Cities in HUNGARY


Geography and Landscape


Hungary (officially: Magyar Köztársaság = Hungarian Republic) is a republic in Central Europe, located in the middle of the Danube basin and surrounded by the Carpathians. Hungary is on average 530 kilometers long, 270 kilometers wide and the total area is 93,032 km2.
Hungary is completely surrounded by other countries and therefore has no coastline. Hungary is bordered to the north by Slovakia (677 kilometers), to the north-east by Ukraine (103 km ), in the east at Romania (443 km), in the south at Serbia (151 km ) and Croatia (329 km), in the southwest at Slovenia (102 km) and in the west to Austria (366 km).

Hungary Satellite Image NASAPhoto: Public domain

Natural boundaries are formed by four rivers: the Danube and Ipoly in the north, the Drava and Mura in the south.


Hungary consists largely of a plain, the so-called Pannonian Basin, which can be divided into the Nagy Alföld (Great Plain) east of the Danube, Dunántúl (Transdanubia) west of the Danube and the Kisalföld (Lesser Plain) in northwestern Hungary. The landscape is traversed by a long ridge, which runs from the southwest through the Bakony Forest, the Vértes, Börzsöny and Mátra and Bükk mountains to the Zemplén hills in the northeast.

Hungary pusztaPhoto:Public domain

The Nagy Alföld or Great Plain is bounded by the Danube and the northern massifs and covers more than half of the country. The highest point (182 meters) is in the northeast near Debrecen. The lowest point (76 meters) is in the south at Szeged.
From the north to the south the plain is intersected by Hungary's second river, the Tisza. The Nagy Alföld was in earlier times one vast steppe or “puszta”, sandy heathland with many swamps and salt pans. There are now only two areas left: the Hortobágy National Park (80,000 ha) and the Bugac National Park (16,000 ha). Hortobágy contains the most extensive puszta in Central Europe.

The large-scale regulation of the Danube and Tisza has radically changed the landscape of the Nagy Alföld. Due to economic needs and agricultural development, large areas have been reclaimed.
The south of the Nagy Alföld is also called the “orchard” of Hungary. It is one of the most fertile regions of Hungary on which many cereals are grown.

Dunántúl or Transdanubia extends from the foothills of the Alps to the Danube, and is characterized by many plains and hills. In the middle of this area is Lake Balaton, the largest ‘inland sea’ of Europe with 598 km2. To the north of Lake Balaton are successive mountain ranges: the Pilis-Gerecse massif, the Vértes massif and the Bakony hills. The Felföld or Northern Highlands (Északi Kozéphegység) consists of small wooded mountain groups separated by deep valleys. The highest peak, and also the highest mountain in Hungary, is at 1014 meters: the Kékes-teto.

Kékes, highest mountain in HungaryPhoto: Susulyka, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

The south shore of Lake Balaton is less steep with some artificial beaches. In the southeast lies the swamp area Kis-Balaton (Little Balaton) with many reed beds. The city of Pécs is situated against the karst massif of Mecsek and because of this sheltered location the city has a very pleasant climate. The Bakony Hills is a wetland area. It is intersected by the Rába and some smaller rivers which flow into an arm of the Danube at the highest of the city of Györ. The Danube changes its course several times here, creating two large islands with the islands of Szentendrei-sziget and Csepel-sziget on Hungarian territory. Furthermore, this is a varied area with creeks, fens, dead river arms and gravel banks.
West of the Kis Alföld is a large, partially reclaimed swamp area. One of the swamp lakes is the Ferto Lake (Neusiedler See), on the border with Austria, where of 322 km2 only 23 km2 belong to Hungary.
The Kis Alföld is one of the greenest areas in Hungary with mostly small farms that have not yet affected the landscape as much as happened on the Nagy Alföld.

Rivers and lakes

Danube at the height of Budapest, HungaryPhoto:Dennis Jarvis Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

The main rivers in Hungary are the Danube (Hungarian: Duna) and the meandering Tisza (Theiss), which flow 410 and 600 km respectively over Hungarian territory. The Tisza, which has its source in the Romanian-Ukraine border region, has caused numerous floods in the past. After the construction of a weir in the Tisza in the 1950s, some of the water through the 98 km long Keleti-fócsatorna (Eastern Main Canal) of this river is tapped for irrigation purposes.
In the southeast of the country only artesian water is present, whereby underground water veins are drilled to get the water up.
The lakes in Hungary are very shallow: Lake Balaton or Platten See (596 km2) on average deep 3 to 4 meters, Lake Velence (Velencei-tó, 26 km2) 1 to 2 meters. Lake Ferto (Neusiedler See, 337 km2), of which only a small part on Hungarian territory, is more of a swamp; the water contains alkaline salts. There are also many salty lakes between the dunes of the Nagy Alföld.

Lake Balaton

Lake Balaton HungaryPhoto:Susulyka Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

After the capital Budapest, Lake Balaton, the “Hungarian Sea”, is Hungary's biggest tourist attraction. The lake, located in the heart of Transdanubia, originated in the Tertiary. The lake got its current shape 22,000 years ago. The lake is fed with water from many mountain rivers and by one larger river, the Zala.
Lake Balaton has an area of 596 km2, making it the largest lake in Central and Western Europe. Only in Sweden and Russia are even larger lakes. The lake is 77 kilometers long and on average 8 km wide. The depth varies from a few meters to a channel of 12 meters at the height of the Tihany. Due to this shallow depth, the water heats up fairly quickly in summer and freezes quite quickly in winter.
The lake has no natural drainage since the Sío river has been channeled. The drainage is now done through a lock at the place Siófok, which maintains the water level at 104 meters above sea level. In the southwest corner of the lake is the closed Kis-Balaton (Little Balaton), a nature reserve densely covered with reed.
On the shores of Lake Balaton are only a few small villages, there has never been any question of urban formation. The larger towns are Siófok (22,000 inhab.), The unofficial capital of the Balaton district, Keszthely (22,000 inhab.) And Balatonfüred (14,000 inhab.). The tourist centers are located on the south side of the lake because the water is warmer there (’in summer about 25°C) and the beaches are wider. The south bank also slopes more gently; you can enter the water 600 meters before you no longer feel any ground under your feet. The northern shore is much steeper and irregular, but more attractive in terms of natural beauty. In total Lake Balaton has about 130 beaches.


Baradla cave, HungaryPhoto:Horvabe Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

In five national parks, Aggtelek-Jósvafo, Bükk, Budapest, the Balaton Highlands and Southern Transdanubia, caves are open to the public. In total Hungary has about 3000 protected caves, of which 26 are more than one kilometer in length. The largest caves are the Baradia Cave at Aggtalek with a length of 17 kilometers (8 kilometers in Slovakia) and the Pál volgyi cave in Budapest under the Rószadomb district with a length of 11 kilometers.
Budapest is the only capital with more than 30 kilometers of caves. Nine of these are open to the public and five to cavers.

