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Flag of Hungary
Hungarian coat of arms
flag coat of arms
Official language Hungarian
Capital Budapest
Form of government republic
Government system Parliamentary government system
Head of state President János Áder
Head of government Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
surface 93,036 km²
population   9,772,756 (2019)
Population density 106 inhabitants per km²
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 161.18 billion ( 57th )
  • $ 312.05 billion ( 57. )
  • $ 16,484 ( 54. )
  • $ 31,914 ( 49. )
Human Development Index   0.838 ( 45th ) (2017)
currency Forint (HUF)
independence October 31, 1918
(from Austria-Hungary )
National anthem Himnusz
Time zone UTC + 1 CET
UTC + 2 CEST (March to October)
License Plate H
ISO 3166 HU , HUN, 348
Internet TLD .hu
Telephone code +36
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Hungary ( Hungarian Magyarország [ ˈmɒɟɒrorsaːɡ ] listen ? / I ) is a landlocked country in Central Europe with around 9.8 million inhabitants. Located in the Pannonian Basin and traversed by the Danube, it borders on Austria , Slovakia , Ukraine , Romania , Serbia , Croatia and Slovenia . Audio file / audio sample

The capital and largest city is Budapest , the other major cities include Debrecen , Miskolc , Szeged , Pécs and Győr . The country has been a member of NATO since 1999 and part of the European Union since 2004 .

State and country name


The Hungarian names themselves differ greatly from the foreign names for Hungarians. The term magyar (pronunciation / madjar / from Hungarian magyar [ ˈmɒɟɒr ]; formerly magyeri ) appears in Islamic sources as early as the 9th and 10th centuries and is probably a compound of magy (< Ugric * mańćε = "man, man, Gender ”) and he (i) (also“ human, male, gender ”). The name initially referred to only one of seven semi-nomadic tribes who undertook predatory raids in Europe (as far as the Pyrenees) in the 9th and the beginning of the 10th century. These tribes were called Megyer (Magyar) , Tarján , Jenő , Kér , Keszi , Kürt-Gyarmat and Nyék ; they are also known under the tribal union name hétmagyar . Towards the end of the 10th century the Magyar tribe - that is, the descendants of Árpád - succeeded in uniting the remaining tribes under its rule. From then on one can speak of Magyars.

The name "Hungary" probably came from Slavic in the other European languages. The Slavic word can be applied to the bolgarotürkische tribal name Onogur ( on = "ten" + Ogur = "trunk") attributed that this created, that the ancestors of the Hungarians in the 5th and 6th centuries in close connection with the Onogurs lived. The “H-” in Latin hungarus (and thus also in some other languages) arose from the fact that the name was mistakenly equated with the Huns (Hunni).

Use of the name

Hungary before October 31, 1918

The Kingdom of Hungary , which existed in changing borders from 1001 to 1946, is called Magyar Királyság in Hungarian , since magyar functions in Hungarian as a state name and also as a people's name. Today's Hungary is called Magyarország (German: Hungarian country ) in the local language . The German adjective “Magyar” is derived from magyar . In most of the world's languages ​​- including German - identical names are also used for the country and its inhabitants; they come from the Latin term hungarus . This in turn goes back to the name of a late antique equestrian people on the Black Sea, that of the Onogurs , who in the Middle Ages - possibly erroneously - were equated with the Magyars. In the form of the country names "Hungary" and "Hongrie", this name also found its way into English and French. In Romanian, the kingdom and today's Republic are called Regatul Ungariei or Republica Ungaria or for short Ungaria (Hungary) and in Ukrainian Королівство Угорщина (Koroliwstwo Uhorschtschyna) or Угорщина (Uhorschtschyna) for short .

Slovaks, Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, who lived wholly or partially in multi-ethnic Hungary until 1918 , differentiate between “Hungarian” and “Magyar” when it comes to national and popular names. For the Hungarian part of the former multi-ethnic state Austria-Hungary , terms based on hungarus are used: Uhorsko (Slovak), Ogrska (Slovenian) and Ugarska / Угарска (Croatian / Serbian). For the state that emerged after the Treaty of Trianon in 1920, however, the names are derived from the ethnic term Magyars Maďarsko (Slovak), Madžarska (Slovenian) and Mađarska / Мађарска (Croatian / Serbian).

Until 2012 the official full form was the Republic of Hungary (Hungarian Magyar Köztársaság ).


General geographic map

The outer border is 2009 kilometers long. Of these, 366 kilometers to Austria , 515 to Slovakia , 103 to Ukraine , 443 to Romania , 151 to Serbia , 329 to Croatia and 102 to Slovenia.

Map of the 19 counties including Budapest
Map of soil types on Hungarian territory

Hungary consists of 19 counties (although it is disputed whether Budapest should be counted as the 20th county). In the west, bordering Austria, are the Győr-Moson-Sopron and Vas counties . This western region of the country is particularly characterized by its pre-alpine hills. A little further to the east, near Lake Balaton, are Veszprém , Somogy and Fejér , and further to the north Komárom-Esztergom . This area is best known for the Bakony Mountains . Further east is the capital Budapest, with the surrounding Pest county , and further south Bács-Kiskun . This area is dominated by the Pilis Mountains and the Danube.

Even further east are the counties of Heves , Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok and Csongrád-Csanád . This area is the space between the Danube and the Tisza (Hungarian: Tisza ). In the south of the region there are small steppes. In the north is the Mátra Mountains with the highest mountain in Hungary, the Kékes . On the eastern edge of the country are the counties Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén , Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg , Hajdú-Bihar and Békés . This area is dominated by the Puszta in the south and the Bükk in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén.


The Danube divides Hungary into western Transdanubia with the Little Hungarian Plain (Hungarian Kisalföld ) and into the Great Hungarian Plain (Hungarian Alföld ) through which the Tisza flows in the central and eastern part of the country. The fertile Little Hungarian Plain in northwest Hungary consists mainly of the Győr basin . The varied landscape is determined by slightly undulating terrain, small hills and cut slabs. Thanks to the mild climate, intensive agriculture can be practiced on the fertile loess soils .

The Great Hungarian Plain takes up almost half of the entire national territory of Hungary. It is a flat, spacious area and is covered with rubble and sand that were piled up in prehistoric times. It is criss-crossed by floodplain landscapes along the Tisza and interspersed with individual forest islands. The drainage of the floodplains and the clearing of the forests have led to the salinisation of the soil. This is how the typical puszta with draw wells, individual farmsteads and extensive pasture farming was created. Due to extensive irrigation measures, fertile soils were created that enable tobacco , corn and sunflowers to be grown . The Hortobágyi National Park was created to protect the original Puszta landscape.


The Kékes ( 1014  m )

The Hungarian low mountain ranges run from the Zemplén Mountains in the northeast to the Bakony Forest in the west. Almost all low mountain ranges in Hungary have dense deciduous forest at higher altitudes. The slopes and basins are covered with fertile soils that enable arable, fruit and wine growing. Thermal springs that appear on the edges of the low mountain range are evidence of a past and lively volcanism . This is also confirmed by the volcanic rocks of the Bakony Forest and the Mátra Mountains in the north. With these exceptions, the other low mountain ranges in Hungary consist of dolomite and limestone . The wooded Mecsek Mountains in southwest Hungary rise like islands and are up to 682  m high. In the Mátra Mountains there is also the highest point in Hungary at 1014  m , the Kékes .

Altitude conditions:


By far the largest city is the capital Budapest with around 1.75 million inhabitants (2017). Around 18 percent of Hungary's population lives in the capital. The following largest cities are Debrecen (Debrezin, approx. 202,000 inhabitants), Szeged (Szeged, approx. 161,000 inhabitants), Miskolc (Mischkolz, approx. 157,000 inhabitants), Pécs (Fünfkirchen, approx. 145,000 inhabitants), Győr (Raab, approx 129,000 inhabitants), Nyíregyháza (churches, approx. 118,000 inhabitants) and Kecskemét (approx. 110,000 inhabitants).

rivers and lakes

Danube Bend near Visegrád
The largest thermal lake in Europe is located in Hévíz
View over Lake Balaton

The longest river in Hungary is the Danube (Hungarian Duna ), to whose catchment area the entire Hungarian national territory belongs. The important cities of Komárom (Komorn), Esztergom (Gran), the capital Budapest (Ofen-Pest), Dunaújváros , Baja and Mohács lie along the course of the river . The Danube reaches Hungary in the northwest and initially flows eastwards as a border river to Slovakia . After the Danube Bend , a 90 ° turn of the river at Visegrád , it flows from north to south and leaves Hungary in the direction of the Balkans , where the river first acts as a border between Croatia and Serbia before continuing across Serbia towards Romania .

The second main river of Hungary is the Tisza , which comes from the Ukraine in the northeast and flows further east parallel to the Danube to the south, finally flowing into the Danube in Serbia. Larger cities along its course are Tokaj , Tiszaújváros (formerly Leninváros ), Szolnok , Csongrád and Szeged .

Other important rivers in Hungary are the Drau (Hungarian Dráva ), the Hernád , the Sajó , the Körös (German Kreisch ), the Mur , the Raab (Hungarian Rába ), the Zagyva and the Zala .

Almost all of the rivers mentioned originate outside of Hungary: the Danube in the Black Forest ( southern Germany ), the Tisza in the Ukraine, the Drau in South Tyrol , Hernád and Sajó in Slovakia, the Körös in Transylvania (western Romania), the Mur and Raab in Austria . Only the sources of Zagyva and Zala are on Hungarian territory, albeit in the immediate vicinity of the border.

The largest lake in Hungary is the Balaton (Hungarian Balaton ) in the hilly western Hungary. It is also the largest lake in Central Europe. Along with the capital Budapest, Lake Balaton is the most important tourist area in Hungary, mainly because of its beaches and thermal springs . Nearby is Lake Velence (Hungarian: Velencei-tó ), also a popular bathing lake with an important bird sanctuary, but which is heavily overshadowed by its “big brother” Lake Balaton for tourists. The Neusiedler See (Hungarian Fertő-tó ) is only partly in Hungary. 75 percent of the water area belongs to the national territory of Austria. The National Park Fertő-Hanság includes the Hungarian part of the lake and the marshes in the south and the Hanság and was together with the Austrian 2001 National Park Lake Neusiedl-Seewinkel for UNESCO World Heritage appointed.

The largest artificially created lake in Hungary is Lake Tisza (Hungarian: Tisza-tó ) in the lowlands in the eastern part of the country.


Climate diagram Budapest

Because of its inland location and the shielding effect of the mountains , Hungary has a relatively dry continental climate with cold winters and warm summers. The mean temperatures in January are between −3 ° C and −1 ° C and in July between +21 ° C and +23 ° C. The most abundant rainfall is recorded in early summer. The mean amount of precipitation in the west is around 800 millimeters due to the prevailing westerly winds, while in the eastern parts of the country it can fall below 500 millimeters in dry years. The amount of precipitation generally decreases from west to east.

