She reached people‘s hearts and left her mark on Europa-Park in a very special way. Selmeli Ratti brought well over 30,000 people in need to Germany‘s largest theme park for free. In 2014, the charitable Swiss woman passed away at the age of 95. For over three decades, she sold popcorn and rarities on St Peter‘s Square in Basel and collected donations. With this, she financed over 600 trips to Europa-Park.
In 1976, one year after Europa-Park opened, the small, cheeky woman stood at the main entrance and demanded free admission for herself and her crowd of children. She refused to be put off and wanted to speak to the managers.
She called me by my first name and got straight to the point. The deal was that I should let her into the park for free and she would advertise Europa-Park in Basel, where everyone knew her. With that beak, you couldn‘t say no,” Europa-Park boss Roland Mack remembers and adds: “A deep friendship developed from that, she convinced us of her cause and touched us. When she was already over seventy, she dropped off the children and lay down
on the sofa at our house,” smiles Mack.
The Mack family took up Selmeli‘s idea and has since invited several million people in need to Europa-Park in the course of the “Happy Hearts” campaign. But that‘s not all. On her 80th birthday, Selmeli was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of Europa-Park. On her 90th birthday, the “Selmeli-Gässli” was inaugurated in the Valais village of Europa-Park, Because the Rattis originally come from the Valais.