A CO-OPERATIVE SETTLEMENT FOR THE UTILIZATION OF THE HERTELENDY CASTLE

 

Judit Péterfi

University of Pécs, Doctoral School of Earth Sciences, juditpj03@gmail.com

 

DOI: 10.33538/TVT.1904.ksz1-2.6

 

Abstract

In the successful management of the settlements cooperation, both vertical and horizontal, is indispensable. The present paper introduces such a cooperation which provides a chance through a vertical network to achieve the advantages more effectively. The research presents Kutas as a case study where in the cooperative process a triple unit has been investigated. In favour of the utilisation of the castle allocated in the settlement the paper analyses the structure of the cooperation of the operator, the mayor and the local dwellers. During the impact analysis, which was based on three pillars, field work and interviews played an important part of the primary research. As a result of the analysis of the acquired data the aim of the study is to reveal, analyse and introduce the cooperation trends coming off in the settlement (in favour of the castle). The research uses the empirical data in a way to create the answer for the following question in the end: Is Kutas a cooperative settlement if the future of the castle depends on the efficiency of the cooperation?

Keywords: cooperation, heritage protection, settlement development, castle

 

Introduction

There are numerous castles and manors in Hungary and in the research area, in Somogy County also. The castles which belong to the built heritage can have several functions. They can be the subject of the integrated value protection but they can provide a place for castle tourism as well as long as they are used for event centres, museums or castle hotels (NAGY 2013). The utilisation and the way of the utilisation of the castles is a persistent dilemma since such aspects should also be considered as heritage protection, financial returns and the conciliation of the different interests.

Out of the questions emerging during the utilisation the greatest dilemma is how the reconstruction, renovation, and the filling with new functions would serve heritage protection. Based on the 2001 LXIV act on the protection of cultural heritages heritage is defined by the Parliament as follows: “our cultural heritage is the irreplaceable, unique and non-renewable source of our country’s past present, the inseparable component of national and general culture” (2001 LXIV act). The act formulates the aim of heritage protection as well that the saving, protection, sustainable utilisation and its making to be a common property should be prevailing within the framework of the act. The type of building investigated in the study, the castle, is also one of out of the countless cultural heritages and their protection and utilisation is also regulated by law. But the law does not touch upon the question how the present generation should transmit the values that arose in the past for the future society. This theoretical question is important from the point of view that the destruction of the non-utilised castles is not necessarily against the principles of heritage protection. The act determines the way of rebuilding and the interventions but one may transmit these cultural elements for the future when those are left untouched. And the other side of the hardly interpretable heritage protection is exactly that if the castles are reutilised according to the needs of the present society than with the forthcoming changes they will also be heritage values for the future generations just as the peculiarly used buildings in the past for the present. Form the point of view of architecture a building just rarely counts to be a representative of a clear and uniform style since due to the changes during the reconstructions and renovations and also because of the uniqueness of the castles such a building will be put under heritage protection which could be endowed with new elements just because of this.

This study is not aiming to answer for the heritage protection question arising because of the reviewed philosophical background. It is univocal that these values issued in the past are prevailing in the present as well, so the value system of heritage continuously changes according to the given economic circumstances (TÓTH – TRÓCSÁNYI 1997). Practice shows that the unique buildings will be renovated according to their unique past and proprietary interests but with a uniform judicial framework and they will – more or less – be utilised according to the present heritage protection direction.

Based on the exploration on the research area we can find 94 castles and manors in the county – because of the lack of data and the changes it is only an approximate data – but 41 percent of the buildings are mot utilised (PÉTERFI 2015). During the endowing with functions many solutions appeared such as social utilisation (nursing home in Berzence, hospital in Marcali, school in Zsitfa), utilisation as dwelling place (Somogybabod, Jákó, Kötcse) and also utilisation with tourism purposes. This latter comes the closest to the principles of the heritage protection law, but because of the reconstructions and the proprietary interests reconciliation is very hard here as well. In the case of the built heritages serving tourism functions we can find numerous implementations in the practice, such as the Berzsenyi Memorial Museum in Nyikla, strengthening the aggregation of the museums, the – at present non-functioning – golf club in Hencse or the castel hotel in Somogygeszti. The conversion of the castles into accommodations was carried out in several places in the county, since we can find numerous castle hotels in the analysed area (Visz, Fonyód, Somogygeszti, Kaposújlak, Felsőmocsolád, Kutas). The case study of the present research is also analysing such building, namely the Hertelendy Castle Hotel in Kutas-Kozmapuszta and their vertical network in the settlement.

