On Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023, we jointly celebrated the 20th anniversary of Domus Polonorum at the Palace on the Isle in the Royal Łazienki Park in Warsaw. We hosted about 100 people in total, including approximately 70 members of Domus Polonorum and their guests. Representatives from state institutions and organizations with which the Association cooperates were also with us.
The meeting in the ballroom of the Palace on the Isle was opened by Marianna Otmianowska, Director of the Royal Łazienki. Paweł Esse, President of the Board, congratulated Ms Marianna Otmianowska on her recent nomination as Director of the Royal Łazienki and presented her with a bouquet of flowers on behalf of the Association.
Next, Kathrin Anselm, General Manager for Central and Eastern Europe at Airbnb, took the floor. She announced a donation of $40,000 to Domus Polonorum for the realization of its statutory objectives. In thanks for this support, Paweł Esse presented an award to the Airbnb representative. „This donation will allow us to support the owners of historic houses in Poland in their efforts to preserve these cultural treasures,” said Paweł Esse. Also present were two Airbnb Host Ambassadors, with whom Domus Polonorum members could discuss potential property rentals on the international Airbnb platform during side conversations.
Then, Katarzyna Pałubska, Director of the Department of Monument Protection at the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, spoke. She discussed the two-year cooperation between her department and Domus Polonorum and revealed plans for bi-annual meetings starting in 2024 with private owners of historic properties called the Owners of Monuments Forum. In this endeavor, the Ministry will collaborate with Domus Polonorum. Director Pałubska declared that private owners will be considered more in the Ministry’s grant programs, although this will only be possible on a small scale. The Department of Monument Protection is also working to extend the tax relief for monuments to include historic parks and is addressing insurance issues for historic buildings. Currently, if these properties are uninhabited, insuring them becomes problematic.
Next, Andrzej Novak-Zempliński, Honorary President of Domus Polonorum, took the stage. He presented the history of the Association, founded in 2003, and its roots stretching back to the Club of Individual Users of Historic Properties, established in the 1980s. He also showcased his recently published album titled „Life Around Horses”, recommended by Domus Polonorum.
The special guest of the anniversary was Ewelina Oksiuta – Head of Office at European Historic Houses. Flying directly from Brussels, where the EHH headquarters is located, she presented the activities of her organization to Domus Polonorum members. Domus Polonorum has been a member of EHH for two years, which unites national associations of private owners of historic properties across Europe. Thanks to the efforts of EHH, they managed to secure an exemption from the obligation to create energy performance certificates for historic buildings in EU legislation. EHH has two groups: NextGen – uniting young owners and prospective owners of historic properties from all over Europe (up to 45 years old) and the Owner’s Circle for older individuals. European Historic Houses is a member of Europa Nostra, making Domus Polonorum an indirect member of Europa Nostra as well.
Later in the meeting, Stanisław Ledóchowski, a Honorary Member and Elder of our Association, a collector, scenographer, and poet, recited three of his poems, immersing the audience in a reflective mood.
Marcin Schirmer, President of the Polish Landowners’ Society (PTZ), also spoke. He emphasized the common features of our organizations, especially the cultivation of manor culture in current times. He also expressed regret that the issue of reprivatization had not been resolved, nearly 80 years after the communist nationalizations.
After the official part, there was a reception. Side conversations provided an opportunity to exchange experiences and strengthen relationships.
The Board of the Domus Polonorum Association would like to thank everyone who responded to the invitation and celebrated the 20th anniversary in the Royal Łazienki Park in Warsaw.