Largest caves

Baradla24.0 km116 mAggtelek (8 km in Slovakia)
Pálvolgyi12.4 km104 mBudapest
Béke6.4 km59 mAggtelek
István-lápa6.0 km253 mBükk
József-hegyi5.5 km103 mBudapest
Mátyás-hegyi5.1 km108 mBudapest
Bolhás-Jáforkút4.7 km130 mBükk
Csodabogyós3.7 km111 mKeszthelyi

Climate and Weather

Winter in BudapestPhoto:Nagy David Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

Hungary has a moderate continental climate with strong Atlantic and Mediterranean (from the Adriatic Sea) influences in the humid spring and autumn. In the highest parts of the Transdanubian Midelgebirge and the Northern Midelgebirge (Felföld) there is a subalpine climate. The Nagy Alföld or Great Plain has a real continental climate with hot summers and very cold winters, little rainfall and large temperature differences between summer and winter.

Hungary is protected from polar and Siberian cold by the Carpathians. The country generally has cold, wet winters and warm summers. The average January temperature, which is around 0°C in the west and southwest, regularly varies to the northeast to-4°C. In some years the temperature can reach-20°C and then the Danube carries ice floes with it. The average July temperature is between 18°C in the northwest and 22°C in the southeast. Hungary has quite a lot of sunshine from a European perspective, namely an average of 2000 hours per year.

The annual mean rainfall (500 mm per year) is quite low, but varies under the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. Precipitation is highest in the southeast and the Bakony Forest (800-980 mm) and lowest to the east of the Tisza (below 600 mm). The driest month is September with an average rainfall of 33mm, making it the best month to visit the country. The wettest month is May with an average rainfall of 72 mm. In winter, the land is often covered with a thick snow carpet.


Bakony Forest HungaryPhoto:Christo Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

Hungary used to be a densely forested area with varied vegetation, especially in the Transdanubian low mountain range and the Alpine foreland. They were mainly oak forests (pedunculate oak, down oak and pine oak), supplemented with hop beeches, feather knives and hornbeams. The largest forest area is the Bakony Forest, and the mountain ridges Börzsöny, Bükk, and Mátra are also covered with forests. The variety of these areas still exists, only the total of forests has decreased over the years to 15% of the area of the country. The low plains in particular have been almost completely deforested.
The salt steppes have been almost completely cultivated over the past two centuries (still approx. 8% forests) and that has of course had a major influence on the vegetation. What is still quite common is beach melt and some other halophyte species (plant species that can live on highly saline soil). Furthermore, there are still here and there oak and birch trees, many acacias have been planted to combat the fatal spraying. Shrubland consists of white poplars (poplar species) and juniper berries and other grasses such as dravik (type of fescue), dune reed and torch grass.

The tulip is Hungary's national flowerPhoto:Takkk Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The national Flower of Hungary is the tulip. The Alpine foreland or Alpokalja is also mainly overgrown with oak forests, some slopes with coniferous forests, and furthermore white beeches, elms, maples and poplars.
The Transdanubian hills and the Mecsek mountains have a varied flora leaning towards the Mediterranean. These slopes are covered with the well-known down oaks, feather knives, hornbeams and mosquitoes, but also field maples, Hungarian linden, red beech and planted coniferous forests. In the nature reserve Zselic there are primeval forests of deciduous trees and conifers. In March and April, hellebore and Hungarian autumn crocus are already growing here. This is followed by monkey orchids, Caucasian sunflowers, peonies and woodruff and in the summer golden chervil and foxglove.


Mangaliza pig HungaryPhoto:Nienetwiler Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Also for the animal world a lot has changed due to the major changes in the low-lying parts of Hungary. Only in the reserves are special native species such as the Hungarian gray cattle, buffalo, the Szalonta pig, the Mangaliza pig, sheepdog and various types of special poultry. Small mammals such as foxes, otters, hamsters, wild boars and the special bisam rats live in the bushes. Originally from AsiaaOriginating animals are the silica, the blind mouse and the small bustard.
Migratory birds are still common, including herons, ibises and bustard geese. Freshwater fish such as carp, roach and bass are badly affected by overfishing, pollution and overfishing, but the rivers Tisza and Körös are still fairly full. The fish stocks in the low mountain range, Lake Balaton and rivers in the Alpine foreland are more up to standard, with barbs, carp, walleye, pike, catfish and chubs.
The forests of the Kis Alföld mainly live rodents, roe deer, fallow deer, pheasants and partridges.
Particular species include a rare viviparous lizard in Nyírség and the “blind lobster of Abaliget” in the Mecsek Mountains.

Egret, HungaryPhoto:Pellinger Attila Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

Kis Balaton (Little Balaton), once part of the great Lake Balaton, is now an enclosed bay that has mostly silted up and is in fact a reed-covered swamp. It is a protected breeding ground for many species of migratory and native species, including egrets, greylag geese, possum tits, black-headed gulls and grebes. Hungary currently has four major national parks (28 protected areas and nature reserves and many hundreds of regional and local protected nature reserves.

Hungary has a number of special dog breeds:

Erdelyi Kopo

Erdelyi Kopo, HungaryPhoto:Public domain

The Erdelyi is a Hungarian variant of the Central European floating breeds The breed has a long-legged and low-legged variety, both extremely suitable for hunting. The breed is rarely seen in Hungary, and not at all outside Hungary.


De Kuvasz is a very old herding breed that came from Asia to Central Europe probably about 800 years ago.It was mainly used to protect herds from wild animals and poachers.Today it is mainly a guard dog.


Komondor HungaryPhoto:David Blaine Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

The Komondor has been present in Hungary for centuries and also comes from Asia. This rather small breed is mainly used as a guard dog.


The Mudi originated spontaneously from Hungarian sheepdogs at the end of the nineteenth century. It is used as a hunting and guard dog.

Other special breeds are the Puli, the Pumi and the wire- and short-haired Vizsla.


Prehistory and Antiquity

Bronze bracelet from the La Tène period, HungaryPhoto:Public domain

The current republic of Hungary is part of a large lowland, the Carpathian Basin or Hungarian or Pannonian Plain. The settlement history of the Hungarian people begins on this Hungarian lowland. The first traces of human presence in this area date back to 400,000 à 500,000 years ago, and were found along the swampy banks of the Danube and Tisza.
Around 100,000 BC. The Neanderthals hunted here, but they left for the north when climatic conditions caused their prey to disappear from these areas. This was followed by many tribes, mainly from the Balkans, most of which moved on. Different tribes, however, settled in these regions and moreover mixed together, after which the Copper, Bronze, and Iron Ages took place noiselessly.
Only when the Celts of the la Tène culture settled west of the Danube, there was somewhat of a tribal connection. They also kept in touch with the Romans, who around 10 BC. began to conquer the plains. The conquered territory was incorporated into two provinces: Pannonia Superior or Upper Pannonia and Pannonia Inferior or Lower Pannonia. The capitals were Savaria (now: Szombathely) and Aquincum (now:Óbuda, part of the current capital Budapest).
The Romans conquered this area to counter the ongoing incursions from European Russia and to protect important trade routes. In the 4th century, Pannonia was overrun by Gothic and other tribes, fleeing from the Huns led by Attila, who came from Asia and marched to Europe. The Romans could not withstand this either and left Pannonia. In 453 Attila died and the Huns withdrew from the lowlands.
They were succeeded by Ostrogoths, Gepids, Lombards and Avars, who were still in contact with the Byzantines, the heirs of the Roman Empire. Some expelled Slavic tribes settled around Lake Balaton, which they received as a fief from the ruler of the East Frankish Empire.