 

1. Theoretical and research background

As it was already listed, there are six castle hotels in the county, but in order to make a reasonable analysis about the castle in Kutas it is primarily important to reason the case study and for this it is inevitable to understand the concept of the castle hotel and also the introduction of the research methods and the aims and objectives. “A castle hotel is such a hotel which is standing the proof of the requirements specified for the three start hotels, operates in a castle, manor, palace or other castle-like building, can be interpreted with historical background, possesses high level of services and its operator continuously guarantees the grooming of the built cultural heritage and the gastronomical traditions” (MSZSZ, 2007). Two out of the six castle hotels are situated in the Balaton Accentuated Tourism Zone (the Chateau Visz and the Boros Castle Guest House in Fonyód). The proximity to Lake Balaton takes such a pull effect to the settlements – and to their values – there which would deform the comparison, that is why I consider it necessary to separate this tourism region in the research from Somogy County. In this way there are four such castles in the restricted area of Somogy County which meet the requirements (Figure 1): the Gesztenye Castle Hotel in Somogygeszti (three stars), the Szarkavár Castle Hotel in Kaposújlak (there stars) and the Bánó Birtok (asset) Castle Hotel in Felsőmocsolád (three stars). There are more such accommodations in the county providing an opportunity for recreation in manors, castles or fortresses but these are not matching the qualification so we cannot consider them officially as castle hotels. The fourth castle hotel in the county is the Hertelendy Castle in Kutas-Kozmapuszta which is the only five star castle hotel in the analysed tourism region (PÉTERFI 2018).

 

Figure 1: The geographical allocation of the castle hotels in Somogy County

 

In order to successfully survey the co-operational processes in the settlement taking into consideration the utilisation of the castle such a research method is needed which is significantly based on primary sources. Out of the traceable seconder sources we cannot disregards the related professional literature either, establishing the theoretical background of the research. In many cases tourism (LENGYEL 1994, MICHALKÓ 2004), cultural tourism (MICHALKÓ – RÁTZ 2005, CSAPÓ – MATESZ 2007, BERKI – CSAPÓ 2008), heritage protection and castles (KELÉNYI 1980, PETRAVICH 1996, SISA 2007, NAGY 2010, 2013, FEKETE 2016) came into prominence on scientific works which materials cannot be neglected in the opening phase of the research. Within the framework of the primary research a field trip was taken place where interviews were carried out with the mayor of the settlement (Ütő Szabolcs), the economic manager of the castle (Gyenesei István) and with several local dwellers (25). During the passing around of the settlement I was given a chance to get to know the castle better with the related estate and internal premises and with their functions. And during the making of the interviews I received answer for all my questions from the mayor and also from the economic manager. I took the answers of the semi structured interviews as a basis for the research and they were completed with the opinion of the dwellers, which was primarily surveyed with a questionnaire survey, but because of the low willingness of answering (12 questionnaires were filled out of 220) a shortened list of questions were asked personally, that is how I received an insight to the opinion of the local dwellers. The query was carried out during February and the summer of the 2018, and the processing of the data was continuous. I think the applied methods were adequate to get answers for the question: Is Kutas a cooperative settlement bearing in mind the interests of the castle?

After the utilisation methods of the castles, heritage protection and research methods it is necessary to cover the co-operative opportunities and their importance before the results will be presented. As I mentioned it earlier the present study illustrates the vertical type of co-operation where the advantages generated by the connections within the settlement will be emphasized. This connections system is established based on a tripartite impact assessment where the opinions and acts of the concerned parties will draw the network of co-operation. The study puts the information received from three sides into such a content, where it can be stated, primarily based on the opinion of mayor, the operator of the castle and the local dwellers, how co-operative the settlement should be considered.

