CHRISTIAN KUZATKO, FRONT HOUSE

Christian Kuzatko from Huis de Voorst talks about the beautiful 'Versailles of the Achterhoek'. And who ensured that he ended up on this beautiful estate. Text: Bart-Jan Brouwer
Image: John van Helvert

Palace

“After the Hotel School in Munich, I gained experience in Singapore, Australia and the US. In America, I was approached by a headhunter for the position of location manager at Verhaaf Party Catering, the party caterer in Amsterdam at the time. I flew there for the job interview and went from there to Germany. However, I took a wrong turn and got lost.

Suddenly I found myself standing in front of the gate of the nationally protected historic country estate Huis de Voorst. It was a ruin. But I saw through that. I saw the charm, the strength of this building - you won't find that French-English architectural style anywhere else in the Netherlands -, the fields surrounding it... The entire area has been declared a nature reserve, so no construction can take place. You see green everywhere, you really feel like you're away in the Netherlands. I concluded a rental contract with the owner, the Friends of Gelderse Kastelen Foundation. That's how I ended up in Eefde. I had no idea yet what I would make of it, but I had a good feeling about it and made every effort to completely renovate it into the palace that it is now, the 'Versailles of the Achterhoek'.”

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Concert pianist

“There are many beautiful locations in the Netherlands, but we go the extra mile. We offer exclusivity and do not organize multiple events on the same day. And because we do this in collaboration with the foundation, we do not have to deal with the interests of landlords and operators. The foundation maintains the outside well, I keep the inside. That is one of the reasons why we are price-wise in the middle segment, but we have the appearance of the upper segment. This win-win situation makes the building increasingly distinctive. We also do this with our own wine and with our new restaurant, Joost - named after Arnold Joost van Keppel, lover of King Willem III, who provided him with the financial resources to purchase the De Voorst estate.

We will not be serving miscellaneous dishes in the restaurant, but back to the kitchen of the 100s. For example, a good piece of beef from our own beef - 48 percent pure, no rubbish in it - which is slaughtered by chef Robert Moossdorff himself. It's funny that as a German I'm so obsessed with Dutch culture. Joost has XNUMX places, offers valet parking, guests are - as in the past - seated by the chef, and cell phones are not allowed.”

Iranian wedding

“Huis de Voorst is a very popular wedding location. A third of bridal couples come from abroad – Abu Dhabi, California, China… Do you know why they come here? Every other venue says, 'Iranian wedding? No problem, we'll arrange it.' Because the sales managers think they can find enough information on Wikipedia. I went to Tehran with my boss to see how a wedding works there. There I learned to understand people. And you can't Google that. The appeal of Huis de Voorst also has to do with the energy it radiates. It is a distinctive building with a distinctive interior. You either like it or you don't like it. It is maintained, clean, neat… It just may not be your style. The building is connected to the character I want to be. I just show the prospective bridal couples around in my jeans and sneakers. People look for that accessibility. It's not about how I present it, but how I ultimately present it. And that's 110 percent. Does not exist? Yes here. Point."