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Debrecen coat of arms
Debrecen (Hungary)
Basic data
State : Hungary
Region : Northern Great Plain
County : Hajdú-Bihar
Small area until December 31, 2012 : Debrecen
District since 1.1.2013 : Debrecen
Coordinates : 47 ° 32 '  N , 21 ° 38'  E Coordinates: 47 ° 31 '48 "  N , 21 ° 38' 21"  E
Height : 121  m
Area : 461.65  km²
Residents : 208.016 (Jan. 1, 2011)
Population density : 451 inhabitants per km²
Telephone code : (+36) 52
Postal code : 4000-4044, 4225
KSH kódja: 15130
Structure and administration (status: 2018)
Community type : city
Mayor : László Papp (Fidesz-KDNP)
Postal address : Piac et al. 20
4024 Debrecen
Website :
(Source: A Magyar Köztársaság helységnévkönyve 2011. január 1st at Központi statisztikai hivatal )
Aerial view of the main square
Main square with reformed church
Csokonai Theater
St. Anne's Church
Small reformed church

Debrecen [ ˈdɛbrɛʦɛn ] ( German  Debrezin , also Debreczin , Slovak Debrecín ) is a Hungarian city ​​with county rights in the district of the same name and the seat of Hajdú-Bihar County . It is located in the eastern part of Hungary, about 30 kilometers west of the border with Romania .

The area of ​​Debrecen is 46,165 hectares, the population 201,432 (2019); this makes Debrecen the second largest city in Hungary. The inhabitants of Debrecen still use the medieval term “ Civis ” to refer to themselves today . In 2016, Debrecen was awarded the honorary title of “ Reformation City of Europe ” by the Community of Evangelical Churches in Europe .


The city came about through the union of several settlements and was first mentioned in 1235 in the Váradi Regestrum as Debrezun .

Debrecen becomes a market town

In 1361, King Louis the Great ( Nagy Lajos ) granted the town's citizens the privilege of a market town ( Mezőváros ) with the right to vote for their own jurisdiction and a city council. This led to economic growth, making the city a trading center in the 16th century, trading with Vienna, Poland and Silesia. The main source of income was the cattle trade, animal breeding and handicrafts. Despite the booming economy, the buildings were simple and the streets were barely paved. Multi-story buildings were rare until the 19th century. Between 1450 and 1507 Debrecen was the seat of the noble Hunyadi family .

Reformation and Ottoman rule

The openness of the city allowed Protestants and Calvinists to settle quickly and early , which is why Debrecen under the Reformed Bishop Péter Juhász Méliusz (approx. 1536–1572) was soon referred to as Calvinist Rome and has remained the center of Calvinism in Hungary to this day. The majority of the city's residents at the time were Magyars and converted to the Calvinist faith in the 16th century. The Reformation was so radical there that the Catholics lost all churches. From 1552 only Calvinists were allowed to settle in the city.

In 1555 Debrecen was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The city bought its independence through tribute payments. During the Ottoman occupation , however, there were always problems, as Debrecen was on the border between the Ottoman, Habsburg and Transylvanian parts of Hungary. Thanks to their diplomatic skills, the inhabitants benefited from the Ottoman Empire as well as from the European Catholic rulers and the prince of Transylvania Franz II Rákóczi .

In 1693 King Leopold I granted the city the privilege of a Free City. In 1715 the Catholic Church came back to the city. Piarists built St. Anne's Church. Debrecen was then an agricultural, economic, cultural and humanities center. The Calvinist College, the predecessor of the University of Debrecen , had numerous well-known students.

Struggle for freedom 1848 to 1849

During the Hungarian Revolution from 1848 to 1849, the Hungarian Parliament was moved to the safer Debrecen, where it met in the Reformed College ( Református Kollégium ) and in the Great Reformed Church. In Debrecen, Lajos Kossuth announced the dethronement of the Habsburgs on April 14, 1849.

Industrial revolution

In the dual monarchy, the construction of the railway line from Pest to Debrecen in 1857 led to an industrial boom. At that time, the School of Natural Resources and Life Sciences and the Agricultural College were opened, mills, sugar, brick and tobacco factories as well as gas works were built, and banks and other service providers settled in the city. In 1865 today's Csokonai Theater ( Csokonai Színház ), named after Mihály Csokonai Vitéz , was opened. Hospitals, schools, barracks and churches were built. It slowly took on an urban look after the Aranybika Hotel , the county house and the town hall were built. In the city forest ( Nagyerdö ), where the university is located today, thermal water was found in 1823, which was used in the newly built Vigadó spa . At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, education took off with the establishment of the University of Debrecen . In 1884, the tram line that still exists today began its service.

