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Government Launches Castle Adoption Program Targeting Domestic Companies

Hungary Today 2023.12.18.

With the HUF 3 billion (EUR 8 million) renovation of the Festetics Agricultural Center (Fenékpuszta majorság) in Keszthely, western Hungary, the National Castle and Fortress Program has been completed, and the government will discuss a proposal in the coming days to split the use of the historic building complex into three parts, Minister of Construction and Transport announced on Sunday.

Speaking at the handover of the development of the Festetics Agricultural Center, János Lázár said that the Hungarian National Asset Management Inc. would be entrusted with part of the complex, and would be responsible for its future use, reports Világgazdaság. Another section of the buildings would continue to be run by the state under the management and organization of the National Heritage Protection and Development Non-profit Ltd.

This category includes the Festetics Castle in Keszthely and the Agricultural Center, he noted, adding that the Keszthely castle complex attracted around 260,000 visitors this year,

proving that there is great demand for well-organized management of these buildings.

The Széchenyi castle in Nagycenk (northwestern Hungary), the Tisza castle in Geszt (eastern Hungary), which will be inaugurated next year in May, and the Esterházy castle in Fertőd (northwestern Hungary), are also part of this group. These complexes are of particular importance for national heritage and Hungarian history because of their historical role or architectural quality, the minister emphasized.

The Eszterházy castle. Photo via Facebook/Esterházy-kastély Fertőd – Hivatalos

The government will also launch a castle adoption program by offering large Hungarian companies like OTP, MOL, Richter, and others with an international background, the chance to adopt some of the castles worth saving,

the minister  stressed.

He added that the aim of this program is twofold. On the one hand, the adopter must ensure that all Hungarians have access to these buildings, and on the other hand, the adopter is responsible for “fostering these buildings,” i.e. the government will provide the opportunity to spend significant sums of money from the results and profits.

Lázár also underlined that Keszthely and its region have a special role in Hungarian tourism and the government wants the town to be livable with and without tourists. In order to achieve this goal, the Hungarian Tourism Agency has made the development of Keszthely and Hévíz a priority.

The main square of Keszthely. Photo via Facebook/Hello Keszthely

In addition, the government wants to relaunch the upgrading of road 76 into a two-lane motorway between Zalaegerszeg (western Hungary) and the M7 motorway in 2024, with a budget of around HUF 400 billion (EUR 1 billion),

the minister said, adding that this could be one of the biggest transport investments in the country.

In her welcome speech, Zsanett Oláh, Managing Director of the National Heritage Protection and Development Non-profit Ltd., highlighted that as part of the project, the small castle had been renovated to show the daily life of the Festetics family and the farm. A multifunctional community space has been created in the farmhouse, horse riding and racing are presented in the stable, and visitors can learn about horse breeding in the calf stable.

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Via Világgazdaság, Featured image via Facebook/Helikon Kastélymúzeum

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