Flora and fauna

Hungary is home to around 45,000 animal species and 2,200 plant species. There are a few northern, eastern and southern European species, the majority being made up of central European species. 855 animal species and 535 plant species are under protection. Rare, protected flowers include the Mediterranean hellebore , the wild peony in the Mecsek hills and the Hungarian windflower in the Nyírség region. Wild boars , deer , roe deer and foxes are also native to the Hungarian forests. Hares , pheasants , partridges and quails live on the agricultural land and in the lowlands . In spring, huge flocks of birds migrate from south to north. They include swallows and storks that spend the winter in Africa. Protected bird species are, for example, the stilt , the bustard , which is particularly common in the southern lowlands, and the avocet . The Hungarian rivers and lakes are very rich in fish. It is home to bream , carp and pike . Eels and Amurs were relocated from foreign lakes and rivers and now live in large numbers in Hungarian waters. On a total area of ​​816,008 hectares there are nine national parks, 38 landscape protection areas and 142 nature reserves.


Demographic structure

Population pyramid Hungary 2016: Hungary has an aging population
Development of the population in thousands since 1950
Hungarian woman in traditional costume.

As in other western industrial nations, society is aging in Hungary. 15.9 percent of the population were under 15 years of age, the majority of residents were 15 to 65 years old (68.6 percent) and 15.5 percent were over 65 years old. The total fertility rate in 2018 was 1.6 children per woman (Germany: 1.6; Austria and Switzerland: 1.5; world: 2.4). Life expectancy in 2015 was 71.7 years for the male population and 78.9 years for the female population.

According to the 2001 census, Hungary had just under 10.2 million inhabitants in that year, with an estimated population decline of 0.32 percent. The main cause is the low birth rate of around ten births per 1000 inhabitants. According to the figures from the Federal Statistical Office, the decline in the number of inhabitants that has been recorded since the 1980s has continued. According to the latest estimate by the CIA, there were around 9.826 million people in Hungary in 2018.


By far the largest ethnic group are the Magyars , who make up 92.3% of the population according to the 2001 census.

The Roma are considered to be the largest of the ethnic minorities in Hungary (cf. Roma in Hungary ). According to a census, it is around 2% of the total population; according to other estimates, there are significantly more.

Important ethnic groups are Hungarian Germans (including Danube Swabians ) (0.6%), Slovaks (0.2%) and Croats (0.15%). According to these statistics, all other ethnic groups are represented by fewer than 10,000 people. Romanians, Ukrainians, Serbs, Slovenes and Wends, Poles, Greeks, Bulgarians, Russians and Armenians follow numerically . There were no other options. Over 27,000 people said they were “unknown”. Over five percent of those surveyed did not answer the question.

Outside Hungary, about 2.4 million Magyars live in the Carpathian Basin . Due to the Treaty of Trianon as a result of the First World War, their settlement areas lie beyond today's state borders. Even today, this occasionally leads to political resentment between neighboring countries and Hungary.

In 2017, 5.2% of the population was born abroad. The most frequent countries of origin were Romania (210,000 people), Ukraine (50,000) and Serbia (40,000). Large Hungarian minorities live in all three countries.

Religions and denominations

The regional distribution of denominations according to the 2001 census:
Largest religious
Roman Catholic Church in Hungary Greek Catholic Lutheran Reformed Other religions Non-denominational
  • 50-66.6%
  • > 66.6%
  • As part of the 2011 census, people also asked about their religion. 39 percent of the population committed themselves to the Roman Catholic and the Hungarian Greek Catholic Church. 11.6 percent of the population were Calvinists , 2.2 percent Lutherans . Before the Holocaust , around 800,000 Jews lived in Hungary . Of the Jews living in Hungary today, almost 11,000 claimed to be Jewish in the last census. 18.2 percent of the population said they were non-denominational or atheists. 27.2 percent did not provide any information. There is no church membership in the strict sense in Hungary. There is no church tax. However, it is possible to assign one percent of the income tax to a religious community. Half a million taxpayers made use of this option in 2008 for the benefit of the Catholic Church. This is followed by the Reformed with 160,000 and the Lutherans with 50,000 taxpayers. The Krishna movement is in fourth place (11,000), followed by the Jewish communities (5,000) in fifth.

    All following numbers refer to the previous 2002 census.

    Religious affiliation according to the 2001 census:

    Hungary birth rate by region (2014)
  • 1.7 - 1.9
  • 1.5 - 1.7
  • 1.4 - 1.5
  • 1.3 - 1.4
  • <1.3
    1. Christians and Christian orientated: 7,584,175 (74.37%)
      1. Catholics: 5,558,961 (54.51%)
        • Roman Catholics: 5,289,521 (51.87%)
        • Greek Catholics: 268,935 (2.64%)
        • Other Catholics: 505 (<0.01%)
      2. Evangelical Reformed ( Calvinists and members of the Reformed Church in Hungary ): 1,622,796 (15.91%)
      3. Evangelical Lutheran: 304,705 (2.99%)
      4. Jehovah's Witnesses : 21,688 (0.21%)
      5. Baptists : 17,705 (0.17%)
      6. Orthodox and Oriental Christians: 15,298 (0.15%)
      7. Pentecostals : 8,428 (0.08%)
      8. Unitarians : 6,541 (0.06%)
      9. Adventists : 5,840 (0.06%)
      10. other Christians and Christian orientated: 22,213 (0.22%)
    2. Jews : 12,871 (0.13%)
    3. Buddhists : 5,223 (0.05%)
    4. Muslims : 3,201 (0.03%)
    5. other: 5,143 (0.05%)
    6. without religious affiliation: 1,483,369 (14.55%)
    7. No information or unknown: 1,104,333 (10.83%)


    The common language in Hungary is Hungarian . It belongs to the Finno-Ugric branch of the Uralic languages , to which most of the non- Indo-European languages spoken in Central Europe belong. The dialects of Hungarian differ less from one another than the German dialects, for example. There are nine major dialect groups in the entire Hungarian-speaking area. The influence of the German language dates back to the time of the rule of the Habsburgs (1699 to 1867 and 1918) in Hungary . In addition to Hungarian, the languages ​​of the minorities are widespread, see the article Ethnic groups in Hungary .



    In the first half of the 20th century, the Hungarian school system still had many similarities with the educational system in Austria and took over some elements of the Soviet school system after the Second World War. Thus, a system with twelve grades was created, which, in contrast to the Soviet comprehensive school system, was divided into an eight-year elementary school and a three- or four-year secondary school, and the grading system from 1 to 5 was introduced, with one being the worst and five being the worst best grade is. This grading system still applies today.

    All children had to take Russian lessons from the 5th grade. Many language teachers were retrained to become Russian teachers in the 1950s . After the turnaround in 1989, Russian was removed from the curriculum as a compulsory subject, and other languages ​​could be chosen instead, which again led to retraining programs; this time Russian teachers had to be retrained to become German or English teachers.

    The school system has been liberalized: at the moment there are more and more six and eight year high schools in addition to the four year olds . The “upper level” (grades 5–8) of the eight-year elementary school is becoming more and more similar to the secondary schools in German-speaking countries. In addition to the grammar schools, there are “Fachmittelschulen” (szakközépiskola) , in which a profession can be learned in addition to the university entrance qualification. This form of training is often supplemented by an additional year in which the specialist knowledge is deepened, these facilities are called technical centers. There are also vocational schools without a university entrance qualification that you attend when doing an apprenticeship. The number of bilingual secondary schools is constantly growing. It is interesting that in Hungary, which is otherwise very centered on Budapest, there are many bilingual high schools in the country. There are also schools for minorities, one example is the Gandhi High School in Pécs , which offers talented Roma children the opportunity to take their school-leaving exams.

    The examinations for obtaining the higher education entrance qualification are held uniformly and centrally throughout the country. Since 2005 there has been the possibility of taking a kind of “high-level diploma” in some subjects, which is also an entrance examination for the university. The acquisition of the higher education entrance qualification enables study at universities and technical colleges. Many branches of study have admission restrictions, there are entrance exams, and performance in middle school or language skills can also be decisive for admission. However, there are also fields of study that can be taken without an entrance examination if the considerable costs are borne by yourself.

    Customs for the final exam

    Many traditions are maintained in Hungarian secondary schools, most of which are related to high school graduation and matriculation exams. A few months before the exam, the graduating classes can be photographed individually in festive clothing (the boys usually wear a suit, the girls in a sailor's dress) and arrange the pictures together with the teacher photos on a wooden board. These boards (the érettségi tablók , "maturity boards") are displayed in various shop windows until the Matura . Around February the high school graduation balls take place, which are called szalagavató bál ("ribbon consecration "), because the high school graduates get a ribbon with the years between which they attended school attached to their jacket. The ribbon must be worn until the exam, otherwise, it is said, you fail. The ballagás festival takes place on the last day of school for the final classes (before the written exams) : a final festival in which the students march through the school building in a polonaise . They sing old student songs such as Gaudeamus igitur or melancholy folk songs about saying goodbye. They receive flowers from families and friends. That same evening, the graduating classes visit their favorite teachers at home and serenade them under the window (szerenád) . Most teachers then invite them for a little something. However, the written Matura exams are central in Hungary, which means that every student is given exactly the same tasks at the same time, which are announced via the Internet and the radio. However, there have been several high school graduation scandals in recent years because the tasks became known before the exams.


    The most famous university in Hungary is the Eötvös Loránd University , it has a philosophy and a law faculty, and it also has a university faculty of education. Medical training in Hungary enjoys a very good international reputation. The Semmelweis University is known worldwide as a medical university. Like the universities of Pécs and Szeged, it offers medical training in Hungarian, German and English. Furthermore, the Andrássy University in Budapest has existed since 2001 as the only completely German-speaking university outside the German-speaking area in Central Europe . The number of private and denominational universities is growing steadily. Private universities charge high tuition fees. A second degree or PhD program at a public university or college also has to be partially financed by the students.


    9th to 15th centuries

    Original home of the Hungarian people (Magyars)
    Statue of King Stephen I at the Fishermen's Bastion in Budapest

    The Magyars, led by Grand Duke Árpád , immigrated to the Carpathian Basin at the end of the 9th century, allegedly in 896, and carried out raids across Europe. These were continued successfully by Árpád's successors until Otto I was able to repel the attacks of the Hungarians with a devastating victory on the Lechfeld in 955 . The Kingdom of Hungary was founded on August 20, 1000 by Stephan I , who shaped the country against the bitter resistance of the old nobility based on the Carolingian model (justification of the county structure that still exists today).

    In the "Mongol Storm", as the attacks of the Golden Horde of Mongols under the military leader Batu Khan in the years 1241 and 1242 are called, the country was devastated and largely depopulated; 50% of the Hungarian population was killed. King Béla IV called settlers from the Holy Roman Empire (Swabia) into the country for the resettlement , some of whom subsequently became Magyar.

    In 1301 Andreas III died. , the last ruler of the house of Árpád . 1370–1386 and 1440–1444 Hungary was ruled by the Anjou and Jagiellonians in personal union with Poland .