20th century

With the end of the First World War there was an uproar caused by the Romanian occupation. The crisis made the city focus more on tourism, which experienced an upswing in the interwar period . A center for recreation, sport and education was created in the vicinity of the university and the clinic within the city forest ( Nagyerdő = Great Forest). The summer university, founded in 1927, offered a program for general education, advanced training and language education, combined with recreation and a leisure and sports program. A covered swimming pool, Hungary's first sports stadium and the central cemetery were built. The proximity to the tourist destination Puszta in Hortobágy brought many visitors. In 1944 Debrecen was the capital and seat of government of Hungary for the second time for a short time when the provisional national assembly was constituted here at the end of the Second World War. In the same year the Red Army launched an offensive towards Budapest, the Debrecen Operation .

About 70 percent of the houses were affected by the bombing in World War II . More than half of the buildings were destroyed.


The population is Protestant-Reformed (Calvinist), in contrast to the rest of Hungary, which is predominantly Catholic. The Counter-Reformation initiated by the Habsburgs did not reach Debrecen because it was then part of the Ottoman Empire. Although religion has lost a lot of its importance in the era of socialism, this difference lives on in the self-image of the Debrecen citizens.

Population development

year population
1980 198.195
1990 212,235
2001 211.034
2011 211,320
2017 201,981

Education and universities

University of Debrecen (main building)
Line 2
Gedeon Richter Plc. Biotechnology plant in Debrecen

Debrecen is a university city. About 30,000 students are currently enrolled at the University of Debrecen . In addition to the humanities faculty, there is the Technical University, the Agricultural University, the University of Economics and the Medical University. The universities are known beyond Hungary's borders and annually attract over 600 foreign medical students. The Medical University is of particular importance with its large clinical area and reputation.

Hungarian intensive courses called Summer University ( Nyári Egyetem ) are held especially in summer and winter .


  • Motorway: M35 from Budapest to Debrecen.
  • Main road: The F47 and F35 end in Debrecen .
  • Rail: Intercity and express trains from / to Budapest, Miskolc , Nyíregyháza u. a, as well as the Debrecen – Nagykereki and Debrecen – Füzesabony railway lines .
  • Airport: Debrecen Airport offers various international charter destinations. The Hungarian airline Wizz Air will be offering regular scheduled flights to London-Luton Airport from June 2012 and to Eindhoven and Milan-Malpensa Airport since December 2012 . Lufthansa has been operating a scheduled flight from / to Munich three times a week since April 2016 with a Bombardier CR9 jet. There used to be scheduled flights to Budapest.
  • Tram : Debrecen is one of four Hungarian cities where a tram operates. Debrecen today has two tram lines. Line 1 runs between the main train station (Nagyállomás) and the university (Egyetem) . Line 2 connects the Central Station (Nagyállomás) and Doberdó Street, it was opened in 2014.


The development of Debrecen is mainly funded by agricultural, health and education companies. The city is the main shopping malls in Eastern Hungary. Forum Debrecen is the largest shopping center in the region. Debrecen is one of the most developed cities in Hungary, the regional center of international companies such as National Instruments, IT Services Hungary , BT, Continental , BMW and Healthcare Manufacturers ( Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Gedeon Richter Plc .).


Festivals and events

Flower Carnival

Every year on the Hungarian national holiday (August 20th) the Flower Carnival (Hungarian Virágkarnevál ) takes place. In addition to a large parade with floats decorated with flowers, superstructures and buildings, there is a cultural program. This festival is known across national borders and attracts thousands of guests every year.

Turkey days

Déri Museum

Debrecen is famous for its turkeys and their breeding, which are also celebrated in poetry. In honor of the turkeys Debrecen organized in June, turkey day (ung. Pulykanapok ), a multi-day street festival, prepared on the road at the turkey specialties and folk dance and music are presented.

Kölcsey Spring Festival

In spring, cultural events such as concerts, theater and opera performances, readings and exhibitions take place as part of the Kölcsey Spring (ung. Kölcsey Tavasz ). It is named after the writer Ferenc Kölcsey , who worked in Debrecen .


Large Reformed Church of Debrecen made of flowers, on the occasion of the Flower Festival on St. Stephen's Day

Along with Miskolc and Szeged, Debrecen is one of the three Hungarian speedway strongholds. Qualifying runs for the world championship were held on the speedway track in Debrecen.


