08 Feb 2024

Leisure Entrepreneur Roland Koch Passed away †

Leisure Entrepreneur Roland Koch Passed away †

(eap) The German amusement entrepreneur and showman Roland Koch passed away on 6 February at the age of 89 surrounded by his family in Austria. With his passing, the international amusement industry has lost a valued colleague, friend and pioneer. Roland Koch, who took over the business from his father Georg in 1958, continued to successfully expand the sausage pavilions and catering businesses before handing over the baton to the next generation, his son Thomas Koch, in 1981. Roland Koch owned and operated rides and restaurants in amusement parks and fairgrounds throughout Germany, and was also instrumental in the development of the “Alt Berlin” restaurant (now “Unter den Linden”) at Phantasialand in Brühl. He was a man who always kept an open eye on the industry and developed new ideas. He also had a particular passion for large-format films and, not least, brought the 180° cinema format to Europe.

Roland Koch was also a long-time and close friend of the Mack family and a companion of Franz Mack and the Waldkirch-based company Mack Rides. “We travelled the world together with Roland,” commemorates his long-time friend Kurt Mack-Even. “He always had a goal in mind, we had a lot of fun together and, knowing him, I’m sure he’ll get in touch when he gets bored in heaven. May he rest in peace!” says Mack-Even.

However, Roland Koch was also involved in industry associations throughout his life and filled honorary positions in order to actively help shape and advance the global leisure industry. Wieland Schwarzkopf, President of the German Association of Amusement Machinery & Accessory Manufacturers (VDV) remembers: “Roland was not only a close friend to me, but also a fatherly friend. But he was also an ambassador for the industry. Wherever he was, doors opened. In the 1960s, he was one of the first to introduce many manufacturers to international business. And his legendary Wies’n parties will probably also remain unforgotten,” says Schwarzkopf.

Roland Koch was a generous person and philanthropist, and as such built an orphanage in Africa, for example. Koch was also always warm, hospitable and always ready to lend a helping hand to industry colleagues and friends. One of his greatest pleasures was bringing people together and exchanging ideas with them. For his service to the leisure industry, Koch was honoured with the IAAPA Lifetime Service Award, among others. Together with his wife and children, the industry mourns the loss of a special person, of whom many would certainly say: He was one of us! ■

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