    In the following period, Hungary had only one Hungarian king, Matthias Corvinus , who ruled the country from 1458 to 1490. Under the highly educated Matthias, Hungary rose to become a major political power and a center of Renaissance culture and humanism . As a Renaissance prince he drew scholars and artists from Italy to his court, founded the University in Pressburg ( Pozsony , now Bratislava ) and the Corvina library in Ofen ( Budapest ); his empire fell apart after his death.

    Between 1490 and 1526 the Polish - Lithuanian Jagiellonians ruled Hungary and Bohemia in personal union .

    16th to 19th century

    The end of Hungary's independence came around the middle of the 16th century with the conquests of the Ottoman Empire . On August 29, 1526, Sultan Suleyman I defeated at Mohács (there has been a memorial there since 1976) King Ludwig II of Bohemia and Hungary, who drowned while fleeing. Most of Hungary came under Turkish rule, with the unconquered parts either coming under Habsburg rule as Royal Hungary (including the west of Upper Hungary) or separated from Hungary and placed under Ottoman suzerainty as the Principality of Transylvania .

    Today's Andrássy Street in Budapest , 1875

    After 145 years of Turkish occupation of Hungary, Buda fell after the second siege in 1686, and the Habsburgs now conquered all of Hungary. The Hungarians disapproved of their harsh rule, so that from 1703 to 1711 there was the Kuruc uprising under Prince Franz II Rákóczi , a nobleman from Transylvania. Since the tensions between the Hungarian nobility and the Viennese court could not be resolved, they discharged (after apparently amicable negotiations and concessions by the emperor to the Hungarians) in the revolution of 1848/49 , which with the help of Russia (with reference to the " Holy Alliance ”) was bloodily suppressed, which permanently worsened the climate in the monarchy.

    After continuing unrest in the country, Hungary became an equal part of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy through the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 . Franz Joseph I now called himself the Apostolic King of Hungary (he was crowned in Buda) and Emperor of Austria (until then the Hungarian royal title was subordinate to the imperial title). This personal union, founded de jure by the pragmatic sanction , became a real union through identical Austrian and Hungarian basic laws concerning foreign policy and the army as well as their financing. A voluntary customs and trade union followed, the guilder and later the krona currency remained common ( Austrian-Hungarian bank ). Ferenc Deák and Count Gyula Andrássy played a leading role in the success of the equalization for the Hungarian side . The Hungarian "half of the empire" (as they liked to say in imperial Austria; Hungary did not want the term empire for the dual monarchy) included the countries of the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia (essentially today's Croatia without Dalmatia ), Vojvodina , a large part of Romania ( Transylvania in the broader sense and what is now the Romanian part of the Banat ) as well as small parts of Poland and the Ukraine ( Carpathian Ukraine ). As a result, there was a significant economic upswing in the country and especially its capital, which was expressed not least in the millennium celebrations of the Magyar conquest and the Budapest Millennium Exhibition in 1896 .

    However, the multi-ethnic state of the Kingdom of Hungary was characterized by internal tensions (efforts to achieve independence by the non-Magyar peoples, nationality conflicts in the course of the Magyarization policy ). The leading role in industrialization was often played by representatives of minorities (German-Austrians and Jews) who were more inclined to voluntary Magyarization, but this did not apply to the Slavic and Romanian populations of the Hungarian half of the empire. This favored the destruction of the heterogeneous state structure after the lost First World War . The decisions of the victorious powers led to the fact that in Czechoslovakia (today in Slovakia), in Romania and in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (today especially in Serbia ) there are Hungarian minorities due to the Treaty of Trianon . However, Slovak, Romanian and German minorities also remained in Hungary.

    From 1918 to 1945

    On October 31, 1918, Hungary declared its withdrawal from the Real Union with Austria and recalled the Magyar troops from the Italian front. The Austro-Hungarian monarchy was dissolved. In response to urgent demands from top Hungarian politicians, King Charles IV declared on November 13, 1918 at Eckartsau Castle (Lower Austria) that he would renounce any share in Hungarian state affairs, as he had declared for Austria as Emperor Charles I two days earlier. However, there was no formal abdication.

    Prime Minister Mihály Károlyi proclaimed the democratic republic of Hungary on November 16, 1918, and in January 1919 he was elected the country's first president. However, the social grievances resulting from the lost war continued. After the peaceful civil revolution of 1918, the government of the new republic enacted People's Law Number 1 , which for the first time in Hungarian history guaranteed equal voting rights for both sexes, exercised through party lists. However, no elections were held on this basis. The conservative wing of the nationalist movement overthrew Prime Minister Mihály Károlyi in a counter-revolution and women's suffrage was abolished.

    After Károlys resignation on March 21, 1919, the communists took power under the leadership of Béla Kun and founded a soviet republic . The post-revolutionary electoral law of November 1919, which was contained in Government Ordinance 5985/1919 / ME, then again guaranteed a gradually expanded right to vote. Yet the 1920 elections were shaken by intimidation and corruption. Women and men over 24 had the right to vote if they had been Hungarian for six years and had lived in Hungary for at least six months. Women's suffrage was limited to women who could read and write. Men were exempt from the age limit if they had served at the front for at least twelve weeks. A serious setback followed in 1922: a reform of the electoral law raised the voting age for women to 30. A certain level of schooling was also required: four years of elementary school for men and six for women (four if they had at least three children or were their own income and head of household) .

    In order to regain the territories lost after the First World War ( Transylvania , Slovakia ), Hungary took military action against its neighboring countries. In the Hungarian-Romanian War , however, the Hungarian “Red Army” quickly found itself on the defensive. With the occupation of large parts of the country by Romanian troops, the socialist republic collapsed on August 1, 1919, and Béla Kun had to flee. After the end of the Soviet republic, Archduke Joseph August of Austria , from August 7th to August 23rd, Reich Administrator, failed to try to form a government because of the negative attitude of the Allies. Finally, the former kuk admiral Miklós Horthy , who had previously formed a conservative counter-government to the communists in Szeged , entered Budapest with his troops on November 16, 1919.

    Map of the territorial division according to the Treaty of Trianon (red lines) compared to the previous national territory (gray lines and colored areas)
    Miklós Horthy, ruler of Hungary 1920–1944.

    Elected as Reich Administrator by the National Assembly, Horthy formally reintroduced the monarchy on March 1, 1920, but subsequently remained the de facto head of state. While in exile in Switzerland, Charles IV tried twice to regain control of Hungary; both times, however, Horthy refused to hand over power. The restoration of the Habsburg monarchy was forbidden to Hungary in the course of the peace negotiations ( Paris suburb agreements ) ( Treaty of Trianon ). On November 6, 1921, the Reichstag passed the so-called Dethronization Act to formally dismiss the Habsburg-Lothringen dynasty . The government then recognized the Trianon Peace Treaty , under the terms of which Hungary had to cede two thirds of its national territory to Czechoslovakia, Romania, the South Slav state and Austria. Most of the territories that were now ceded had already separated from Hungary in 1918/1919 and had joined the new successor states of the Danube Monarchy or had been taken over by them; the later Burgenland did not become part of Austria until autumn 1921.

    From 1933 onwards, under Prime Minister Gyula Gömbös, Hungary came closer and closer to National Socialist Germany due to economic crises and revisionist propaganda . In the Viennese arbitral awards dictated by Nazi Germany , Hungary got back the Hungarian-inhabited southern Slovakia (along the Danube) in 1938 and a considerable part of Transylvania (from Romania) in 1940. Due to the Balkan campaign (1941) , Prekmurje also fell to Hungary. However, each of these areas had to be given up again in 1945.

    In return, Horthy joined the Axis powers in the war against the Soviet Union on June 27, 1941 , but suffered heavy losses due to insufficient equipment. Contact was made with the Western Allies, but they referred to Moscow. When these contacts became known to the Germans, they occupied the country from mid-March 1944 and set up a collaboration government under Döme Sztójay , which immediately began to deport the Jewish population. Over 200,000 of the Jewish Hungarians living on the national territory from 1937 perished in concentration and extermination camps. More than 200,000 more victims came from the areas that Hungary had occupied after the Vienna arbitration awards. After Romania's surrender, Horthy decided on September 28, 1944, to send a delegation to Moscow with an offer of surrender. On October 15, the negotiations led to the proclamation of the armistice on the radio. After the arrest of Horthy in the fall of 1944, the participation in the war was the fascist movement of the Arrow Cross Party of Ferenc Szálasi continued. For Hungary, the fighting of World War II ended with the battle for Hungary and the occupation of the country by the Red Army , which was completed by April 4, 1945.

    Eastern bloc, Hungarian uprising and turning point

    Hungary came under Soviet influence due to the Treaty of Yalta . In 1945 unrestricted voting rights were restored. In the free parliamentary elections in November 1945, the Small Farmers Party won 57% of the vote, the Communists were just behind the Social Democrats in third place with 17%. However, under Soviet pressure, the Communists were accepted into the government and gradually seized power until 1949. the country was subjected to communism on the Soviet model. In 1948 the Social Democratic Party of Hungary was forcibly united with the Communists to form the Hungarian Working People's Party (MDP), which was replaced in 1956 by the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (MSZMP). On August 20, 1949, a constitution based on the Soviet model was adopted. Until 1953 Hungary pursued a Stalinist course under Mátyás Rákosi .

    János Kádár, communist head of state 1956–1988.

    On October 23, 1956, there was a popular uprising , in the course of which Imre Nagy , who had already been Prime Minister from 1953 to 1955, again obtained this office. He formed a multi-party government and demanded parliamentary democracy and Hungary's neutrality . However, the uprising was bloodily suppressed by the Soviet army. Many Hungarians then left the country and emigrated to Western Europe or North America . Nagy was executed (his ashes were solemnly buried in Hungary in 1989). János Kádár , until then Deputy Prime Minister, became Secretary General of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party and Prime Minister. The initial repression against those involved in the uprising was followed by amnesties between 1959 and 1963 that led to releases. In 1968 Hungary took part in the military intervention of the Warsaw Pact states in Czechoslovakia, which had become dangerously liberal for the Eastern Bloc .

    Since the 1960s, Kádár, who was General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party until 1988 and Prime Minister from 1956 to 1958 and from 1961 to 1968, allowed certain liberalizations in the political, economic and cultural areas known as " Goulash Communism ". In 1987/1988 opposition groups were formed which promoted the peaceful change of system and questioned the legitimacy of Soviet (de facto Russian) supremacy ( Imre Pozsgay , who publicly contradicted the doctrine of the “counter-revolution of 1956” in the office of state minister ).

    In 1988 the now aged Kádár resigned under the pressure of the circumstances at a special party congress of the state party USAP, successor was Károly Grósz . There were also opposition voices in the communist USAP calling for free elections and the withdrawal of Soviet troops. This initiated the opening of the border to Austria, the dismantling of the border installations and thus the cutting of the Iron Curtain . Hungarian border guards began dismantling the border fence as early as May 2, 1989. On June 27, 1989, Gyula Horn , the Hungarian Foreign Minister, together with his Austrian counterpart Alois Mock, cut the barbed wire on the border between Austria ( Klingenbach ) and Hungary ( Sopron ) in a symbolic action . Until August 1989, Hungary delivered those who had wanted to flee to the GDR. From September 11, 1989, Hungary officially allowed GDR citizens to travel to Austria.

