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Frontpage News 2012 Reinvigorating community life


Reinvigorating community life in Balatonáracs

  • The renovation of the old post office and community house in Balatonáracs, Hungary, will provide local inhabitants with a much-needed meeting place and help reinvigorate communal life.

    The old post office and the People's House are two inter-connected listed buildings which were built in the beginning of the 20th century in Balatonáracs on the northern shore of Lake Balaton. At present, both buildings are in a derelict condition and are closed for public access.

    The buildings used to be the centre of community life until the municipality of Balatonáracs was merged into the neighbouring Balatonfüred as part of communist-era centralisation plans in the mid-1950s. After that, the local village centre in Balatonáracs lost its importance, and today it suffers from low degrees of investment and negative population trends. The centre is now mainly a congested thoroughfare for tourists and residents on their way to the adjacent Lake Balaton resorts.

    New meeting places for tourists and residents alike

    With a €850,000 grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, these buildings will now be restored to provide residents with a new local centre and help revitalise community life. At present, the community does not have a venue in which to host cultural and social events. The success of initiatives to inject life into the community over the last years, such as wine tastings and gastronomy festivals, has been subject to weather conditions as the events have had to take place outside.

    The restored post office will be made into a postal museum with authentic 1920s furniture, and will also host a geological exhibition. The community house will have two multi-functional halls for social and cultural events, a public library, and offices for local and regional non-governmental organisations as well as the local police office. To help visitor numbers soar, a bus stop has been set up directly across the street from the buildings and the existing post office will be relocated into the new premises.

    The municipality hopes the project will strengthen local identity and breathe new life into the community and the old urban centre. The new museum, the multi-functional events halls and the public offices is also expected to attract residents and tourists from the busier areas of the Lake Balaton resort as well as investment.

    The Lake Balaton area is also home to a recently concluded EEA Grants funded environmental protection project.

  • Country:


    Project title:

    3rd prioritized field: Preserving European Heritage - Community House and Post Office Reconstruction in Balatonarács

    Case number:


    Priority sector:

    Conservation of European cultural heritage


    € 849,159



    Type & project assistance:

    Individual Project

    Project promoter:

    Local Government of the Town of Balatonfüred

    Type of institution:

    Local Authority

    Project duration:

    18 months

    Project cost:

    € 999,011

    Grant rate:


    Grant from:

    EEA Grants

    Grant agreement date:

    22 September 2008

    The purpose of the Project is to renovate buildings of cultural significance and to create cultural facilities, with the overall objective of revitalising community life and the cultural heritage offering of the town of Arács. Reference is made to the application, dated 26 September 2006, and to any subsequent correspondence with the Focal Point.

    The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:

    - renovation of the old post office, including the relocation of the existing post office, and establishment of a post museum and a geological exhibition;

    - renovation of the community centre, including development of a club library, two events halls, office space for NGOs, and parking spaces;

    - furnishing and equipping the created facilities; and

    - project management, including preparation of implementation plans, public procurement, audits, and publicity activities.

    The Project Promoter is the Local Government of the Town of Balatonfüred.

    The Focal Point shall ensure that the Project Promoter provides at least 15 percent of the estimated eligible Project cost.