Middle Ages

The Arrival of the Magyars in HungaryPhoto:Public domain

In the 8th century, the Hungarians, a group of horsemen, moved from the east to present-day Hungarian territory and called it Etelköz. In 895 they entered Transylvania and a year later, led by Árpád they entered the lowlands where they would continue to live from now on. Árpád was the leader of the Magyars, a tribe that militarily dominated this area. In the 10th century, the Hungarians spread across the lowlands and the Transylvanian Highlands and many settled there as farmers. Other groups rented themselves out to neighboring armies or marched into the German Reich robbing and plundering. The Christianization of the Hungarians had already started and they wanted to found their own diocese.
However, the German emperor Otto I was against this because he preferred to retain power over the Hungarians himself. Prince Géza wanted to establish an ecclesiastical hierarchy at the end of the 10th century and also unite the Hungarians under one monarch. Géza was succeeded in 997 by his son Vajk, who was named István at his baptism. He married the Bavarian princess Gisela, making the state of Hungary recognized by both the Pope and the Emperor. István continued the missionary work, which earned him the famous Stephen crown and also put Hungary on the European map as an independent Christian kingdom.

István's first act was to declare all land his property, which was then lent to chieftains and to the church. However, it was the Hungarian royal family that benefited most from this and that caused bad blood. After the king's death in 1038, the chieftains sought support from the German emperor. The opposition in turn sought support from Byzantium and a counter-king, Aba Sámuel, was appointed. Hungary became involved in a power struggle between Germany and Byzantium. Only under the rule of Béla I, who ruled from 1060 to 1063, did the Hungarian royal family recover some of its power.
Under LászlóI and Kálmán I pursued a policy of expansion in Hungary and, for example, part of Croatia was conquered, creating a free passage to the Mediterranean. Bosnia and Dalmatia were conquered at the expense of Byzantium. As a result, Hungary gradually became a superpower that could no longer be ignored in Europe.

Béla III of HungaryPhoto:Public domain

Under Béla III, Hungary strengthened its position and opened the borders to Western influences that the feud had.all character. The Hungarian court and the nobility settled in beautiful castles and the barter trade was replaced by a guided money economy. Under András II, more and more landed gentry took over the administration of the estates and in 1222 he even agreed to a 'Golden Bul', stating that one had the right to carry out armed resistance against the monarch. Under Andres' son, Béla IV, enemy tribes from the east threatened to invade Hungary.
Béla strengthened the borders but in 1241 the Mongols invaded Hungary without much trouble. Hungary was looted for a year and then the Mongols left, never to return. Other European powers did not intervene for Hungary, but thought they could profit from a weakened Hungary. When all was over, Béla had a number of fortresses built, including Buda on the right bank of the Danube.
In 1301, the rule of the Arpads came to an end; there was no male line succession and the Arpad dynasty died out silently. The Hungarian nobility then chose a Bohemian king, then a Bavarian king, and finally the pope-backed king of Naples, Charles Robert III, ascended the throne. In the rest of the 14th century, the balance of power in Hungary became more stable and the focus was more on international politics, more or less forced by the expansion policy of the Turks. The attempts to remove rural areas such as Dalmatia , Slavonia , Moldova, Croatia and to strengthen Wallachia met fierce opposition from local rulers.
Meanwhile, Lajos the Great had come to power and was succeeded in the late 14th century by son-in-law Sigismund (Zsigmond) of Luxembourg, who later became King of Bohemia and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Zsigmond jealously tried to protect and even expand Hungarian interests. However, a campaign against the Turks in 1396 was lost at Nikopolis, despite help from the Burgundians. In 1417 the Turks broke through the Hungarian borders and inland a massive peasant uprising took place, but was crushed.

Fifteenth and sixteenth century

Map of Central Europe 1572Photo: PANONIAN in the public domain

In the mid-15th century, a famous Hungarian family of landowners, the Hunyads, emerged. The first great landowner was János Hunyadi, who also became regent over the young László, son of Albert of Habsburg. Albert was the first king of a new dynasty to rule Hungary. In 1456 János died of the plague and a power struggle ensued between the high nobility and the cities and the low nobility. The high nobility subsequently appointed Mátyás Hunyadi as king, bringing the Hunyadi family to the height of its power.
In an alliance with Emperor Friedrich III, Mátyás Moravi, Siliezi and adding Lower Austria to the Hungarian Empire and making peace with the Turks. The Mályátas period brought domestic peace and considerable economic progress, and he was known as the 'righteous king'. After Mátyás death, the church and nobility chose the Bohemian prince Wladislaw as his successor, who would later become king. It was also decided to dismantle the royal army and hire mercenaries in its place. This made it easier to keep all power in their own hands.
In 1514, the Golden Bull was replaced by the “tripartitum”, which established the rights of the nobility. That same year, Franciscan monks formed a peasant army to go on a crusade. The nobility saw this as a serious threat and banned the army. This army then turned against the nobility, but this revolt was brutally suppressed. By the landlords of Transylvania and Temesvár. In 1521 this development was thwarted by the Turks, who after the conquest of Belgrade pushed through to the Hungarian lowlands. Then it turned out that the newly disbanded army would have come in handy. A hastily assembled army was devastated by the Turkish armies of Süleyman in the Battle of Mohács on 15 August 1526. This situation would have divided Hungary until the end of the 17th century. country. In fact, a domestic power struggle ensued between János Zápolya, who had been elected by the Diet, and the Habsburg Archduke Ferdinánd, who was enthroned by the nobility. The intention of both parties was to obtain foreign military support because János was the son-in-law of the king of Poland and Ferdinánd was the brother of Charles V. Zapolya dolf lost but entered into an alliance with the Turks, causing the sultan of Transylvania granted some autonomy.
In 1541, Buda was conquered by the Turks, and Hungary was in fact made up of three distinct parts. The Turks ruled in the triangle Pécs-Esztergom-Szeged. To the west of this was the small independent Habsburg kingdom of Hungary with its capital Pozsony (now: Bratislava in Slovakia), to the east, Transylvania under the Turkish vassal János Zsigmond. The Turks tried to advance to Vienna, but failed to get past a number of Hungarian settlements.
In 1568 a status quo was reached by a treaty between the sultan and Maximilian, the emperor of Austria. Transylvania flourished and the most diverse population groups lived peacefully side by side. The city of Debrecen became a stronghold of Protestantism. The Turks hardly oppose this because it would reduce the influence of the Catholic Habsburgs.