    Hungary played a decisive role in the revolutions of 1989 in the former Eastern Bloc states and thus also in the peaceful revolution in the GDR , which paved the way for the reunification of Germany.

    History since 1989

    After 1989/90 Hungary became (politically) part of the western state system. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989/90, the Hungarian state was also renewed. On October 23, 1989 - the anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian People's Uprising - the Republic of Hungary was proclaimed and a modified version of the 1949 socialist constitution came into force. The model for this amended version was, among other things, the German Basic Law . The government is responsible to parliament , the prime minister is responsible for government activities . In order to guarantee the greatest possible stability of the government, the institution of the constructive vote of no confidence was created. Hungary's first free parliamentary elections since 1947 took place in March 1990.

    The Hungarian parliament is a unicameral parliament. It elects the President of the Republic , the Prime Minister, the members of the Constitutional Court, the Ombudsman of Minorities , the President of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General. The president, who is elected for five years, has little power.

    Since the introduction of free and secret elections up to 2010, Hungarian politics has been characterized by frequent majority changes.

    After the 1990 election, a conservative coalition government made up of MDF , FKgP and KDNP ruled until 1994 . Prime Minister was initially József Antall , after his death in December 1993 Péter Boross . The governing coalition suffered a heavy defeat in the election in May 1994, while the Socialists ( MSzP ) that emerged from the former Communist Unity Party achieved an absolute majority of the seats with 33% of the votes due to the electoral system. The new Prime Minister was Gyula Horn , who, despite an absolute majority in his party, formed a coalition with the left-wing liberals ( SzDSz ). The 1998 election brought another change of power. Fidesz , until then a small party, became the largest group. Viktor Orbán became Prime Minister for the first time. Until the surprising narrow electoral defeat in 2002, he headed a coalition of Fidesz, MDP and the FKgP, which collapsed during the election period.

    Hungary became a member of NATO in March 1999 after Parliament voted overwhelmingly to join on February 9th. The country was one of the first states of the former Eastern Bloc to join the alliance.

    After the 2002 elections, the MSzP again took over government responsibility together with the SzDSz . The new Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány , who had been in office since September 29, 2004, succeeded Péter Medgyessy , who resigned after attempts to restructure the government.

    On May 1, 2004, Hungary joined the European Union after a referendum resulted in an approval rate of 83.8%.

    The government of MSzP and SzDSz was re-elected in the parliamentary elections on April 9 and 23, 2006. This is the first time a government has managed to remain in office.

    In September 2006, details of a speech Gyurcsány gave to his parliamentary group after the parliamentary elections in April became public. In this speech, Gyurcsány said that the government had only lied in recent years to cover up the true state of state finances. With this speech Gyurcsány wanted to get his party to support the consolidation measures planned by him (VAT increase, practice fee, layoffs in the public service). In September and October 2006 there were repeated violent riots, particularly in Budapest, which also overshadowed the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the 1956 popular uprising . Gyurcsány offered his resignation on March 21, 2009.

    The new government was formed under Economy Minister Gordon Bajnai , who received the support of the SzDSz under Gábor Fodor. The SzDSz tolerates the minority government of the MSzP. Bajnai formed a government made up of non-partisan experts. In parliament on April 14, 2009, 204 of the 386 MPs voted against Gyurcsány and for Bajnai as the new Prime Minister in a constructive vote of no confidence.

    Gödöllő Castle - as the official venue of the EU Council Presidency (2011)

    In the 2010 parliamentary elections , the electoral alliance made up of Fidesz and KDNP received 263 of the 386 seats and thus had a two-thirds majority required for constitutional changes. On May 29, 2010 the new parliament elected Viktor Orbán as the new Prime Minister. On April 18, 2011, with the votes of the governing parties, the new constitution that came into force on January 1, 2012, the Basic Law of Hungary, was passed . As the foundations of the nation, the Basic Law in its preamble acknowledges, among other things, God, the crown (St. The official state name was changed from the Republic of Hungary (Magyar Köztársaság) to Hungary (Magyarország). The form of government in Hungary is still referred to in Article B of the constitution as a republic, the form of government is parliamentary.

    János Áder has been President of the Republic since 2012 .

    In the parliamentary elections in 2014 and 2018 , Fidesz won just under a two-thirds majority in alliance with the KDNP with changed electoral law.

    During the refugee crisis in Europe from 2015 onwards, the country became a stopover for a significant movement of refugees and migrants who, coming from Greece , tried to reach Northern Europe on a route known as the “ Balkan Route”. As a result, the government made the southern national borders increasingly difficult to fortify and initiated a referendum in which quotas for the distribution of asylum seekers from the rest of the European Union will be voted on in October 2016.


    Hungarian Parliament Building (2016)

    Political system

    On January 1, 2012, a new constitution came into effect, which was reformed in 2013. It replaced the constitution of 1949, which was reformed in 1989. The state structure was not changed significantly. The new constitution and the 2013 reform met with considerable criticism at home and abroad, including from the EU. Among other things, the preamble, a curtailment of the powers of the Constitutional Court and the powers of the newly created Budget Council were criticized.

    Hungary is a republic. The head of state is the president , who is elected for a five-year term. The executive branch in the country exercises the Hungarian government with the Prime Minister as head of government at the head. The Hungarian government is responsible to the Hungarian Parliament (Hungarian Országgyűlés). The President of Parliament is the President of Parliament , who is elected from among the members of Parliament.

    In the   2019 Democracy Index of the British magazine  The Economist,  Hungary ranks 56th out of 167 countries and is therefore considered an "incomplete democracy". In the country report  Freedom in the World  2020 by the US  non-governmental organization  Freedom House  , the country's political system is rated as “partially free” with 70 out of 100 points (2017: 76/100). Hungary was the only member state of the European Union that was not rated as “free”.

    After the Corruption Perception Index (Corruption Perceptions Index) of Transparency International was Hungary in 2018 out of 180 countries on the 64th place, with 46 out of a maximum 100 points (2015: 51 points).

    In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic , the Hungarian parliament passed a law on March 30, 2020, according to which the government was empowered to issue decrees and to suspend fundamental rights and laws for the duration of the dangerous situation ; elections and referendums should not take place. An end date was not planned. Critics feared that the government wanted to govern by means of decrees for an indefinite period without the involvement of parliament and spoke of “a kind of emergency dictatorship”. On June 16, 2020, parliament decided to lift the state of emergency imposed due to the corona crisis, which was repealed on June 18, 2020. At the same time, parliament passed an implementation law that allows the government to revert to regulations in order to be able to react to a possible worsening of the situation. Critics complain that Orbán continues to seek powers of attorney through the back door.

    Administrative division

    Hungary is divided into 19 counties and the capital Budapest. Within the counties there are 24 towns with county law. These belong to the county under administrative law, but their residents do not vote for the county council (Megyei Közgyűlés). In 1999 the country was divided into seven regions , also to meet the requirements of the European Union . The counties, in turn, were subdivided into small areas up to 2013 , which corresponded to level LAU 1 in the EU's NUTS system . In 2013 the small areas were replaced by districts (járások).

    Österreich Slowenien Kroatien Serbien Deutschland Slowakei Ukraine Rumänien Komitat Győr-Moson-Sopron Komitat Komárom-Esztergom Komitat Vas Komitat Zala Komitat Veszprém Somogy Komitat Fejér Komitat Tolna Komitat Baranya Budapest Komitat Pest Komitat Bács-Kiskun Komitat Nógrád Komitat Heves Komitat Jász-Nagykum-Szolnok Komitat Csongrád-Csanád Komitat Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén Komitat Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg Komitat Békés Komitat Hajdú-Bihar
    Cities with county law
    Counties, county seat
    Regions Counties in the region
    ( Western Transdanubia )
    ( Central Transdanubia )
    Veszprém (county)
    ( Southern Transdanubia )
    ( Northern Hungary )
    ( Central Hungary )
    Budapest (capital)
    Pest (county)
    ( Northern Great Plain )
    ( Southern Great Plain )
    Csongrád (county)

    Parliament and parties

    The parliament has one chamber and has consisted of 199 members since 2014, up from 386 before. The members are elected for four years. There has been no early election since 1990. The electoral system is a mixture of majority and proportional representation. A five percent hurdle applies to the distribution of list seats . The new electoral law passed in December 2011 increased the favor of large parties.

    In the parliamentary elections in April 2014 , the governing parties Fidesz of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and KDNP together achieved 133 of the 199 seats in parliament and thus again the two-thirds majority required for constitutional amendments after 2010 . They won the same number of seats in the general election on April 8, 2018 . Five MEPs are required to form a political group. The following parties have been represented with a parliamentary group since the 2018 election:

    Foreign policy

    With Hungary's accession to NATO in 1999 and, in the course of the EU's eastward expansion in 2004, also to the European Union , two fundamental objectives of Hungarian foreign policy were achieved. On December 17, 2007, Hungary became the first country to ratify the Lisbon Treaty , thereby publicly expressing its pro-European stance. Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány spoke out strongly in favor of an integrated Europe and advocated strengthening the community decision-making process based on the principle of progress through compromise. Since around 2009, Hungary's European policy has also been co-determined by parties that are critical of or reject the EU, which overall led to a partial distancing.

    Hungary is interested in the economic and political stability of its southern neighbors; it campaigned for the democratic opposition in Yugoslavia even before the fall of Slobodan Milošević . The infrastructure connections, in particular the highways to the neighbors, are to be further expanded and economic relations with the future EU member states are to be intensified. Hungary also advocated Croatia's accession to the EU . Within the European Union, cooperation within the Visegrád Group (with the Czech Republic , Slovakia and Poland ) is to be continued. Hungary held the chairmanship in 2001 and 2002.

    Since 2016, the country has had observer status in the community of Portuguese-speaking countries (see also Portuguese-Hungarian relations ).

    Magyar minorities

    Hungary in Transylvania , Romania .

    Of the 12.5 million autochthonous Magyars in the Carpathian Basin area , around three million live outside of the country's borders as a result of the Trianon Peace Treaty and the Paris Peace Conference in 1946 . Since the amendment of the Hungarian Constitution of 1989, the Hungarian governments have been obliged to look after the concerns and interests of the Magyar minorities across the borders and to promote Hungarian-Hungarian relations abroad and cultural and economic exchange.