The Debrecen sausage is named after the city, although it does not come from Debrecen.


On May 22, 2009 envoys from the Hungarian Reformed congregations from Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, the Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia came together in the Great Reformed Church in Debrecen to found a joint synod under the name Reformed Church in Hungary .


Old Debrecen County House
Great Reformed Church

Debrecen is not a preferred tourist destination. Outside a small area in the city center, the city is characterized by buildings from the communist era. There are some buildings worth seeing:

  • Great Reformed Church Debrecen : Debrecen's landmark from 1819, the largest Calvinist church in Hungary
  • Reformed College: Baroque building from 1568, damaged in a town fire in 1802, rebuilt in the classicist style until 1816
  • Déri Museum with art collection
  • Hotel Aranybika (Golden Bull): Older part of the hotel from 1915, younger part from communist times, inside the Bartók Hall, where concerts and cultural performances take place
  • Small Reformed Church: Baroque building from 1726 and rebuilt in 1870
  • St. Anna Church: Catholic church, completed in 1746, former Piarist religious house
  • Csokonai Színház (theater and opera), built 1861–1865
  • Old county house
  • Thermal baths
  • Debrecen University with its architecturally interesting main building
  • Orthodox synagogue , built in 1894

sons and daughters of the town

Town twinning

Debrecen has fifteen twin cities .

city country since
Brno Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic 2017
Cattolica ItalyItaly Italy 1998
Jyväskylä FinlandFinland Finland 1970
Klaipeda LithuaniaLithuania Lithuania 1989
Lublin PolandPoland Poland 1995
New Brunswick United StatesUnited States United States 1990
Oradea RomaniaRomania Romania
Paderborn GermanyGermany Germany 1994
Patras GreeceGreece Greece
Rishon LeZion IsraelIsrael Israel 1996
Setubal PortugalPortugal Portugal 2000
Shumen BulgariaBulgaria Bulgaria
Syktyvkar RussiaRussia Russia 2002
Taidong TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) Taiwan 1995
Tongliao China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China

Climate table

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: WMO ;
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Debrecen
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 0.6 4.1 10.4 16.6 21.7 24.6 26.5 26.1 22.4 16.5 8.5 2.6 O 15.1
Min. Temperature (° C) -5.5 -3.0 0.6 5.4 10.1 13.1 14.4 13.7 10.3 5.3 1.3 -2.8 O 5.3
Precipitation ( mm ) 37 30th 34 42 59 80 65 61 38 31 45 44 Σ 566
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 1.8 2.9 4.7 6.4 7.7 8.3 9.1 8.4 6.7 5.2 2.3 1.5 O 5.4
Rainy days ( d ) 8th 6th 7th 8th 9 10 8th 7th 5 5 8th 8th Σ 89
Humidity ( % ) 87 83 76 70 69 71 69 71 74 78 85 88 O 76.7
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: WMO ;

Web links

Commons : Debrecen  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Debrecen  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. Debrezin / Debrecen. In: Online encyclopedia on the culture and history of Germans in Eastern Europe. Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg , accessed on February 24, 2020.
  2. Debrecen. Basic data. In: Hungarian Central Statistical Office, accessed February 24, 2020.
  3. On the importance of Debrecen in the history of the Reformation, see the sections History and Population as well as the city ​​portrait of the project Reformation Cities of Europe: Reformation City Debrecen. Hungary. Reformed - also thanks to the Ottomans. In:, accessed on July 16, 2016.
  4. Three dozen municipalities bear the title “European Reformation City”. epd press release, July 22, 2015. In: aktuell_presse, accessed on July 16, 2016 (including Debrecen).
  5. Kiss Lajos: Földrajzi nevek etimológiai szótára. Akadémiai, Budapest 1978, ISBN 963-05-1490-7 , p. 358.
  6. On the role of Méliusz in the history of the Reformation see the city ​​portrait of the project Reformation Cities of Europe: Reformation City of Debrecen. Hungary. Reformed - also thanks to the Ottomans. In:, accessed on July 16, 2016.
  7. Hungary: Counties and major cities - population statistics, maps, graphics, weather and web information. In: Retrieved March 7, 2018 .
  8. Life in Debrecen. In: ISD Debrecen, accessed on February 24, 2020 .
  9. Farkas István Béla. Szobrász. Retrieved January 11, 2015 (Hungarian).
  10. Patrasz. In: June 18, 2010, accessed November 11, 2014 (Hungarian).
  11. ^ Partnerská města. Debrecín. In: Retrieved June 11, 2018 (Czech).