Seventeenth century

Leopold I, HungaryPhoto:Public domain

The serf farmers were actually the only population group that had much less than the rest of the population. Army commander István Bocskay was therefore able to deploy a mercenary army, mainly consisting of peasants, in the fight against the aggressive Habsburg troops.
In the period 1604-1606, the Habsburgs were expelled from the Great Plain of Hungary and the peasants took their place. Bocskay also conquered the Habsburg part of Hungary, which was merged with the Great Plain under his successor Gábor Bethlen. The Habsburgs recovered but were whistled back by the Treaty of Münster in 1648, thus securing the independence of Transylvania was confirmed.
The genus Rákóczi now came to play an important role. An attempt by György Rákóczi to conquer Poland failed, giving Emperor Leopold I (Lipót) the chance to go to war against the Turks and winning a victory at Szentgotthárd in 1664. By paying a lump sum payment tried to prevent the Turks from continuing to devastate the country (Treaty of Vásvár). Punitive expeditions against Rákóczi continued, however, and Transylvania suffered a lot from that. It became clear that Austria cared little about the Hungarian desire to regain independence.
Rebellious nobility was beheaded or imprisoned and the army came under the command of Leopold I. However, dismissed soldiers regrouped again and under the leadership of Imre Thököly from Slovakia and supported by the Rákóczi’s, the pro-Habsburgs were expelled from large parts of Hungary in the period 1678-1682. The road to Vienna seemed to be open to the Turks now, but the “March to Vienna” of the Turks in 1683 ended in a painful defeat for the Turkish sultan.
Leopold then decided to raise a coalition army (Austria, the Habsburg buffer state, Poland and Venice, or the Holy League). In 1686 Buda was recaptured and in 1688 the liberation of Belgrade followed. After negotiations in Karlovice in 1699, practically all of Hungary had been recaptured from the enemy.

Eighteenth century

Empress Maria Theresia, HungaryPhoto:Public domain

Although Hungary had recaptured its territory, political freedom was still far from a fact. Because of the personal union with Austria, the Habsburgs remained in fact rulers and the country was divided among officers and members of the Teutonic Knights. The Hungarian plain was then occupied by Swabian and Serbian immigrants and the cities 'Germanised' all the way. It was clear that the aim was the total abolition of the Hungarian state and the population was forced into assimilation.
It is clear that this situation would inevitably lead to an uprising. Under Prince Ferenc Rákóczi II began in 1703 from Transylvania the war of freedom. However, this was not a success and in 1711 a peace treaty was signed with the Austrian emperor. Yet this failed uprising paid off: the empire recognized the sovereignty and constitution of the kingdom of Hungary. At that time, the repopulation of the Hungarian territory (Hungary, Slovakia, Slavoni and Croatia) continued as usual and Croats, Germans, Serbs, Slovaks and Romanians settled. This meant that after 1700 the native Hungarians made up only about 40% of the population. Transylvania had meanwhile become predominantly Romanian, was also given more autonomy and was separated from the rest of Hungary by a military zone.
After the Hungarian parliament approved female succession, Empress-Queen Maria Theresa came to power in 1740. It was quite popular with the Hungarians due to a fairly mild rule and quite silently Hungary was incorporated into the Austro-Hungarian double monarchy in 1768 and from that time on it was ruled by decree. Maria Theresia was succeeded by József II, who was more of a despot although he did restore religious freedoms, put an end to serfdom and curtailed the power of the nobility and the church. Under the very conservative Ferenc I, resistance against the Habsburgs increased again and certain groups, notably progressive citizens and nobles, wanted an independent Hungary again. An uprising in 1795 was bloody suppressed, but a call from Napoleon to revolt against Habsburg rule was ignored. Economic reforms were set in motion under the influence of the industrial revolution that was set in motion at that time.

Nineteenth century

Lajos Kossuth, HungaryPhoto:Public domain

In 1848 almost all of Europe was dominated by revolutions. and cities like Vienna and Pest could not escape it either. Revolutionaries came up with a whole package of demands that boiled down to the abolition of the feudal form of government. This was successful inasmuch as Count Batthyány became prime minister of an autonomous government and new laws passed by parliament would be signed by King Ferdinánd. The uprising ended in a total chaos of each other distrustful population groups and the promises from Vienna were not at all trusted. (now: Cluj in Romania). The revolutionary government fled to Debrecen to organize a counterattack from there, the initial aim of which was to destroy Transylvania to recapture. This worked, and on April 14, 1849, Lajos Kossuth proclaimed the independent republic of Hungary with Szemere as head of the new government. Kossuth became president but had no executive power. Austria, led by Emperor Franz Josef, responded immediately, calling on Russia for help. That was a good move because on August 13 the independent republic of Hungary came to an end and President Kossuth fled into exile.
The Austrians now imposed a reign of terror and increased taxes and the official language became compulsory German. In 1859, however, the Austrians were defeated by Italy and France and the Emperor passed over to Hungary to a stabilization policy, influenced by Empress Elisabeth or “Sissi”. Several compromises were made and in 1867 Franz Josef announced the “Ausgleich” off. This meant that Hungary became an autonomous kingdom again, and would henceforth be treated completely equal to Austria. The newly independent parliament took up residence in Buda and the government was led by Gyula Andrassy.
Former President Kossuth was almost alone in his criticism of the dual state of Austria-Hungary, the people were generally very enthusiastic. Only the lower layers of the population did not get better in these times of industrialization and agricultural reforms. At the top, struggles between Habsburg supporters and Kossuth remained volutionaries persist.
From this time on, the socialist movement throughout Europe grew stronger and nationalist sentiments grew stronger, including in Hungary. A precursor to full independence was the reintroduction of Hungarian as the official language.

Twentieth century

Károlyi, HungryPhoto: Veres in the public domain

The assassination of Franz Josef's successor, Franz Ferdinand, was the immediate reason for the First World War and Hungary could of course not escape this as a partner of Austria. The course of the war offered Hungary an opportunity to continue on the path of independence and, under the leadership of Count Mihály Károlyi, demanded secession, reforms, concessions to ethnic minorities and peace, but the latter would still be a a few years.
After the war, it was chaos in Hungary, but it was Károlyi who set up a National Council. After the war, agreements were also made about the new borders of Hungary, but these agreements were so vague that the dual monarchy fell apart and areas were annexed by ethnic minorities. On November 16, 1918, parliament proclaimed the republic and Károlyi was appointed president. The provisional government of Károlyi was soon overthrown and the communists tightened their grip on domestic politics and on March 22, 1919, proclaimed a 'council republic' resembling the form of government of the Soviet Union.
The Foreign Affairs Commissioner Béla Kun took full control of power and proved himself a true communist by dividing the land among peasant cooperatives, and banks and nationalize companies. The right-wing opposition revolted and the Czechs and Romanians offered military aid. The Romanians even invaded Budapest and the communists were devastated. After this, more or less free elections were held in January 1920, which resulted in a victory for the Christian nationalists and small farmers.
On June 4, 1920, the major European powers decided what would happen to Austria and Hungary (Treaty of Trianon). It became a painful event for both because they were forced to give up large areas. Austria lost South Tyrol, Bohemia, Galicia, Slovenia and Bosnia; Hungary lost, among others, Slovakia, Transylvania and Croatia. For the border strip between the two countries, a popular vote was held in which the inhabitants of that area were allowed to choose what they wanted to belong to.
The territory of Hungary decreased from 325,411 km2 to 92,963 km2 and the population decreased from 21 to 7, 5 million. More than 3 million Hungarians came under foreign rule. Although the monarchy was formally restored, fleet warden Horthy appointed himself regent and King Károly IV was exiled to Madeira. Internationally, efforts were made through the great powers to regain Hungary's old borders. In particular Germany, Austria and Italy were not against this, and it was no wonder that the rising National Socialism in those countries also caught on in Hungary. A number of conservative officers took over from the so-called ‘arrow crosses’ (nyilasok), a Nazi, anti-Semitic organization. Although this party was banned several times, it was always able to recover thanks to pressure from Germany.