    This has resulted in interstate conflicts with neighbors, which were particularly pronounced after 2000. In 2001, a law with preferential treatment for Hungarians abroad was passed. It is true that Hungary also concluded minority agreements and basic treaties on friendly relations with its neighboring states in order to resolve the minority issue of Hungarians living abroad. In the course of the increase in nationalist and patriotic currents both in Hungary and in the neighboring states, which was also expressed in the parliamentary presence of right-wing nationalist parties and their participation in government, the bilateral relationship deteriorated, particularly with Slovakia , where the Magyars make up almost 10% of the population put. The bilateral disgruntlement between Slovakia and Hungary was evident in the conflict over the refused entry of the Hungarian President László Sólyom to the Slovakian Komárno on August 21, 2009 , in the amendment of the Slovak language law, which made the official use of the Hungarian language in Slovakia clear and on the entry into force of the Law on Patriotism in Slovakia.

    In keeping with a key election promise made by Fidesz , the winner of the 2010 parliamentary elections, the newly constituted Hungarian Parliament passed a law on dual citizenship on May 26, 2010, which allows Magyars from abroad to apply for Hungarian citizenship regardless of Hungarian residence. The immediate reaction of the Slovak parliament was the passing of a law threatening Slovak citizens with the removal of their previous citizenship and removal from public office and administration upon acquisition of Hungarian citizenship.

    With the victory of an alliance of conservative-liberal parties, including the Slovak-Magyar party Most-Híd , which was aimed at the peaceful coexistence of Magyars and Slovaks , in the National Council elections in Slovakia in 2010 , Slovak-Hungarian relations eased.

    European politics

    On May 1, 2004 - with the approval of a clear majority of the population - it joined the European Union as part of the EU's eastward expansion . In the referendum on EU accession on April 12, 2003, 84% voted for membership, 45.6% of the eight million eligible voters went to the vote.

    In the 2004 , 2009 , 2014 and 2019 European elections , Fidesz was clearly the strongest party in alliance with the KDNP. The current Hungarian member of the EU Commission is the lawyer Tibor Navracsics , who belongs to the Fidesz (Hungarian Citizens' Union ) and was Hungarian Minister of Justice under Viktor Orbán from 2010 to 2014 . His election as Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport was initially highly controversial and was only confirmed by the European Parliament after his commissioner was deprived of responsibility for civil rights.

    On December 17, 2007, Hungary was the first country to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon , thereby expressing its pro-European stance. In the first half of 2011 Hungary took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time ; The focus of this Hungarian Council Presidency was, among other things, on EU energy policy . However, mainly due to the controversial Hungarian media law, at the beginning of the Council Presidency there were also controversies with other EU partners.

    On September 12, 2018, the European Parliament decided to initiate proceedings under Article 7 of the EU Treaty due to violation of fundamental European values. To establish the risk of a serious violation of fundamental European values, four-fifths of the other EU states would have to vote, for sanctions up to and including Hungary's withdrawal of voting rights in the European Council , a unanimous decision would be required.


    Saab JAS 39 Gripen of the Hungarian Air Force in Kecskemét

    The 1947 peace treaty set a maximum of 65,000 men for the army and 5,000 for the air force.

    Hungary has a professional army of around 20,000 men. Conscription was abolished in 2004. Defense spending was around $ 1.74 billion in 2019. This corresponded to 1.2% of the gross domestic product , a lower value than in most other NATO countries.

    In addition there are 12,000 border troops and a reserve of 60,000 men. The supreme command rests with the Defense Minister .

    On the part of NATO is criticized, the armed forces could not ensure the protection of their own country.

    The new Saab JAS-39 Gripen from Sweden has been in use in Hungary since March 2006 and has been actively participating in NATO exercises since 2009.

    A small detachment of Hungarian soldiers is serving in Iraq . The reserve base of the Hungarian Air Force in Kaposvár was rented by the US Air Force before the Iraq war . It remains to be seen whether US intelligence officials were also being prepared for the war in Iraq or trained there. Hungarian stabilization troops are also stationed in the Balkans within the framework of NATO, and Hungary is also active in Afghanistan with its own troops.


    In the Logistics Performance Index , which is compiled by the World Bank and measures the quality of the infrastructure, Hungary ranked 31st out of 160 countries in 2018.

    Road traffic


    In 2014, the entire road network covered around 203,601 km, of which 77,087 km were asphalted.

    The infrastructure is gradually being expanded. Many motorways and expressways are being planned and built. There are five motorways that run towards Budapest. Three of these motorways are completely completed, the M1 , M5 and M7 . The M1 runs from the Austrian border at Hegyeshalom to the capital Budapest. From here the M15 branches off in the direction of Bratislava . It has been accessible on a single lane since 1998. The M5 runs from the Serbian border near Röszke in the south to Budapest. The M7 is especially important from a tourist point of view, as it connects Budapest with the tourist area of Lake Balaton and with Croatia (or via the M70 with Slovenia). Construction of this first Hungarian motorway began as early as 1964, but it was interrupted for several kilometers until 2005 shortly after Siófok .

    Other existing motorways will be gradually extended to the national borders, such as the M3 . The M3 allows crossing the country from west to east, it runs from Budapest to Nyíregyháza . Budapest is connected to Miskolc and northeastern Hungary via the M3 and M30 . The extension to the Ukrainian border is planned until 2015. Debrecen is connected to the M3 via the M35 . The first section of the M6 towards Pécs was opened in summer 2006 between Budapest and Dunaújváros . Since spring 2010, 193 of the planned 212 kilometers (Budapest border with Croatia) have been opened to traffic.

    Another important motorway is the M0 , which is to be expanded to a complete ring around Budapest by 2015 and to begin through traffic. In 2010, 79 kilometers of the planned 108 kilometers will be passable. The M0 then connects the motorways (counterclockwise) M1, M7, M6, M5, M4, M31, M3 and M2 around Budapest. At the end of the current stage of expansion, the M2 and the road 11 (towards Esztergom ) will be connected. Further motorways to and from Budapest such as the M10 (Budapest – Esztergom) or an extensive ring around Budapest such as the M11 (Esztergom – Hatvan) are currently being planned.

    Almost every municipality in Hungary can be reached by bus . Bus routes between larger cities run every 30 to 60 minutes, while smaller towns and villages usually run every one to two hours. The largest bus company in Hungary is Volán , transporting around 1.6 million passengers a day.

    Rail transport

    MÁV InterCity

    The railway lines, like the motorways , run in a star shape towards the centrally located capital. The operating companies are the Hungarian MÁV (Magyar Államvasutak Rt.) And in western Hungary also the Austro-Hungarian GySEV / Raaberbahn .

    In international rail traffic between Hungary and neighboring countries, MÁV trains run as EuroCity (e.g. to Vienna, Prague, Berlin and Hamburg) or as InterCity (e.g. to Zagreb or Bucharest). The ÖBB Railjet connects Budapest with Vienna and beyond with destinations in southern Germany and Switzerland seven times a day .

    While air-conditioned large-capacity and compartment cars are mainly used in international traffic, non-air-conditioned passenger cars from the period before 1990 predominate in domestic traffic.These include Halberstadt center-entry cars and control cars made from them in large numbers; these were replaced by Deutsche Bahn after 1990 Hungary sold. After ÖBB has been operating a regional freight transport dispatcher for the Balkans and the CIS countries in Budapest since 2018, Hungary will also become a hub for freight transit between China and Europe after the Budapest – Belgrade railway line is completed .

    Air traffic

    International airports are Budapest Liszt Ferenc southeast of Budapest (Terminals 1, 2a, 2b), and since spring 2006 the Balaton Airport near Sármellék in southwest Hungary, which has been served from several European countries for several months.

    In addition, there are a number of inland airports in Hungary, more and more of which are used for passenger transport, such as Debrecen Airport.

    power supply

    Electricity generation in Hungary by energy source (1993-2004)

    The primary energy consumption in 2018 was 2700 oil units per capita (Germany 3600, Austria 3700), the electricity consumption per capita was 4.4 megawatt hours (Germany 6.9; Austria 8.4 MWh).

    Nuclear energy has by far the largest share in electricity generation . In 2018, their share was 49.3%. In the same year, the shares of other types of electricity generation were: gas 22.7%, coal 15.1%, biomass 6.6%, wind power 1.9%, photovoltaics 1.9%, waste incineration 1.7%, hydropower 0, 7%, oil 0.2%.

    In contrast to other Danube countries, Hungary does not have any large hydropower plants on the Danube. This is mainly due to the fact that the construction of the Danube hydroelectric power plant Gabčíkovo- Nagymaros, which was planned together with Slovakia, met with great resistance from the Hungarian population. After that, plans for further hydropower plants were discarded.

    The Paks nuclear power plant is located 100 kilometers south of Budapest directly on the Danube; its four nuclear reactors are the only ones in Hungary. The KKW is the largest employer in the Paks region . One reactor each went online in 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1987. All are Soviet types ( VVER ). The Paks nuclear power plant generates between 11,000 and 14,000 GWh of electricity each year. The radioactive waste is temporarily stored in the Püspökszilágy warehouse . In January 2014, an agreement was reached with the Russian Rosatom Group to build two additional reactor blocks with an output of up to 2 gigawatts.

    Hungary covers a significant part of its electricity needs through imports. In 2018, with electricity consumption of 46,253 gigawatt hours (GWh), exports of 4,265 GWh contrasted with imports of 18,613 GWh.

    In 2019, Hungary had the second lowest electricity price for private households in the EU after Bulgaria with an average of 11.2 cents per kilowatt hour . The electricity prices for business customers were just below the EU average.

    By far the most important energy source for heat generation is gas, in 2018 the share was 68.1% (coal 9.1%, biomass 7.6%, geothermal energy 5.7%, others 7.5%).

    Water management

    Water supply

    Due to its basin-like structure, Hungary has relatively large water resources compared to other countries in Central Europe, around 120 billion cubic meters of fresh water per year. Of this, however, 90 percent are accounted for by rivers that originate outside the national borders ( Danube , Drau , Tisza ). This means that the water quality of these rivers can only be influenced to a limited extent by national measures. In addition, Hungary has national problems, which result mainly from neglecting wastewater treatment for many years.

    In Hungary, 90 percent of drinking water comes from groundwater resources . The total annual water abstraction is around 5,500 million m³, of which around 85% is surface water and 15 percent is groundwater. The average total water withdrawal per capita in Hungary is around 550 cubic meters per year or 1500 liters per day, which is roughly double the values ​​in Poland, Romania or the Czech Republic and is slightly above the German consumption (500 m³ / year / person). Of this amount, the public water supply accounts for about 13 percent (195 l / day / person), industry and energy generation about 78 percent and agriculture about 9 percent. Before the system changeover, water consumption was significantly higher. The significant decrease is due to the closure of bauxite and coal mines, the declining demand of industry and the steady rise in water prices, which have been set by the municipalities since 1990 and which have risen considerably due to the dismantling of subsidies. In Budapest, for example, in 2004 the charges for fresh water were € 0.56 / m³ and the waste water charges were € 0.73 / m³ (exchange rate of May 12, 2004). Many municipalities are now also applying a progressive water tariff that penalizes high water consumption.

