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Interview with the President of the Cluj/Kolozsvár Town Embellishment Society

We asked Dezső Szenkovics, the President of the a Town Embellishment Society how he saw the future of the Flowered Cluj Movement, and we also found out what was the favourite flower of the society’s leader. Let us know better the head of the association!

When was the idea of the Flowered Cluj Movement born and what inspired it? 

The idea itself came out of the head of my friend, Balázs Gergely, and his experience gathered abroad, and the spiritual legacy and the success of the Town Embellishment Societycreated at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century served as background. The recognition that Cluj, the cultural capital of Transylvania, is lagging far behind Western Europe, or even many of the towns in Hungary from the perspective of town embellishment, of pleasant and aesthetic city landscape, urged us to start some action in this project.

Why is it important for you convince people to become active in this area?

The answer is very simple: I would like to see Cluj decorated with flowers in the summer in the near future, for a city dressed up with flowers conveys an entirely different atmosphere and sends a completely different message. On the one hand it lets us know that the city is inhabited by people who are predisposed to beauty, the refined, for whom it matters in what surroundings they live their everyday lives. At the same time, I am convinced that it is also important that the tourists visiting here go away with a good impression.

Have you also planted more plants in your own surroundings since the movement started?

I’ll be perfectly honest with you: unfortunately I haven’t. There are two reasons for that: we had already adorned the terrace of our house with geraniums before, just as we had done every year, and on the other hand, since we started the movement, I have spent quite a lot of time and energy to promote the movement itself, to participate in its activities, as I am doing all this voluntarily, in addition to and after my teaching and administrative tasks at the Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania. But I tell you a secret: I already have a plant in my mind that I want to bring from Italy, and plant it at home.

What role, what significance do flowers have in our days?

People today are in a permanent hurry. It seems that time has speeded up around us; we are running continuously and dedicate less and less time to ourselves and our neighbours. In addition to being beautiful, aesthetic, pleasing for the eye and causing happiness in our souls, in my interpretation flowers, and taking care of them, mean much more. They oblige us to stop for a moment. They teach us how to take care, how to tune in, and they make us realise that everything is transient without regular care and attention: flowers decline, just like human relations and the human soul. So beyond the fact that they are beautiful, and cause visual delight for people, this kind of symbolic meaning, message of flowers are also important for me.

How do you see the development of the movement in the future?

I am convinced that this movement can only develop further if we are able to mobilise the citizens of Cluj, the dwelling communities, civil society and church organisations, companies. Only together and only joining our forces can we succeed in achieving this aim: to dress up the city of Cluj in flowers. Therefore I am aware that this is not something that can be attained from one moment to the other, from one day to the other. Time, persistence and a lot of communication are needed. We must be able to showcase the positive examples from our own environment — for there are many such examples —, and we also have to acquaint the members of our communities with the best practices and examples of other communities. In short: perseverance and common effort are necessary, but I am quite sure that the citizens of Cluj are capable of all that and will be able to succeed in such an endeavour.

If there was only one type of flower to adorn Cluj, which one would it be, what colour and what fragrance, and why?

I don’t think it would be a good idea to force the whole town into a garment of one flower alone. Firstly, because there is no such favourite flower for me that would deserve that, and secondly, I think that it would be too monochromatic, made after the same pattern, which would endanger the very essence of the project. Therefore, I would be happy to see a flowery Cluj that is variegated, with green plants and colourful and fragrant, as well as beautiful and scentless flowers. Just think how boring our world would be if every individual was similar or identical, or even just alike.

Interview with the President of the Cluj/Kolozsvár Town Embellishment Society