World War II

Horthy and Hitler, HungaryPhoto:Public domain

In 1938 the Hungarian position was rewarded by the Axis powers with the allocation of strip of land in Slovakia where a Hungarian minority was strongly represented. Hungary itself annexed Karpatho-Ukraine or Ruthenia and wanted to recapture even more ex-Hungarian areas. As a result, Hungary increasingly surrendered itself to the Germans and, among other things, a declaration of war on the Soviet Union followed. Hungary did manage to stay largely outside the real war acts. In the end, Hitler did not fully trust the Hungarians and on March 19, 1944, Hungary was occupied by the Germans and important politicians were arrested. Jews met the same terrible fate as in other occupied countries. Horthy then indicated that he wanted to defect to the Allies and was immediately replaced by the pro-German Ferenc Szálasi. The eventual result was that the entire country was looted by both Russian and German soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Hungarian civilians in Russian forced labor camps disappeared.
In October, the Hungarian military units surrendered to the all-powerful Russian divisions and a provisional government of communist exiles was installed. In November 1945 the first post-war elections were held, which were unexpectedly won by the small farmers' party. In itself, this victory was not much because the communists continued to occupy the most important government posts and slowly but surely the communists (read: Soviet Union) took control on all fronts.
On February 1, 1946, the monarchy became formal. replaced by a republic and Hungary was forced to accede to the Warsaw Pact (counterpart to NATO) and COMECON (counterpart to the EEC). Furthermore, Hungary had to forgo foreign aid, banks and large companies were nationalized and the Soviet Union refused to withdraw its troops from the country.
The politically active Cardinal Mindszenty and declared opponent of the communists was sentenced to life imprisonment. From 1948 on, Hungary was proclaimed a people's republic and ruled by only one party: the communist MDP led by Mátyás Rákosi. Hungary soon became a Soviet clone with expropriation of private property, collectivization of agriculture and emphasis on heavy industry. Furthermore, the party and the (security) police carried out a reign of terror that claimed many victims.

Hungarian uprising

Hungarian uprisingPhoto:Házy Zsolt Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

After the death of the Soviet leader Stalin in 1953, Rákosi was succeeded by Imre Nagy, who was already deposed after a year and a half due to his too liberal attitude. After a short period of Rákosi, he was replaced in 1956 by Erno Gero. On October 23, 1956, a fairly innocent demonstration by students and workers escalated. The demonstration was violently broken up and on October 25 a veritable popular uprising broke out across the country.
Symbols of Stalinism were destroyed, Cardinal Mindszenty was liberated and Imre Nagy was proclaimed leader of the uprising. Large parts of the army, led by General Pál Maléter, also sided with the insurgents. They demanded, among other things, free elections and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Hungarian territory. General Paléter and some other rebel leaders were then invited to come to Moscow to discuss the situation that had arisen. However, this was a trap and the entire group was arrested. Subsequently, tanks were sent to Budapest and broke the resistance of the Hungarians in four days, at the cost of about 3,000 dead.
On November 4, 1956, a new government was formed under Russian supervision under the leadership of János Kádár. The MDP was replaced by the MSzMP, the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party. This was the signal for about 200,000 Hungarians to flee abroad and for those who stayed to declare a general strike. The government intervened very hard: tens of thousands of Hungarians were captured and figures such as Nagy and Maléter were executed.

Back to democracy

árpád göncz, hungaryPhoto:SZDSZ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

In the 1960s, the economic deteriorated situation in Hungary and a series of reforms were introduced in 1968. There was again more room for private initiative and prosperity rose slightly. Kádár, who led Hungary from 1956 to 1988, pursued a thrifty and smart policy that made Hungary a fairly stable country with one of the best-managed economies in the Eastern Bloc.
The second half of the years eighty were dominated by the radical reforms (perestroika) in the Soviet Union by Michael Gorbachev. Hungary was immediately at the forefront of its own reforms. There was more freedom of the press and the freedom to travel increased, because the border barriers with Austria were partially removed. Major steps towards democracy were taken in May 1988, only the struggle between the Imre Pozsgay reformers and the conservatives continued.
October 1989 saw Rezsö Nyers to lead a new party. He was one of the leading figures behind the cautious reforms of the 1960s and 1970s. The communist party was now formally dissolved for the second time and replaced by the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSzMP). And so the Hungarian People's Republic became a “normal” republic. Moscow continued to let go of the other Eastern Bloc countries, so that a real armed conflict did not occur this time. On the contrary, Hungary experienced a‘velvet” revolution with the first free regional elections as early as 1989.
On March 25 and April 8, 1990, a democratic parliament was elected for the first time since 1947. Thirty parties participated in the elections, of which only six entered parliament. The Hungarian Democratic Party (MDF) provided the first Prime Minister and the first appointed president became Árpád Göncz of the Alliance of Free Democrats (SzDSz). The 1994 elections were won by the former socialists and received an absolute majority in parliament. The left coalition government led by Gyulá Horn introduced a stringent austerity program aimed at achieving macroeconomic stabilization. This initially led to a reduction in economic growth and wages. From 1997, however, the economy showed signs of recovery again.
On July 8, 1997, Hungary became a member of NATO. The May 1998 elections brought an end to the MSzMP government. The right-wing liberal Fidesz party (Federation of Young Socialists) of the controversial Victor Orbán won the elections and formed a coalition with the Conservatives and the Christian Democrats.