    Of the 10.2 million Hungarians, 98 percent are now connected to the public drinking water supply. However, the drinking water quality does not yet meet the minimum requirements of the European Union in all areas of the country . In rural areas in particular, there are often considerable, in some cases region-specific, supply difficulties. There are major problems with the pollution of drinking water with arsenic , nitrates , nitrites and other substances such as asbestos , iron , manganese , antimony , boron , fluorides or iodides . One reason for this are the numerous wild garbage dumps which are located in drinking water areas and which pollute the groundwater due to insufficient sealing.

    Wastewater treatment in Hungary (1992-2002)

    The proportion of households that are connected to the public sewer system is around 51 percent and affects around 60 percent of the population. However, the quota of households connected to the sewer network fluctuates depending on the size of the city. In the capital Budapest it is around 90 percent, in other major cities in Hungary it is 75 percent. In medium-sized cities, the connection rate is 45 to 50 percent, and in villages it is only 35 percent. However, the connection to the sewer network says little about the subsequent treatment of the water. Only about a third of the population is currently connected to sewage treatment plants, three quarters of which are equipped with both a primary and a secondary treatment stage. A tertiary treatment stage, in which phosphorus and nitrogen are removed, is only found in very few plants. Around a third of the wastewater from those households that are not connected to a public sewer network is treated decentrally, mainly in small sewage treatment plants , mostly multi-chamber sedimentation pits. Around 3200 municipalities in Hungary have no sewage system or sewage treatment plant at all. In contrast, more than 90 percent of industrial wastewater is properly treated.

    Every year in Hungary more than 100,000 tons of sewage sludge are produced in dry matter due to municipal wastewater , most of which is filled in landfills, but is also used in agriculture as fertilizer or is composted.


    Gross domestic product of Hungary (1997-2008)
    Employees by economic sector (1998-2004)
    Annual gross earnings of an employee in the industrial or service sector (1995-2005)

    Hungary generated a gross domestic product (GDP) of 143.8 billion euros in 2019 , which corresponds to around 14,720 euros per capita. Compared to the EU GDP expressed in purchasing power standards , Hungary achieved an index of 73 (EU-27 = 100; 2019). Germany is by far the largest trading partner, accounting for 26% of imports and 28% of exports in 2017. A large proportion of exports are made by foreign-owned companies. Most important industrial locations are the Budapest area and the border region with Austria. The largest Hungarian company is the mineral oil group MOL , followed by Audi Hungaria Motor Kft.

    Hungary has developed into an important location for the automotive industry. As foreign manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz (in Kecskemét ), BMW (in Debrecen ), Audi (in Győr ), Suzuki ( Magyar Suzuki , Esztergom ) and Opel (in Szentgotthárd ) have established plants in Hungary. For a long time, important local vehicle manufacturers were the commercial vehicle brands Ganz , Ikarus and Rába , which were particularly successful in exports during the Eastern Bloc period, but today have only minor, predominantly national importance.

    Tourism plays an important role as a source of income in Budapest, in the Puszta and at Lake Balaton. Hungary is increasingly marketing its more than 350 thermal springs for tourism . With over 15.2 million tourists, Hungary was the 23rd most visited country in the world in 2016. Tourism income was $ 5.6 billion that same year.

    Economic data

    In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Hungary ranks 60th out of 137 countries (as of 2017-2018). In 2017, the country ranks 56th out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .

    • Gross domestic product (GDP) (2019) : 143.8 billion €
    • Gross domestic product per capita (2019) : € 14,720
    • Economic growth (2019) : 4.9%
    • Gross monthly income (2018) : € 1,054
    • Monthly net income (2018) : 701 €
    • Import (2019) : € 107.0 billion
    • Export (2019) : € 110.4 billion
    • Inflation rate (2018) : 3.7%
    • Unemployment rate (January 2020) : 3.4%
    • Employment Distribution (2016)

    Economic development

    The current account has been positive since 2010 , while it was strongly negative until 2008.

    The inflation rate is subject to greater fluctuations than in the euro zone . In 2012 it was 5.65%, in 2014 and 2015 there was slight deflation , and in 2018 the inflation rate was 2.85%.

    After the end of communist rule, the unemployment rate according to the definition of the Hungarian Statistical Office rose to 12.1% by 1993 and fell to 5.7% by 2001. In 2005, another significant increase began, to 11.2% in 2010, followed by a significant decrease from 2014 to 3.5% in 2018. Unemployment among the population under the age of 25 peaked at 28.2% in 2012 and fell to 10.2% in 2018. Hungary has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU.

    The employment rate of the population aged 20 to 64 years was 62.1% in the year of accession to the EU in 2004, it was 59.9% in 2010 and then rose steadily to 75.3% until 2019. In 2016 it exceeded the EU average for the first time. In 2015, 4.9% of the total workforce worked in agriculture, 30.3% in industry and 64.5% in the service sector. The total number of employees is estimated at 4.6 million in 2017; 45.8% of them are women.


    In the income tax , there is only a single tax rate ( flat tax ) of 15 percent. The corporate income tax rate is 9 percent, the standard rate for sales tax is 27 percent.

    Economic indicators

    The important economic indicators of gross domestic product and foreign trade have developed as follows in recent years:

    Change in gross domestic product (GDP), real Eurostat
    year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
    Change in% compared to previous year 1.1 −6.7 0.7 1.8 −1.5 2.0 4.2 3.8 2.2 4.3 5.1 4.9
    Development of GDP (nominal), Eurostat
    absolute (in billion euros) per inhabitant (in thousands of euros)
    year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
    GDP in billions of euros 112.2 115.3 125.6 133.8 143.8 GDP per inhabitant (in € thousand) 11.4 11.7 12.8 13.7 14.7
    Development of foreign trade
    in billions of euros
    2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
    import 75.4 79.0 82.9 84.8 95.2 103.1 107.0
    export 80.9 83.3 88.8 92.1 100.8 106.5 110.4
    balance +5.6 +4.3 +5.9 +7.2 +5.6 +3.4 +3.4
    Main trading partner of Hungary (2016), source: Germany Trade and Invest
    Export (in percent) to Import (in percent) of
    GermanyGermany Germany 28.2 GermanyGermany Germany 26.4
    RomaniaRomania Romania 5.2 AustriaAustria Austria 6.4
    SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia 5.0 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 6.3
    AustriaAustria Austria 4.9 PolandPoland Poland 5.5
    ItalyItaly Italy 4.9 SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia 5.3
    FranceFrance France 4.9 NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 4.9
    Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic 4.2 Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic 4.9
    United NationsU.N. other states 42.7 United NationsU.N. other states 40.3

    State budget

    The national debt rose between 2001 and 2011 from 51.9% to 80.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP), after which it fell in relation to GDP to 70.8% in 2018. The public budget deficit peaked in 2006 at 9 , 3% of GDP, in the years 2012 to 2018 the deficit fluctuated between 1.6% and 2.6% of GDP.

    In 2018, government spending amounted to 46.7% of GDP (Germany 44.6%, Austria 48.6%), including:

    Hungary was particularly hard hit by the 2007 financial crisis . Because of the high double deficit (current account and national budget) and the high level of household debt, which was largely denominated in foreign currencies, the forint suffered considerable losses against the euro in October 2008. The central bank then increased the interest rate by three percentage points. In addition, the European Central Bank had to provide Hungary with a swap worth five billion euros because Hungarian banks had largely stopped granting foreign currency loans. After the market for Hungarian government bonds collapsed, Hungary asked the IMF for help. On October 27, 2008, the IMF announced that it would support Hungary with a rescue package to prevent Hungary's otherwise inevitable bankruptcy . The European Union and the World Bank are also participating in the rescue package; a total of 20 billion euros was granted to Hungary. On November 21, 2011, the Hungarian government asked the International Monetary Fund and the EU again for financial support. The yield on Hungarian government bonds had risen successively in the previous months, which also made it more expensive to refinance the debt.

    On May 23, 2014, the IMF ended the Article IV consultation. Hungary repaid IMF loans early.


    public holidays

    The official holidays in Hungary are the following days (on these days the shops are closed, while otherwise they are usually also open on Sundays):

    date designation Hungarian name annotation
    January 1st New Year Újév
    March, 15 National holiday Nemzeti ünnep March Revolution 1848
    - Good Friday Nagypéntek
    - Easter Sunday Húsvétvasárnap
    - Easter Monday Húsvéthétfő
    1st of May Labor Day Munka ünnepe Joined the European Union in 2004
    - Pentecost Sunday Pünkösdvasárnap Sunday, 50 days after Easter
    - Whit Monday Pünkösdhétfő
    20th of August Saint Stephen of Hungary Szent István ünnepe Day of St. Stephen , celebration of the founding of the state
    23rd October National holiday Nemzeti ünnep 1956 popular uprising
    November 1st All Saints Day Mindenszentek
    25 December Christmas Karácsony
    December 26th 2nd Christmas Day 2. Karácsonynapja
    Holidays before and after the turnaround

    Between the Second World War and the fall of the Berlin Wall there were public holidays associated with the communist regime, November 7th (the day of the Soviet October Revolution), April 4th (was celebrated as the "day of liberation (from fascism )" ), or March 21 (Day of the Soviet Republic 1919, which was a communist republic). On March 15th there were only free schools, and there were always fears of unrest among the youth. On this day it is customary to wear a cockade in the Hungarian national colors over the heart.

    In the communist years, August 20 was known as “the day of the constitution and the new bread” and was celebrated with a large military parade, and the new conscripts had to take their oath. On this day there is still an Air Force show over the Danube, but today only the young officers take their oath on this day because general conscription has been abolished. The celebrations on August 20 are now (as before 1948) more of a historical nature, the focus is on the commemoration of the first King of Hungary - everywhere in Hungary, St. Stephen is commemorated , in whose honor services and processions are held. The day traditionally ends with a huge firework display in Budapest, which is also broadcast live on television. The 23rd of October could not be celebrated until the fall of the Wall. On May 1, there was a large workers' parade that passed a platform where the main communist party officials were standing. Today only May rallies take place. Some church holidays (All Saints' Day and Pentecost) have only been official holidays since 1998.

    Other festivals and holidays

    In Hungary, Mother's Day (Anyák napja) is not celebrated on the second Sunday, as in many other countries, but on the first Sunday in May. The first Sunday in June is Pedagogue Day, the following week the teachers are congratulated.

    Name days are celebrated in Hungary in the family as well as with friends and colleagues, they are often more important than birthdays. In the meantime, festivals from Anglo-Saxon countries ( Halloween , Valentine's Day ) have also found their way into Hungary.

    Most of the customs on church holidays are similar to those in other Central European countries. It is an important tradition that on Easter Monday men pour perfume on women (locsolkodás) , which is an ancient custom. In the past it was customary, especially in rural areas, to pour a bucket of cold water over young women to prevent them from “withering”. This motif can be found in most of the small Easter rhymes (locsoló vers) that are often recited on this occasion: Zöld erdőben jártam, kék ibolyát láttam, el akart Hervadni, szabad-e locsolni? ("I was walking in the green forest and found a blue violet, it wanted to wither, may I water it?" Another translation: "I was in the green forest / I saw blue flowers / They wanted to wither / May I water you?") . The women have to give the men a red egg or a small gift (chocolate) for watering. Nowadays, children are given change and men are given schnapps.


