Veszprém-Balaton 2023 – continue to shine in 2024

October 30, 2023

Veszprem – beautiful baroque Hungarian town and Balaton region have shown Europe and world what is essence of European Capital of Culture programme – cultural inclusion, promotion of local art and building community of new art consumers, because in that way, when you are nurturing art producers and art consumers, you can expect to be Capital of Culture not just during one year, but for long and shining cultural future.

And that is what Veszprem done during this year of their shine – made amazing cultural and tourism infrastructure, many new galleries, exhibition spaces are opened or restored, numerous caffes with live music and local gastronomy can be found throughout the city and region, and with all of this promotion of immersive and inclusive art scene they can expect many international tourists in the future years, and all of them would love to see legacy of this year Captilat of Culture.

Veszprem and the Bakony-Balaton region jointly won the title of European Capital of Culture in 2018 and since then they are preparing numerous art, cultural and creative long term projects, but what is special about Veszprem title is that is very inclusive because it is sharing this special occasion with 116 towns and villages around Veszprem and in Bakony-Balaton area.

But 2023 is still not over so there are 2 more months of official art programmes and projects and one of the delight for all culture lovers is Dora Maurer exhibition at Vaszary Villa at Balaton lake. The Vaszary Villa is in Balatonfüred, 15 kilometres from Veszprém. Thanks to restoration work carried out in earlier years, the villa has become one of Balatonfüred’s most prestigious and significant buildings. The building complex mainly displays works of art, with its exhibitions complemented by literary events, musical and performance evenings.

Dóra Maurer is a prominent artist of the Hungarian neo-avant-garde. Her art, her educative and transnational art mediation activities have made her a dominant figure on both the Hungarian and international scene. Vaszary Gallery in Balatonfüred presents a diverse selection of his early graphic works, conceptual photography, films, and paintings.

The thematic focus of the exhibition is on the so-called homage of the artist’s oeuvre. A tour of the 12 rooms in the Vasary villa’s chambers reveals the technical and media diversity of the artist’s creative work over more than six decades.

The artist’s etchings from 1963-1969, her early creative period, are best described by art historians as surrealist. Later, Dóra Maurer’s prints, with their innovative approach to capturing subjective impressions, became increasingly abstract. Art history ranks her alongside Béla Kondor, János Major and László Lakner as one of the great innovators of Hungarian graphic art.

Also in same town of Balatonfured you can find one of the best exhibition of modern art in Europe today – Europe connects – the oppening exhibition of Modern Art Center. This exhibition is the opening event of the new Balatonfüred Modern Art Center, literally translated from Hungarian as Modern Art Storage Facility, abbreviated as MOMŰ. The unusual Hungarian name reflects to the spirit and language of the reform period of the mid 19th century that was a defining epoch in the development of Balatonfüred. MOMŰ contains the art and photographic sections of the Szöllősi­Nagy—Nemes Collection.

The Collection, containing modern and contemporary international and Hungarian geometric art, settles finally in Balatonfüred after some thirty years in Paris and subsequently in Delft, The Netherlands. The creation of MOMŰ is part and parcel of the events of the Veszprém—Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture. The opening exhibition, consisting of two shows presents a cross-section of the fine art and photographic part of the Collection. The fine art portion, entitled The Playing Field of Images, is curated by András Rényi, while the photographic section, Encounters, by Rita Somosi.

One of the art exhibition in Veszprem that you must see these weeks is József Egry exhibition at renewed Dezső Laczkó Museum. The 140th anniversary of the birth of József Egry is celebrated in 2023. The artist, who settled in Keszthely after the World War I and later moved to Badacsony, is primarily known as the painter of Lake Balaton, although his oeuvre is much more complex. It is not widely known that the Laczkó Dezső Museum of Fine Arts in Veszprém holds nearly 50 Egry paintings, including major masterpieces such as St. Christopher at Lake Balaton and the Rainbow.

There are also many personal documents, mostly letters and photographs, in the museum’s repository. In light of this, it is somewhat surprising that the last time the public could see Egry works in Veszprém was in 2008, more than ten years ago.

Beside current programme of European Capital of Culture, there asre some beautiful sightseeing in Veszprem that will always be there for tourists to visit such as medieval castle in the towns center, Archbishops Palace, Porcelain museum in nearby town of Herend.

The Veszprém Castle was built in the 10th and 11th centuries on one of the city’s hills – Castle Hill. A wall running around the edge of the steep, rugged hillsides marks the site of the former fortress, where historic buildings now rise on different levels.

Over the centuries, there have been many battles here, but they were always followed, by major construction works. So, the castle’s appearance has been constantly renewed and transformed, based on the style and needs of the time. Externally, it now demonstrates the signs of a culturally vibrant, artistic and sacred centre if you set off to explore it from the Art Nouveau Óváros Square. So, visitors should not expect a classic medieval stone building with thick walls. Instead, as you pass through Heroes Gate, you find yourself in a district with ancient atmosphere and spirit… Most of the city’s attractions are concentrated in the now Baroque-style castle district.

Already in the time of King St. Stephen, and probably even earlier, there were ecclesiastical and secular centres located side by side on the northern tip of the hill. The ecclesiastical buildings must have included an archbishop’s palace, but very little is known about its earliest forms.

The current Archbishop’s Palace is attributed to Bishop Ignác Koller (1762–1763), who commissioned Jakab Fellner to design the building in 1763. Frescoes by the world-famous master Johann Cymbal, dating from 1772, can be seen throughout the palace. The interior is the result of centuries of collecting and purchasing. The building is also rich in 18th century art treasures such as paintings, engravings, sculptures and furniture. The palace’s collection includes the desk of Bishop Károly Hornig (1888-1917), a deer skin furniture set made during the visit of Franz Joseph, the furniture of Queen Elisabeth (Sissy) and gifts from Sissy, including the high priest’s vestments made from the scroll of her coronation robes.

The Herend Porcelain Manufactory is just ten minutes away from Veszprém. As you drive towards Herend, you can see the impressive group of buildings from afar, which have housed the Porcelanium Visitor Centre since 1999. Here you can see the Herend Porcelain Manufactory’s mission in action: besides demonstrating how quality porcelain is made, it is the ideal place to popularise this special profession and the techniques associated with it, as well as passing on the traditions of the applied arts.

At the Mini-Manufactory, visitors can take a peek at the secrets of how porcelain is made. If you would like to become a master at the craft of porcelain making – even if only for short time – you can “seize the clay”. There is room for your creativity here. You can also visit the Viktória porcelain brand store in the section of the building opposite the Porcelanium. You can learn about the history of the manufactory at the Porcelain Museum from the permanent collection, or from the temporary exhibitions which change with the seasons. After a trip into the world of porcelain, visitors can enjoy the hospitality of the Apicius Restaurant and Café.

There is more then 3000 cultural events during 2023. in Veszprem and Balaton-Bakony region and more then 1,5 million tourists visit it until now, with more then 50% of higher domestic tourists overnight stays and more then 25% of increase of international visitors. The developments which will shape the cultural life of the city and the region for decades are already been actively used by residents, local and international visitors. ActiCity Dance and Movement Center, the largest developments of the VEB 2023 ECoC, converted from a former childrens hospital, has been operating at a 95% occupancy rate since its oppening in early summer.