21st century

Ferenc Mádl, HungaryPhoto:Unknown Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The second round of the parliamentary elections in April 2002 led to a change of power. Prime Minister Orbán's ruling conservatives were narrowly defeated by a coalition of socialists and liberals. Although Orbán's party got the most seats in the new parliament, it failed to win over the majority of voters. The Socialists (MSzP) and Liberals (SzDSz) won a narrow majority with 198 of the 386 seats.
Since August 2000, Ferenc Mádl has been President of Hungary. Hungary joined the European Union on May 1, 2004. A few months after the historic accession to the EU, Prime Minister Medgyessy tried to reshuffle his cabinet. However, Medgyessy lost the confidence of the coalition partners and subsequently offered his resignation. On the recommendation of the MSzP, President Mádl appointed former Minister of Youth and Sports Ferenc Gyurcsány Prime Minister. Gyurcsány was sworn in on September 30, 2004. The Prime Minister Gyurcsány's government program, entitled 'New dynamism for Hungary', announces the government's intentions to promote economic growth.
The Head of State is the President, currently LászlóSólyum, elected by Parliament on 7 July 2005 (took office 5 August).

Following the April 2006 parliamentary elections, the Gyurcsány-II government was officially installed on 9 June 2006. This government is headed by the (re-elected) socialist prime minister Gyurcsány (took office in 2004). The government is formed by a coalition between the (former communist) Socialist Party (MSzP) and the Left Liberals (SzDSz), which has continued since 2002. It was the first time since the fall of the Berlin Wall that there was no change of government after the election. In April 2008, the Alliance of Free Democrats left the coalition and Gyurcsány reshuffled the government. In March 2009, Gyurcsány announced its resignation to make way for a new leader who can count on broad support to address the economic challenges. Gordon Bajnai, the economic minister, becomes Hungary's new prime minister in April 2009.

Victor Orban HungaryPhoto:European Peoples's Party Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

In April 2010, conservative opposition Fidesz party wins elections, with its leader Viktor Orban taking over as prime minister. The extreme right-wing Jobbik party comes with 47 seats in parliament. Hungary will be the new EU president for six months from 01-01-2011. There is much criticism from other European countries of the controversial media law that the country passed on December 20. The new media law appoints a government-appointed media authority to judge whether journalists are 'moral' and 'objective'. News programs are also allowed to spend up to 20 percent of their airtime on crime, so as not to frighten the people. In May 2012, Janos Adler becomes President of Hungary. In the years 2013 and 2014, there were critical comments back and forth between the EU and Hungary about the fifth amendment which should, among other things, shape civil rights. In April 2014, Fidesz won the parliamentary elections for the second time. In 2015 and 2016, Hungary has a strong inhibiting role in the admission of refugees, Prime Minister Orban of Hungary actually does not want to accept immigrants at all, the EU is threatening with sanctions for countries that do not comply with the distribution key. In October 2016, the population supported the government's immigration position in a referendum. Also in 2017, the EU is critical of Hungary, partly because of the government's attempts to close the liberal central university of Budapest. In the years that followed, Orban's policy continues to cause concern for the EU. The erosion of the rule of law and the lack of freedom of the press are the biggest stumbling blocks. In December 2020, Hungary threatens to vote against the EU budget together with Poland because recipients of EU money can be held accountable for their dealings with the rule of law.


Composition and distribution

Famous Hungarians, top to bottom and left to right: Stephen I of Hungary, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus, Gábor Bethlen, Ferenc Rákóczi, János Bolyai, István Széchenyi, János Arany, Róza Laborfalvi, József Eötvös, Loránd Eötvö , Vilma Hugonnai, Tivadar Kosztka, Béla Bartók, Miklós Horthy, Zoltán Kodály, Emma Orczy, János Kádár, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Péter EsterházyPhoto:Fakirbakir Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

A total of 9,850,845 people lived in Hungary in 2017, which equates to approximately 106 per km2.
85.6% of the population consists of Hungarians or Magyars. The main minority groups are Germans, Slovaks, Serbs, Croats, Romanians and Roma.
The population is slowly declining due to a low birth rate, a high death rate and an emigration surplus. The growth rate was 0.25% in 2017. Positive are the small decrease in the mortality rate in recent years and the very rapid decrease in infant mortality. Every year, the population is still decreasing by several tens of thousands of people, partly because hardly any people immigrate to Hungary.
Life expectancy at birth is 80 years for women and 72.4 years for men. The composition of the population is as follows:
0-14 years 14.7%
15-64 years 66.3%
65+ 19%
72% of the population live in the cities and 28% in the countryside. A large part of the population (approx. 1.7 million inhabitants) lives in the capital Budapest, and there live approx. 4000 people per km2!.
The most densely populated are the provinces of Komárom and Pest (around Budapest), Borsod-Abauj-Zemplén in the north and Csongrád in the southeast. The least populated are the provinces of Somogy, and Bács-Kiskun with 58 and 67 inhabitants per km2 respectively.

Due to border changes after the First World War, at the Treaty of Trianon, Hungary lost 70% of original territory and two-thirds of the population at that time. As a result, many Hungarians live in Hungary's neighboring states: in Romania there are more than 2 million people of Hungarian descent, in Slovakia about 700,000, in Serbia;approx. 400,000, in Ukraine approx. 200,000 and in Croatia and Slovenia several tens of thousands. In addition, Hungary, along with Russia, is the European country with the most citizens residing outside their country, about 1.5 million in Europe and in the Americas .


Minorities in HungaryPhoto:Szabi237 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

The approximately 100,000 Slovaks and Wends are the oldest minority. They live mainly in the border area with Slovakia and furthermore in the region of Orség between the rivers Rába and Múra.

The approximately 220,000 Germans mainly came to Hungary in the 13th and 18th centuries.

The approx. 25,000 Romanians live in the suburbs of Gyula and the nearby village of Méhkerék.

Approximately 100,000 Serbs and Croats live there. The Serbs live in cities on the Danube, such as Szentendre, Buda, Baja and Ráckeve.
The Croats live in Mohács and in villages along the Dráva.

The approximately 300,000 Roma (gypsies) live spread across the country, but mainly in the northeast. Almost 90% of them now have a permanent place of residence.
As is so often the case, they are not considered a separate people and therefore do not appear in Hungarian statistics. The first Roma settled in Hungary in the 15th century from the north of India and consist of three groups: the mostly Hungarian-speaking Romungros (70%), the Walachian native and initially only Romanesch (gypsy) speaking Walach gypsies (20%) and the Romanian-speaking Beázs Gypsies (10%).

The social status of the Roma, many have no work and are looked at by the Hungarians. Yet many have already built up a good social position and are trying to help others to achieve that too. They mainly live on the outskirts of large cities. In cities such as Miskolc, Debrecen and Nyíregyháza they represent about 15% of the population.