    In comparison to other European dishes, Hungarian dishes are considered to be relatively “heavy fare”. A popular dish of Hungarians (often referred to as a national dish) is pörkölt (not to be confused with the gulyás ). Pörkölt is not only incorrectly referred to as goulash in German-speaking countries . In Hungary this is available both as disznó-pörkölt (with pork) and as marhapörkölt (with beef). Pörkölni describes the process of meat preparation (braising in onions, paprika and fat). The side dishes for this dish are variable and differ from region to region.

    The gulyás cooked in Hungary is, in contrast to the pörkölt, a soup. The German term “goulash soup” is correct (Hungarian gulyásleves ). Traditionally, the soup is prepared in a kettle (bogrács) . Cooking in this device dates back to nomadic times and is related to the Chinese version of the kettle: the wok. The meat is first braised like pörkölt , but after a sufficient cooking time, pour water over it. In addition, you add potato pieces and caraway seeds (not so with pörkölt ). Traditionally, only beef is used for this dish. That this is so follows from the word gulyás . The word gulya means “herd of cattle”, the gulyás is the shepherd (the Hungarian cowboy, so to speak).

    In addition to paprika , which is also used ground as a spice, especially in Hungarian and now also in foreign kitchens, the Tokaj (Hungarian tokaji ), a wine from the Tokaj wine region (Hungarian tokaji borvidék ), is world famous . Only late-ripening grape varieties are used for this wine, so that the grapes benefit not only from the dry, hot summers , but also from the long, warm and foggy autumns .


    Museum of Applied Art by Ödön Lechner , dominated by curved shapes typical of Hungarian Art Nouveau .

    Some of the most important preserved buildings in Hungary are built in the late Romanesque style. They are strongly influenced by Western European influences (Rhineland / Cologne), such as the churches in Zsámbék and Ják ( St. Georg ) from the 13th century. Two- and three-aisled hall churches from the 15th century are particularly characteristic of the Gothic . Under King Sigismund (Hungarian Zsigmond ) a princely seat was built in Buda, which King Matthias Corvinus had expanded in the Florentine style. One of the most important works of this era is the palace of Prince Esterházy in Fertőd, whose model was Versailles Palace . Mihály Pollack , one of the main builders of classicism in Hungary, came from Vienna. Miklós Ybl , who mainly built in the Renaissance style, revived this epoch in Hungary (for example at the opera house in Budapest ).

    Imre Steindl built the parliament building in Budapest in the neo-Gothic style from 1885–1902 , which made it briefly back in fashion in Hungary. Around the turn of the century, many Art Nouveau buildings were erected, especially in the capital , for example the Institute for the Blind. In Kecskemét there is a fine example of the Art Nouveau style of the Cifra Palota , built in 1902 according to the plans of Géza Márkus with facade decoration made of Zsolnay ceramic. Of the architectural style of the houses in Budapest around the turn of the century houses with courtyard and open corridors (gang) typical; the apartments in bourgeois houses are very similar to today's "old-style apartments" in Vienna. They are mainly to be found in the Pest districts on the left bank of the “Great Ring” (nagykörút) . During the years of communist rule these houses (especially in the 7th and 8th districts) were very neglected and many are still in a shabby condition today (most of the substandard apartments are in these districts). In the 1930s, several model settlements in the Bauhaus style were built , especially on Svábhegy (Schwabenberg) (in the 12th district).

    An architectural jewel is the first metro line in Austria-Hungary, which was built shortly before the turn of the century and before the Viennese light rail system, which runs from Vörösmarty tér to Mexikói út . Buildings in the city park (Széchenyi bath, zoo) are also worth mentioning.

    After the Second World War, Hungarian architects built predominantly in the modern style . The socialist realism came only during the Stalinist Rakosi dictatorship while in use. Above all in the outskirts of the rapidly growing capital Budapest, but also in all other regions, numerous prefabricated buildings ( panelház in Hungarian ) were built to alleviate the housing problem during the socialist era . The Faluház in Budapest and the Magasház in Pécs, which was demolished in 2016, were among the largest individual buildings . Brick and concrete construction techniques were also used. In the 1970s and 1980s, only Hungarian organic architecture , whose representatives included Imre Makovecz and György Csete , opposed modern architecture. The influence of international currents continued to increase in the 1980s, as it was now allowed to open private architectural offices and the country increasingly opened up economically. The latest trend is the establishment of “residential parks”, residential complexes with good infrastructure, the style of which is similar to that in Western European countries. An interesting construction project was the construction of the new National Theater in Budapest according to the plans of Mária Siklós , which was completed in 2002.

    The traditional architecture in the country today is authentically experience their ideas in some places, as in Hollókő , which as a museum village part of the world heritage of UNESCO is. The thatched-roof houses in Tihany on Lake Balaton are also listed - in the town center houses may only be built in the old style. The diversity of the Hungarian village building culture can be admired in the open-air museum in Szentendre - here, original houses from all over Hungary have been rebuilt and made accessible to the public.


    Michele Ongaro : Thalia (1456), Szépművészeti Múzeum , Budapest

    The most famous Hungarian painter of the 15th century was Michele Ongaro (also Pannonio). He worked at the court of Ferrara in Italy. The Hungarian painters of the 17th and 18th centuries also mainly worked abroad. In the 19th century, national history painting emerged (with well-known painters such as Gyula Benczúr , Bertalan Székely , Mór Than ). Miklós Barabás , a portraitist, was the first Hungarian painter to gain recognition in his own country. The paintings by Mihály Zichy and Géza Mészöly are primarily influenced by romanticism . Mihály Munkácsy combined open-air painting in preparation for impressionism with realistic elements in a wide variety of compositions from rural folk life . The works of Pál Szinyei Merse are designed in a similar way .

    At the turn of the century, the Nagybánya artists ' colony , led by Károly Ferenczy , and a few other groups gained importance, mainly as artists of realistically colored or romanticized "nature painting". Socialist-realistic genre and history painting was particularly popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Then different international currents came into play, but mainly media art and abstract and realistic painting (for example Imre Bak or Dóra Maurer ). With Victor Vasarely , Zsigmond Kemény and László Moholy-Nagy some of the leading artists of the 20th century working abroad come from Hungary. Nowadays famous painters from Hungary are István Szőnyi , Jenő Barcsay , László Lakner and Aurél Bernáth .


    Only a few inscriptions in Hungarian runes have survived from the time when the Magyars were not yet Christianized (up to approx. 950–1000) . Since the Christianization by Stephan I (Szent István) only the Latin alphabet has been used. The literary language was also Latin. The oldest completely preserved sacred text in the Hungarian language is the " funeral oration " (Halotti beszéd) and an attached prayer, which was written around 1200. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Latin historiography dominated. The Gesta Hungarorum from the 13th century should be mentioned here in particular . The author called himself "Anonymus". Who he really was is still controversial today. After the heyday of historiography, Christian hymn poetry came to the fore. The first completely preserved poem in the Hungarian language is the "Old Hungarian Lamentation of Mary" (Ómagyar Máriasiralom) , it was only discovered in 1922.

    With the Renaissance king Matthias Corvinus (1458–1490) a cultural upturn began in Hungary, and numerous splendid codices with Hungarian passages were created for the Bibliotheca Corviniana . Important Hungarians who wrote Latin were Janus Pannonius (1434–1472) and Bálint Balassi (1554–1594). The most important representative of the Counter Reformation was Péter Pázmány (1570–1637), he was a role model for Hungarian prose. His main work, the "Guide to Divine Truth" (1613), was an important step in the development of a Hungarian language of philosophy. It was not until this time that Hungarian finally established itself as a written language. Miklós Zrínyi (1620–1664) wrote the national epic “The Siege of Sziget” ( Szigeti veszedelem , 1645/1646), which appeared in German in 1821 and was the first ever epic in Hungarian.

    In addition to Sándor Baróczi (1735–1809) and Ábrahám Barcsay (1742–1806), it was above all György Bessenyei (around 1747–1811) who placed themselves in the foreground in the Enlightenment and Romanticism and who found connection with general European developments . Pest became the literary center of Hungary. The Viennese court did not remain idle, however, and built up an extensive network of censors. Mihály Csokonai Vitéz (1773-1805) was a great lyric poet who used and introduced rare lyrical forms in Hungary, such as the first iambic poem. He wrote the first Hungarian ironic epic “Dorothea” ( Dorottya , 1795), in which he caricatured the aristocratic way of life.

    The period between 1823 and 1848 was a heyday of Hungarian literature. With Mihály Vörösmarty (1800–1855), János Arany (1817–1882) and Sándor Petőfi (1823–1849) there were a number of important poets. The poem Szózat (1838) by Mihály Vörösmarty, which served as the Hungarian national anthem during the March Revolution in 1848 , was one of the most important works of this period. Mór Jókai (1825–1904) was also a representative of Romanticism. Ferenc Kölcsey wrote the national anthem Himnusz in 1823 .

    Endre Ady's (1877–1919) important work is the “New Poems” from 1906. He was the dominant figure in Hungarian literature at the beginning of the 20th century. Gyula Krúdy (1878–1933) was a style-forming prose writer of Hungarian modernism, whose extensive literary work includes around 100 volumes of novels and short stories. Géza Csáth is one of the most important representatives of modern literature in Hungary in the 20th century. In his novels, stories and diaries he broke the taboos of his time and addressed psychological abysses. His work has influenced numerous Hungarian writers. Mihály Babits (1883–1941) translated Dante's Divine Comedy and wrote novels, poetry and essays. Dezső Kosztolányi (1885–1936) translated contemporary works of world literature into “Modern Poets” (1913). Ferenc Molnár (1878–1952) is the most important Hungarian playwright, the best-known is his play Liliom (1909). In 1937 he had to go into exile in the USA. Sándor Márai (1900–1989) was forced to live in exile after the Second World War.

    After the communist seizure of power, numerous Hungarian writers fell silent or emigrated. But not all writers bowed to the dogma of socialist realism. Péter Nádas , Tibor Déry and Magda Szabó critically deal with communism in their works .

    Imre Kertész (* 1929) processed his experiences as a survivor of the Holocaust in Auschwitz-Birkenau and in Buchenwald in his novel a fateful man ( Sorstalanság , 1975), for which he was honored with the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature .

    Other contemporary authors are Ferenc Juhász and György Konrád and poets such as László Nagy , Sándor Weöres and János Pilinszky . István Eörsi and László Krasznahorkai grappled with the exercise of power in totalitarian systems after the end of the communist regime in Hungary. The right-wing extremist politician István Csurka was a respected writer. The author Péter Esterházy (1950–2016), who was born after the war, became particularly well known for his “Harmonia Caelestis” and the “Improved Edition” of the same.


