important person to the Laafs; not just because she is their mother, but because she also gives all Laafs their immortality. The Laafs are very remarkable folk, but when they grow old, they run out of steam. When this happens, the Laaf must go to Mother Lot who then gives the Laaf some of her steam. The Laaf is rejuvenated by this steam and can then begin life anew.
Father Laaf was the first to run out of steam. This happened at a time when the earth was growing cold. Gradually, the North Pole became covered with ice, as we know it today. The cold turned some of them into a frightful blue color. Father Laaf realized that although a Laaf is a strong creature, temperatures below zero could kill them, so he came up with a solution. The Laafs would dig deep into the earth to where the hot lava bubbled.
When the Laafs had accomplished this task, Mother Lot gathered all of her Laafs who were still above ground and brought them down into the warm safety of the earth. But Father Laaf did not realize that Mother Lot had already gone below. He thought she was still above ground gathering her children.
As he searched for his wife and children, the temperature dropped to a breathtaking 60 below zero. Realizing that Mother Lot must have gone below, he stumbled towards the hole in the earth, but it was too late and he became a victim of the cold just inches before reaching his destination. The Laafs retrieved their frozen father and began the underground journey that would last for thousands of years. Little is known about the travels of the Laafs below. From time to time, they would burrow to the earth’s surface to take a look at the world above, but they could never find a place that appealed to them. Everywhere the Laafs poked a hole in the surface to peek out, a stream of molten lava would come gushing out. Soon there were mountains of lava, which today we call volcanoes, dotting the entire world.
One day, in the year 1989, the Laafs heard cheerful music and laughter coming from the surface above them. They had tunneled below a place called the Efteling in the Netherlands. The Efteling is one of Europe’s oldest and most attractive theme parks. The Laafs decided to investigate the source of the music and made their tunnel to the surface. When they saw the beauty and the colors of the Efteling, the Laafs knew they had finally found a place where they could be happy again.
The Laafs have enjoyed living in the Efteling. There is always something to see and do. From their hiding places, they listen to the stories of the visitors in the park. Some of these visitors come from nearby villages or towns, while others are from very far away. The Laafs, who listen to tales from far away lands have become curious and eager for adventure. They long to see places beyond the boundaries of the Efteling. Mother Lot, always sympathetic to the feelings of her children, is allowing some of her children to now travel to places such as the United States in order to find new adventures. Mother Lot will check on the progress of her children from time to time and asks all who see them to be kind; they have so much to learn after all those years spent underground.
(With thanks to the Efteling for providing the above text on the history of the Laafs.)
© 1990 de Efteling
© 1990 NIOP
De Efteling® and the Laaf People ® are registered trademarks of: De Efteling B.V.Europalaan 1, 5170 AA Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands
Many years ago, the park sold smaller versions of Laafs (smaller being on average 70cm) which you could ‘adopt’ and take home with you. There are garden Laafs and house Laafs, and each one serves a purpose, such as a bird feeder, a dog bowl and many more. Each Laaf came with its own passport and Laaf coin, as well as an ‘L’ somewhere on its person, to show that it was an authentic Laaf.
A few years after the original Laafs were produced for adoption, smaller Laafs were introduced to stores, including garden centres worldwide. I believe that they were made smaller to fit into homes easier, and to not take up as much space as the originals.
The Laafs were created by Ton van de Ven, who was also the brains behind the Dreamflight, Fata Morgana, and countless other attractions at Efteling. At one time, there were also Laaf clothes, dolls, clocks, ornamental houses, and even Laaf beer!
As mentioned, the Laafs are helpful souls, and carry out many duties around the home and garden. Above, you can see some garden Laafs, a house Laaf, and some water Laafs. The water Laafs can be hooked up to hoses and water fountains etc, to help add character to your garden and/or pond. One of the garden Laafs can be seen carrying flowers, whilst another carries eggs.