About the city

The residence is full for 2022.

Vácrátót, which now lies administratively within the capital city of Budapest, where the plains of Pest meet the hills of Gödöllő, is home to some 2,000 inhabitants. It can be reached from the center of Budapest in roughly one hour by car, but it is also easily accessible by train.

Archaeological excavations in the settlement suggest that Vácrátót was probably inhabited in prehistoric times, the Roman period, and the period of the Hungarian Conquest. Farming always played an important role in the life of the settlement, and the mills on the stream, which had plenty of water, were an important part of local agriculture, as was the produce which the people of Rátót could sell at the market in the nearby town of Vác.

The internationally renowned Vácrátót National Botanical Garden welcomes some 100,000 visitors a year. It has the largest collection of botanical specimens in Hungary, including exotic plants in the greenhouse and rock garden, an exceptionally rich collection of trees and shrubs, and a carefully tended garden with plants mentioned in the Bible.

In the late 1800s, Count Sándor Vigyázó built his manor house in the middle of the village and established a 30-hectare English park around it. His son died without an heir, so the castle and the park were given to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, in accordance with his father’s will. The Academy, alas, did not have the necessary funds to maintain the garden, so it was briefly returned to a relative. Later, the castle and the park were sold, and during and especially after the Second World War, the garden fell half into ruin and had no owner. After the land was divided up, the National Museum of Natural History was granted the right to establish a botanical garden and a plant experiment station here. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences took over the station in 1952 and established the Institute of Ecological Botany of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Sights to see

In addition to serving as a resource for research and plant displays, the botanical garden offers visitors a variety of activities. Visitors can take guided walks down trails with educational themes, and they are even allowed to explore a bit on their own if they like. Workshops are held for young people and scientific presentations are held in the arboretum. Visitors can enjoy a number of other activities, including concerts, book launches, and roundtable discussions.

About the residence

The building ensemble of the research center, which is found in the Vácrátót arboretum, provides a unique environment for writers participating in the program. It is the largest botanical garden in the country and contains the richest collection of living plants in Hungary. On the 27 hectares of garden space, one finds some 13,000 species and varieties of plants. The apartment is in a rustic building which has been beautifully restored and has a charming porch allowing for comfortable work in the open air, and the writer in residence will also find a library room, a lounge, and even  a ping pong room. The center regularly hosts scientists and botanists, thus offering a unique opportunity for writers to spend a few weeks among an engaging group of curious minds. 

Booked Days