Hungarian Road SignPhoto:Madura Máté Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

The Hungarian, or Magyar language, is a language belonging to the Ugrian branch of the Finno-Ugrian language group. Hungarian is in no way like French, German, English or most other European languages. Related languages include Finnish, Sami (language of the Sami or Lappen), Estonian and Karelian, a total of some fifteen languages, all spoken in northern regions from Western Siberia to Norway. Hungarian is geographically the only odd man out.
Hungarian has already included Turkish, Iranian and Germanic words in prehistoric times, and from 900 very many Slavic and German words. Furthermore, over the centuries much has been borrowed from Latin, Italian, French and English (kempingek = campsites).
The “A magyar nyelvértelmezöszótára” (= Glossary of the Hungarian language, 1959-1962) contains approximately 53,000 words. The emphasis is always on the first syllable of a word or first word of a sentence. This makes Hungarian sound a bit monotonous. Many words have been borrowed from Hungarian by neighboring peoples and a few have become international, such as carriage, hussar, dolman and gypsy. Their names have also been adopted with many Hungarian objects, such as paprika and goulash.
The Hungarian regional languages do not differ very much from each other. There are, however, clear differences in pronunciation; morphological and lexicological differences are marginal. The main difference from the standard language is the dialect of the Szeklers, originally Hungarians, but now living in Transylvania, Romania. Striking morphological (way in which words are formed in a language) deviations has the dialect of the Palotzen in northwestern Hungary. Furthermore, Hungarian is spoken in Slovakia, Ukraine (Ruthenia), Serbia (Vojvodina) and by many emigrants in Australia and North America (more than one million !!).
Other languages are also spoken in Hungary by the minorities living in the country, such as Germans, Slovaks, Wends, Jews, Serbs, Croats, Romanians and Gypsies. These population groups are almost all bilingual.


Saint Stephen of Hungary Church PusztacsóPhoto:Nrx-at Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

Until 1600 Hungary was 90% Protestant. During and after the Counter-Reformation, many returned to the Catholic Church because of severe discrimination against the Protestant community. Under the communist regime, from 1948 to 1988, all Christian churches and religious activities suffered intimidation and discrimination.
Ca. 64% of the Hungarian population is currently Roman Catholic. There are four archdioceses (Eger, Esztergom, Kalocsa and Veszprém, established in 1993) and 12 dioceses. The Archbishop of Esztergom is also Primate of Hungary. The 1949 constitution brought (in addition to formal freedom of religion) a complete separation of church and state, but it was not until the 1960s that there was any relaxation in the relationship between church and state, which has been very difficult for a long time.
In 1964 an agreement was reached with the Vatican, the first at this level between the Holy See and a communist country. In 1971, a revision of the treaty between state and church, which had existed since 1950, gave the Roman Catholic clergy more room in the field of pastoral care and within their own organization.
The position of the Roman Catholic Church improved and diplomatic relations with the Holy See were fully restored in 1990.
The other faith communities in Hungary have long lived a quiet life. The largest community is the Protestant with 2.5 million members. And there are also Russian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Baptist, Methodist, and Unitarian faith communities.

Raoul Wallenberg, HungaryPhoto:Public domain

The Jewish Congregation currently has about 100,000 members. Already in the 13th century an important Jewish community settled in Hungary. They were granted freedom of religion and integrated well into Hungarian society. Like almost everywhere in Europe, things went completely wrong with the Jews during the Second World War. In 1944, a ghetto was established in Pest and the deportation of thousands of Jews to concentration camps began.
Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg managed to save many Hungarian Jews from the clutches of the Germans by creating a network of safe houses and false passports. Budapest was also the birthplace of the father of Zionism, Theodore Herzl. Other famous Jews of Hungarian descent are the actor Tony Curtis and cosmetics celebrity Estée Lauder.

Overview religious communities:

Denomination number of congregations and number of baptism members:


State structure

Parliament building of HungaryPhoto:Jakub Halun Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

From 1949 to October 1989, Hungary was a socialist people's republic, After that, Hungary became an independent, democratic state based on a multiparty system (30 parties in the first elections), in which the values of civil democracy and democratic socialism equally represented to be. Hungary is a fairly stable country politically. No democratically elected government has ever been sent home prematurely.
The 21-member presidential council has been replaced by a state president, who is elected by parliament for a four-year term, renewable once for another four years. In fact, the president has only a ceremonial office.
Supreme legislative power rests with the National Assembly or Országgyülé, whose 386 members are directly elected for a five-year term. Executive power rests with the cabinet, which is controlled by parliament. The prime minister elects the other members of the government. All Hungarians have the right to vote from the age of eighteen and the electoral threshold for political parties is 5%. For the current political situation see chapter history.

Administrative division

Provinces (Counties) of HungaryPhoto:Bordakm Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

Hungary is divided into 19 provinces or districts (megyék), 128 districts and 3,199 municipalities. They are governed by elected councils elected for a term of four years;day-to-day management is in the hands of executive committees, which are elected and supervised by the governing councils.
In addition, there are five city regions, also provincial capitals, at the administrative level of the megyék. Budapest with 22 megyék councils and a central city council occupies a separate position.

Province capital number of inhabitants



Stock Exchange Building BudapestPhoto:Misibacsi at Hungarian Wikipedia CCAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

After 1989, the restructuring process of the Hungarian economy towards a market economy was picked up and is now almost completed. The fact that things are not going so well across the board is due to the low domestic demand and the slow development of the traditional sales countries. Limiting a large government debt and high inflation also holds back a rapid expansion of the economy.

In March 1995 a policy of economic reform was initiated by the government. This so-called ‘Bokros package’ aimed at stabilizing the economy and reducing government budget and current account deficits. At this time, the civilians suffered greatly under this harsh but necessary package of measures. This inevitably caused domestic demand to fall, with a major impact on small and medium-sized enterprises.
After 1997, the measures paid off, GDP rose nearly five percent annually and inflation and unemployment declined. The Hungarian economy has therefore grown considerably in the last five years and in the coming years there will be a lot of investment in housing, expansion of the motorway network, innovation and tourism.

Budapest is the major engine behind the Hungarian economy, but the northwest, due to its favorable location, is also experiencing strong economic growth. Economic growth in the east of the country is lagging behind. Privatizing Hungarian business has been a task for the Hungarian privatization company ÁPV for the past decade. Most businesses were privatized in the early 1990s and are now nearing completion. By 2001, 1770 of the original 2000 state-owned companies had been privatized. The Hungarian electricity market has been privatized from 2003 and has been fully liberalized after joining the European Union.

In 2017, GDP will be 3.9% in agriculture, 31.3% in industry and 64.8% realized in services.
In 2017, 4.9% of the economically active population worked in agriculture, 30.3% in industry and 64.5% in the services sector. In 2017, the unemployment rate was 4.2%.
Due to the impact of the credit crisis, there was virtually no economic growth after the 2008 recession. In 2011, 2012 and 2013, respectively, the percentages were 1.5,-1.7 and 0.2. In 2017, growth picked up again to 4%.

The high investment growth is almost entirely attributable to Hungarian companies that were wholly or partly taken over by foreign companies. There were also many foreign companies that invested in new factories. Hungary also claimed to be the first country in Eastern Europe to be 'sensitive' sectors such as financial services and energy supply open to foreign companies.

Agriculture and livestock

Tokaj Vineyard, HungaryPhoto:Jerzy Kociatkiewicz Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

Around 1960 small-scale agriculture was transformed into the Soviet model with large state farms and large cooperatives. Almost 90% of the land became state-owned and 94% of the farmers worked for the state. However, this did not work well and the structure was changed quite a bit. Most production was left to the discretion of the local authorities. In this way the collective farms became partly autonomous again and a kind of free enterprise continued to exist in the provinces.