The professional literature determines the co-operatives settlement as a form of city marketing or city management where the integrative forms are prevailing in order to establish the system of communicative planning based on dialogue (HERVAINÉ 2008). Of course there are disadvantages of the co-operative method as well, since as a result of the nature of interest relations a group or even a certain actor could be found in a dominant position. From another point of view since public funds have no negligible importance corporatism can appear as well, but in many cases the settlement is unable to c-operate rather because of the lack of capital, real partnership and trust (LIESZKOVSZKY 2008). Along these ideas the central scope of the study, the castle in Kutas can only be surveyed partially, since the building is in private property, so in the planning processes the local management possesses no decisive power, compulsory consensus is only occurring in questions affecting the settlement as well. The research intends to illustrate the co-operation above the necessary co-operation level with soft factors and to confront the interests.

 

2. Kutas and the Hertelendy Castle Hotel

The analysed castle is unique in Somogy County due to its geographical allocation and characteristics as well. The castle can be found in Kozmapuszta which periphery belongs to Kutas. So the analysed settlement is Kutas which is a village with ribbon-like layout with 1477 citizens. The village allocated in Belső-Somogy the share of the agrarian sector is dominant and its unemployment rate was 10.55% in May, 2018 (www.nfsz.hu). The technical infrastructure of the settlement is adequate, the different services are present to (shop, post office, offices) and local farming is significant. It is unique because the castle is not an organic part of Kutas since it is allocated 6 km away as the crow flies. It gives a kind of isolation and calmness for the building and for the associated establishments.

The history of the heritage value allocated between Kutas, Nagybajom and Segesd started in the 20th century when the castle has been started to be built by Andor Hertelendy in 1920 in a classicist style. At this time the builder and his family belonged to the pauperizing minor nobility families with smaller estates around Kutas-Kozmapuszta and its surroundings. In 1929 at the time of the great economic crisis the family suffered such losses due to which they were unable to finish the house, that is why the southern part of the building has been built by the new owner based on contemporary plans and so the castle has been finished in 2006 with neoclassical elements. In the era before the world wars the family found themselves in such difficulties that due to the debt burden and insolvency a bank agent has been sent to manage the estate. Luckily the 2nd World War spared the building but in December 1944 the famous Margit line was allocated in the line of Nagybajom and Kutas where the German soldier hold back the Russian and Bulgarian forces. It is a curiosity that the castle functioned as German and later Bulgarian headquarters (GYENESEI 2018).

The family was living in the house until the secularization but all their fortunes have been expropriated, however, together with the fortunes all their debts have been abolished as well. After the secularization the castle belonged to the Kutas State Holding. It was a kind of luck for the building that because for quite a long period of time there was no electricity in the settlement and also no paved road was leading there, in the 1950s they could not really find the new function of the building so it was not transformed to a collective farm centre, or to an elderly home or school, library or mayor’s office, which was characteristic to many Hungarian village castles or manors at that time. Due to this the conditions of the castle were not failing and its internal structure remained as well. In the 1970s when a building camp was built in Kozmapuszta a student home was built next to the Hertelendy Castle in a socialist type of completely incongruous style. Students arrived to Kozmapuszta from numerous places of the county to take part in the apple harvest, so many secondary school students stayed there, the girls in the castle and the boys in the accommodations formed around the castle (GYENESEI 2018).

In 1990 the state holding went bankrupt that is why from 1990 the house was empty than in 1997 the conservation works were started by László Hagyánek, who bought the house an saved it from destruction, but could only operate it until 2002. At that time it worked as a 3 star hunting castle with 7 rooms and with only 4 bathrooms. Than in 2004 due to a Swiss investor a huge construction work started and nearly within two years, finishing a 2.5 billion investment, the Hertelendy Castle opened its gates in 2007 as the first 5 star hotel of the region where apparently 40 rooms can be found (Picture 1.). In the beginning the castle was open all year long but from 2012 it is open only seasonally. The supply of the hotel is developed and renewed year by year and, in a great proportion recurring and also new, guests are welcomed by highly skilled personnel and luxury (GYENESEI 2018).

 

Picture 1: The Hertelendy Castle in Kutas-Kozmapuszta

Source: https://www.utazzitthon.hu/szallas/kutas-kozmapuszta/hertelendy-kastely

 

The relationship between the castle hotel and the settlement is not only unique because it is a 6 kilometre distance between them but also because, despite of this distance, the locals feel themselves mentally close to the building and they can work or relax there. And as distance is a disadvantage, at the same time it becomes an advantage, since it is the interest of the operator that the guests can have a rest in a quiet, relaxed area where there are no neighbours where distance is an advantage but from the point of view of accessibility it is obviously a disadvantage.