    Major contributions to European music history come from Hungary. We should remember composers such as Franz Liszt , Imre Kálmán , Franz Lehár , Leó Weiner , Ernst von Dohnányi , Béla Bartók , Zoltán Kodály and György Ligeti . Important conductors include Antal Doráti , Ferenc Fricsay , Georg Solti and György Széll , well-known pianists Géza Anda , György Cziffra , Andor Foldes , Zoltán Kocsis , and András Schiff, and finally, important vocal soloists, the soprano Sylvia Geszty and the tenor Sándor Kónya . Well-known names in popular music are Katalin Karády , Omega , Piramis , Kati Kovács , Locomotiv GT , Sarolta Zalatnay , Illés , Ákos Kovács and Magdi Rúzsa . Modern folk music also has some famous performers such as: Márta Sebestyén , Muzsikás and Bea Palya . Music festivals known throughout Europe are Sziget and Balaton Sound .


    Hungarian feature film production
    year number
    1975 19th
    1985 21st
    1995 19th
    2005 26th

    Hungarian film history began at the beginning of the 20th century when Michael Curtiz and Alexander Korda directed their first films. In the turbulent years after the First World War, with the establishment of the short-lived dictatorship of Béla Kun and also after the abolition of the Soviet Republic in August 1919, many Hungarians fled abroad - mostly to nearby Austria. Numerous filmmakers also enlivened Austrian film in the 1920s : in addition to the aforementioned Michael Curtiz and Alexander Korda, who later became famous in Hollywood and Great Britain, also actors such as Lucy Doraine , María Corda , Oskar Beregi , Vilma Bánky , Marika Rökk , Marta Eggerth or the film theorist Béla Balázs . The American world star Tony Curtis was also of Hungarian descent .



    In Hungary there are 40 daily newspapers with a total circulation of 1.6 million, which corresponds to a buyers of 194 newspaper copies per 1000 inhabitants.

    The most famous daily newspapers are:

    • Népszabadság (social democratic, former press organ of the state party, approx. 100,000 copies, discontinued in October 2016)
    • Magyar Nemzet (right-wing conservative, approx.50,000 copies, discontinued in April 2018)
    • Magyar Hírlap (formerly liberal, today conservative, approx. 25,000 copies)
    • Népszava (traditionally social democratic, approx. 20,000 copies)

    The best-known weekly newspapers include the liberal literary and political journal Élet és Irodalom , the business journal Heti Világgazdaság (HVG), the bourgeois-conservative political journals Heti Válasz and Demokrata , the liberal political journals 168 óra and Beszélő , the illustrated women's newspaper Nők Lapja Füles , the Reformátusok Lapja newspaper of the Reformed Church, and the Catholic magazine Új Ember . The tabloid Blikk is very popular. The satirical magazine Ludas Matyi was discontinued a few years ago. The Budapest homeless newspaper is called Fedél nélkül .

    Broadcasting and telecommunications

    Until 2003 radio and television license fees existed in Hungary. The Duna Médiaszolgáltató Zártkörűen Működő Nonprofit Részvénytársaság , in short: Duna Média ( e.g. Donau Media Service Gesellschaft ) has been Hungary's central public broadcasting company since 2015. It is the only public broadcasting company in the country and was created through the merger of Duna Televízió (regional television), Magyar Radio (national radio) and Magyar Televízió (national television). 2 main television programs (M1, M2) and a number of specialty and regional programs are produced. all channels from MTV and Duna Televízió AG are also broadcast terrestrially in analogue format.

    In addition, there are private television stations, which are majority owned by Hungarian media companies under the Orbán government. These include programs Magyar ATV , TV2 , RTL Klub , Viasat 3 , Hálózat Televízió and special interest channels such as Minimax , Animax (children's channels), Hír TV (news channel), TV Paprika (gastronomy), Viasat History (historical documentaries), Spektrum Televízió (technical documentaries ) and offshoots of international television channels ( Viva , Music Television Hungary , National Geographic Channel , Nickelodeon , Eurosport , History Channel , Discovery Channel and many others). Duna TV, Duna II Autonómia, m2 , TV Paprika and Budapest TV also broadcast their programs via satellite channels. HBO Hungary is an offshoot of the HBO pay TV program .

    The radio division of Duna Media (formerly Magyar Radio ) produces the programs Kossuth Rádió (MR1; cultural programs , literature, politics) Petőfi Rádió (MR2; mainly alternative and ethno programs) and Bartók Rádió (MR3; classical music). In addition, there are MR4 with nationality programs in the languages ​​of the 13 recognized national minorities, MR5 with broadcasts of parliamentary sessions (the rest of the time, the program is broadcast by MR1 Kossuth) and MR6 with regional news (the rest of the time, the program is broadcast by MR1 Kossuth, in Miskolc that of MR2 Petőfi).

    Many private and regional channels and channels dedicated to special target groups or topics broadcast in Hungary. Danubius - a station that initially broadcasted in German - broadcasts pop music and entertainment - Roxy Rádió and Juventus Rádió , music from the 1960s, 70s and 80s is the focus of Sláger Rádió , while Tilos Rádió , a former pirate broadcaster, focuses on entertainment and hits . One news station is Info-Rádió , Radio Bridge broadcasts in English .

    The largest telecommunications company is Magyar Telekom . She was also active as T-Mobile in Hungary. Other telecommunications providers are Vodafone Magyarország and Pannon GSM .

    Media freedom

    On December 21, 2010, the Hungarian Parliament passed a new media law, which came into effect on January 1, 2011. In addition, a new media authority was created, the “State Authority for Media and Communication”, Nemzeti Média- és Hírközlési Hatóság (short: NMHH). Both the law and the media authority were controversially discussed by numerous experts , scientists, journalists and politicians at national and international level .

    In Reporters Without Borders' 2019 press freedom ranking, Hungary ranks 87th out of 180 countries, just behind Sierra Leone. A year earlier, the organization had placed Hungary in 73rd place.


    Football is the most popular sport in Hungary. Between the 1930s and 1960s, the Hungarian national football team was among the best in the world. In total, Hungary took part in soccer world championships nine times , at the Olympic Games Hungary won gold medals three times (1952, 1964, and 1968). At the 1938 World Cup and the 1954 World Cup , the team (then also called Aranycsapat , "Golden Team") reached the finals and was runner-up. The final of the 1954 World Cup has since been treated as a national tragedy, in which the highly favored Hungary lost 3-2 to Germany. In 1953 Hungary became the first team to win in England, 6-3. This victory was regarded as a symbol, which was also assigned a political interpretation: Hungary had defeated an "imperialist" great power. A symbolic figure of this team was Ferenc Puskás (Puskás Öcsi) . However, Hungary has not taken part in a World Cup finals since 1986 and the national team has not been very successful in recent years. The most successful club is Ferencváros Budapest , or Fradi for short , which, in addition to 28 championship titles, is still the only Hungarian club to win an international title (1965 win of the trade fair cup (forerunner of the UEFA Cup ) by beating Juventus Turin 1-0 ). However, the club's financial difficulties led in 2006 to the fact that he had to relegate to the second division. The top division in Hungarian football is the Nemzeti Bajnokság I. , which has changing commercial names due to sponsorship agreements.

    Handball also plays an important role in Hungary. The men's clubs KC Veszprém and SC Szeged and the women's clubs Győri ETO KC and FTC Budapest are regularly represented in the EHF Champions League . Well-known players are László Nagy , Nándor Fazekas , Tamás Mocsai and Ferenc Ilyés as well as Anita Görbicz and Katalin Pálinger . Lajos Mocsai and Ildikó Barna should be mentioned as trainers .

    Hungary has produced a number of outstanding chess players , including Rudolf Charousek , Géza Maróczy , László Szabó , Lajos Portisch and András Adorján . More recently, Péter Lékó , Zoltán Almási and Judit Polgár are among the world's best chess players. Hungary has won gold six times at the Chess Olympiads .

    Since 1986 Formula 1 races for the Hungarian Grand Prix have been held at the Hungaroring . A second internationally known race track is the Pannonia-Ring , on which mainly motorcycle races take place. The Hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner also took part in Formula 1 in the 2004/05 season . In the speedway , the racetracks in Miskolc , Debrecen and Szeged are internationally known.

    Hungarian athletes are often successful at the Summer Olympics , and Hungary ranks well in the medal table for the size of the country . The first athlete to win Olympic medals for Hungary was swimmer Alfréd Hajós , after whom the sports swimming pool on Margaret Island is named. Particularly successful are the float ( Krisztina Egerszegi , tamás darnyi , Laszlo Cseh , Ágnes Kovács , Katinka Hosszú ), the water polo team , the handball team of women , the fencers and pentathletes. A legendary boxer was László Papp . A figure on horseback was named after the gymnast Zoltán Magyar : magyar vándor .

    The Hungarian table tennis sport is also known . Victor Barna was able to win a total of 21 world championship titles from the 1920s to the end of the 1930s (five in TT singles, seven in TT doubles and nine world championships with the team), which is a world record to this day.

    The Hungarian national ice hockey team qualified for the top division of the ice hockey world championships in 2009 and 2016 . The most important teams in the top division are the record champions Ferencváros TC , Alba Volán Székesfehérvár , Dunaújvárosi Acélbikák (Dunaújváros), Győri ETO HC , DVTK Jegesmedvék and Újpest Budapest .

    See also

    Portal: Hungary  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Hungary


    • Thomas Bauer: Where the Puszta touches the sky. On a detour through Hungary. FA Herbig Verlag, Munich, 2007, ISBN 978-3-7766-2512-7 .
    • Steven W. Sowards: Modern History of the Balkans. The Balkans in the age of nationalism. BoD 2004, ISBN 3-8334-0977-0 .
    • Matthias Eickhoff: Hungary. DuMont Reise-Taschenbuch, Ostfildern 2005, ISBN 3-7701-3149-5 .
    • Janos Hauszmann: Hungary. From the Middle Ages to the present. Pustet, Regensburg 2004, ISBN 3-7917-1908-4 .
    • Paul Lendvai : The Hungarians. A thousand years of history . Goldmann 2001, ISBN 3-442-15122-8 .
    • Paul Lendvai: On black lists. Goldmann 2001, ISBN 3-442-15110-4 .
    • Andreas Schmidt-Schweizer: Political history of Hungary from 1985 to 2002. From liberalized one-party rule to democracy in the consolidation phase. Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-486-57886-7 .
    • Germans and Hungarians - a special relationship. Future opportunity or obsolete model? Documentation of the Potsdam Forum on May 13, 2004 in the Representation of the Free State of Thuringia at the Federal Government, Berlin. 1st edition. German Cultural Forum for Eastern Europe V., Potsdam 2005, ISBN 3-936168-22-9 .
    • László Beke: Abstract - Concrete - Constructive. 6 positions from Hungary. Exhibition catalog. 1st edition. German Cultural Forum for Eastern Europe V., Potsdam 2006, ISBN 3-936168-40-7 .

    Web links

    Wiktionary: Hungary  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
    Commons : Hungary  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
    Wikivoyage: Hungary  - travel guide
    Wikimedia Atlas: Hungary  - geographical and historical maps

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    This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on May 19, 2006 .

    Coordinates: 47 °  N , 19 °  E