 

3. The levels of co-operation

The triple system of the co-operation in favour of the analysed castle primarily the approach and opinion of the two decision making bodies – the operators of the castle and the mayor – is authoritative. There is a need for the local government and the local population for the operators of the castle because of certain investments, developments and changes. For instance in March, 2018 because of the tourism development of the castle the body of representatives of the village congregated a population forum in order to implement the modification of the settlement planning instruments. The aim of this development is that the castle shall be able to be open again all year long by hosting international sports events in the future and also to strengthen its labour hoarding ability in the region. The development is financed by the Swiss company of the owner (Urs Koller Peter) the Koller Group AG and the operation is still continued by the Hertelendy Kastélyszálló Kft. (www.kutas.hu). It is a good example of the necessary co-operation where the co-operation of the local government, the local population and the operators is needed to achieve the advantages. But as it turned out from the interviews the interests do not always correspond with each other that is why I consider it important to emphasize the soft elements, primarily in the field of the differences in the interests and views of the mayor and the economic manager.

 

3.1. Co-operation between the local management and the operators of the castle

According to the mayor there are no special changes in the life of the settlement since the reconstruction and reopening of the castle, while according to the economic director the reconstruction is a success story not just according to the Monument Protection Office but according to the local citizens as well. According to the local leaders the mentioned distance is negative since the increase of the demand cannot be experienced in Kutas (the shops are not visited) and the visitors do not spend time in the settlement, just travel through it. on the contrary from the side of the operation the distance is a unequivocally positive factor since as it was already mentioned the visitors of the hotel come to relax and it mean an advantage when looking out of the window they can see the park with the size of several hectares and not the neighbouring houses. This contradictory opinion is fully logical since as a service provider the operators are interested in to satisfy the needs, calmness and aesthetic wishes of the guests. In this field co-operation is not an important element since there is no physical meeting point in the question among the interested parties.

Derived from the 5 star nature of the castle it is not affordable for the local dwellers so they do not use this space for recreation, although it is also important to mention that anyone can approach the building, the park and the lake since those are open for the locals as well. According to the mayor the castle cannot be considered in the settlement as an image creating element, while István Gyenesei highlighted that honour and appreciation can be unequivocally perceived from the local dwellers towards their work and the building as well. At this topic co-operation can be seen well since the castle should not necessarily be accessible for the locals but the operators kept this aspect in mind as well in favour of the local dwellers.
The univocal positive impact of the Hertelendy Castle has been accentuated by the mayor only from the perspective of the natural environment since during the construction and the utilisation the natural environment is protected and the operators keep in mind sustainability. Nevertheless according to the economic manager the advantages of the connection touching social and economic relations can be well perceived. Besides this, the airport made by the castle is not used by the village, neither the other infrastructural elements, however the opportunities are given here as well. By means of the airport such co-operation has been established – on a higher level – where this means of transport was not (only) realised for private aims, but it can be used by anyone to welcome domestic small airplanes (ICAO: LHKU). It is interesting that according to the mayor the presence of the castle is not decisive in the life of the settlement and its long term future is also not influenced by it, but the measure of the tourism tax paid by the operators (in 2018 more than 2 million HUF) and the establishment of workplaces (annually 5-6, seasonally 30 citizen of Kutas) as well induce a direct positive impact, meaning concrete income for the settlement. Here the co-operation has been established in a level which is guaranteed by the judicial framework since collecting the tourism tax is such a privilege for the local government where apparently the maximum amount is charged. This is such a compromise from the side of the castle which guarantees the long term advantages and the better co-operation, but besides this the directorate is focusing on to relieve the local government where it is possible (cleaning the access road). The summarizing opinion of István Gyenesei about the castle sounds like this: “Our role is unequivocally positive, we create workplaces and have good connections with the local leaders. They appreciate our work and are pleased” (GYENESEI 2018). This also shows that the co-operation between the directorate of the castle and the local government functions well and even the local dwellers are appreciating the castle hotel (Table 1.).

 

Table 1: The mayor’s and the castle management’s opinions

The mayor’s opinion

The castle management’s opinion
There is no particular changeThe renovation is a success story
Distance as a disadvantageDistance as an advantage
The people can’t afford using it as a recreational spaceFree access but no public bath
The castle’s image making potential is quite lowPride of the locals
Positive natural effectPositive natural-social-economic effects
The future of the settlement is not really affected by the castle hotelTourist tax + workplaces     direct and indirect influence is positive

Source: own editing based on the interviews, 2019

 

3.2. Co-operation between the local dwellers and the managers of the castle

The park and the belonging areas are open recreational spaces which is accessible for the local dwellers as well. However, based on the answers of the interviewees, the local population does not use this opportunity because of the distance. Based on the answers of the economic manager, from the several hectares area of orchard 300 kilograms of apple are donated annually for the locals and they also sponsor the events of the settlement. This is such a form of co-operation where social responsibility represents a significant emphasis. In addition, the co-operation between the operators of the castle and the local dwellers is also manifested in the support of local producers, since as many products (honey, mushroom) are purchased by them locally as it is possible.

The highest level of co-operation – within the framework of this analysis – can be univocally seen in the workplace creation of the castle since the local citizens are the most intensely present in the theoretical framework concerning this connection point. Arising from the hotel function 30-35 people are employed annually out of which the majority arrive from the neighbouring settlements (and 5-6 persons from Kutas). And the orchard of the estate gives work in the harvest period for 30 such workers who are mostly in disadvantaged situation (Roma, unemployed). In this way the work retaining ability of the settlement is promoted by the utilisation of the castle as well and also the payments are directly strengthening the local economy. The operators also promote the citizens by supporting the local events, so in this respect, on the whole, the relation between the castle and the citizens of Kutas is positive.

From the point of view of the population the castle appears as such an element which can be explained differently at the individuals. Among the interviewees, for the members of the older age groups the building possesses an identity strengthening role, while for the middle aged it is a workplace or such a built heritage which is the scene for luxury tourism. The physical distance weakens the bonding of the local dwellers with the building but we can say it in general that they are proud of the castle and of its fame. On the whole the co-operation of these two members of the three pillars – the local population and the operators – is workable since they are not in each other’s black book and help each other in order to achieve the common goals.

 

Conclusions

On the whole we can answer for the research question “Is Kutas a cooperative settlement bearing in mind the interests of the castle?” as follows. The operators of the castle, the local leaders and the local population are members of such vertical eco-operation where the common needs can be realized in a simpler way. The study demonstrates the role of the castle in the life of the settlement and the community during which heritage protection and the demonstration of the utilisations play a highlighted role together with the disadvantages and the emerged questions. The role of built heritages is important because, as the research also highlights, co-operation are carried out in favour of the successful future of the castle, and the maintenance of the castle has positive feedback on the community. This is such a co-operation – which is partly necessary and is partly a form of social responsibility – where the will of the different interest groups are not damaged and there is no disadvantage for the actors. As LIESZKOVSZKY wrote (2008) that in most of the cases the settlement is unable to co-operate because of lack of capital, real partnership and lack of trust, than these factors are not restraining success here. From the side of the castle, capital – as financial contribution in this case – is guaranteed by the Swiss investor so it does not constitute a barrier. The economic contribution in wages and taxes can be considered as a kind of capital as well in the life of the settlement. It is such a responsibility from the side of the castle which can support the citizens of Kutas in favour of improving their life quality. However in order to measure this improvement we need such a research method which will be the task of a following study as the further step of the research.

In my opinion the direct and indirect impacts of these co-operations are univocally contributing to the further successful maintenance of the castle, to the income producing ability of the settlement and on the whole to the improvement of life quality. Besides these factors the aim of the co-operation is also to promote the protection of heritage values, their tourism utilisation and the boom of the local tourism. Nevertheless I consider it important to mention that this co-operation network is also depending on the personal approach of the leaders, since in this case for the operators of the castle the main aim is not just making profit, the mayor would not only like to collect taxes, so as a result of this the locals can profit from the castle as well. Co-operation is very important in a bottom-up and top-down system as well since in the case of Kutas, because of the realisation of the co-operation, the settlement can be called with good grounds a co-operative settlement in the co-operating South Transdanubian Region.

 

Acknowledgement

This publication/research has been supported by the European Union and Hungary and co-financed by the European Social Fund through the project EFOP-3.6.2-16-2017-00017, titled “Sustainable, intelligent and inclusive regional and city models”.

 

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