The cooperation between the cooperatives and private production appeared to work well. The transition to the free market economy in the early 1990s was not so great for small-scale farms. However, a difficult time came for the large-scale state-owned companies. The years of subsidizing these companies made mismanagement, capital destruction and a lack of efficiency commonplace. The conversion therefore resulted in a great loss of jobs.
Due to the favorable climate and fertile agricultural land, agriculture is still an important economic sector. It is remarkable that Hungary is self-sufficient in almost all crops. The main products are cereals, corn, rice, vegetables, wine and fruits. Sugar beet and sunflowers are also grown on a large scale.
Approximately 50% of the 4.7 million hectares of agricultural land is used effectively. Agriculture has suffered severe drought in recent years, followed by floods, and thousands of small farms have gone bankrupt.

In livestock, Hungary has focused on the breeding and fattening of slaughter cattle, mainly for export to countries of the European Union.
The economic transformation process led, among other things, to a sharp increase in the price of animal feed. As a result, Hungarian meat became more expensive, which in turn caused a decline in international meat sales.

Mining and energy supplyning

Matraz Power Plant HungaryPhoto:Civertan Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Hungary is poor in raw materials and the mining sector is therefore of limited importance. The last iron ore mine was closed in 1986, so that all iron ore had to be imported. Coal is mined at Pécs (also the source of uranium) and Komló, lignite at Ajka (Bakony forest), Tatabánya (Vértes mountains), Dorog, Tokod and in the province of Borsod-Abaújute-Zemplénemplénya. The coal has to be mined at great depth and that makes the coal expensive. Coal production has therefore been declining for years, to less than 70% of the production in 1989.
Petroleum is extracted in the province of Zala and in the Mátra and Bükk hills, natural gas in Eastern Hungary and Zala. The most important mineral, however, is bauxite, at Gánt in the Vértes Mountains, Iszkaszentgyörgy and in the Bakony Forest.
Bauxite mines are also in serious crisis. Lignite is mainly used as a fuel in power plants;there are dams in the Raab, Danube, Hernád and Tisza. Paks has a nuclear power plant.

Due to the lack of natural raw materials, approx. 50% of the total amount of energy required is imported. Hungary provides approximately 25% of its own oil needs. In order to be less dependent on oil, for example, oil-fired power stations are being converted to coal-fired power stations. However, production from the current four outdated power stations is continuing to decline and new power stations will no longer be built. The problem of nuclear waste is also still not solved.
The total stock of coal reserves is estimated at 700 million tons;100 million tons of this is economically viable. The reserves of lignite are many times greater: about 700 million tons in existing mines and 3.7 billion tons in reserves that can be exploited.
The Hungarian oil and gas reserves are in the Alföld region. The oil reserves are estimated at 58 million tons and the gas reserves at 113 billion m3. Three quarters of the oil needed is imported, mainly from Russia.

Industry general

Borsodchemie, HungaryPhoto:Jávori István Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Hungarian industry is increasingly focusing on exports. Many foreign investors also set up factories to export from there. The industrial sector is currently growing much faster than agriculture or the services sector and is in fact the engine behind economic growth. Consumer electronics and the automotive industry are the fastest growing sectors.
The fact that industrial production is growing so fast is partly due to the favorable geographical location in Europe and the well-trained labor market. concentrated in and around Budapest. Some other industrial areas are:
Borsod: blast furnaces, machine, chemical, glass and cement industry Salgótarján: lignite, metal goods, machinery, glass
Gyöngyös: lignite, lead, zinc and other non-ferrous metals, cement
Dorog-Tokod: brown coal, alumina, machinery, glass, chemical articles and cement
Tatabánya-Oroszlány: brown coal mines, aluminum smelter and cement industry
Gyõr-Komárom: alumina, machinery, chemical, textile and agricultural industries
Székesfehérvár-Várpalota-Veszprém: brown coal mines, aluminum smelting and rolling mill, machine, chemical, ceramic, paper and leather industry
Herend: porcelain

Construction industry, ICT sector and e-business and Transport equipment industry

Audio factory in Györ, HungaryPhoto:Lemon3 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany no changes made

After industry, agriculture and trade, construction is an important sector in Hungary. About 5% of the working population works in mostly private companies. The large Hungarian construction companies are focusing on foreign countries due to a lack of large domestic orders.
Road and hydraulic engineering has not experienced spectacular growth in recent years, but due to large projects that are in the pipeline, this will be very likely to change. There is also a high demand for new warehouses and distribution halls due to Hungary's aim to develop into the regional transport center with a distribution function.

Hungarian exports are mainly carried out by multinationals and are mainly aimed at the European Union.

Small cheap cars are the most commonly bought but rising incomes make the market for larger and luxury cars more interesting. Most of the production of the car factories in Hungary is exported.

The car parts market is also exploding. The most sold parts are: body parts, seat belts, clutches, bumpers and gearboxes. The main parts supplying countries are Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain and France.
Approx. 80% of the automotive industry is in the hands of large, mostly German, foreign multinationals.


Export HungaryPhoto:R. Haussmann, Cesar Hidalgo, CCAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Foreign trade is developing well in Hungary due to two important factors: Hungary has few or no raw materials and there are many foreign companies that use Hungary as a production location for goods that are mainly sold on the Western European market.
Exports reached a record $ 98.7 billion in 2017 and imports amounted to 96.3.5 billion euros. The surplus in the trade balance is good for the Hungarian economy.
In recent years, mainly manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment have been exported. Food, drink and tobacco, on the other hand, fell sharply and now represent only a small part of the total.
Hungarian imports in 2017 mainly consisted of machinery, transport equipment, energy and factory equipment.
The former Eastern Bloc countries 2017 only responsible for 10% of Hungarian exports and 16% of imports. The countries of the European Union now account for three quarters of Hungarian exports and 70% of imports. Germany is by far Hungary's most important trading partner.

Banking sector, ICT sector and e-business

National Bank, HungaryPhoto:Cserlajos Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Hungarian banking system was already somewhat reformed in 1987. Then the monopoly of the National Bank of Hungary was lifted and three new banks were established: the Hungarian Credit Bank, the Commercial and Credit Bank and the Budapest Bank. From 1989 onwards they were allowed to offer almost all financial services to their customers. In the mid-1990s, 1.8 billion euros in bad loans were rationalized, putting the banks in a financially healthy position. The ongoing privatization process is now mainly targeting the smaller banks.
The reduced state intervention increased the influence of foreign banks in the Hungarian banking system. Hungarian banks were taken over in whole or in part, including by ABN-Amro, and a number of foreign banks settled in Hungary.

Telecommunications, as in the rest of the world, is developing very quickly. This is partly due to foreign investors in the telecommunications sector. Since January 2002, the telecommunications market in Hungary has been liberalized.

Traffic and infrastructure

Megyeribrug, HongarijePhoto:Civertan Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The lack of infrastructure has never received much attention from the Hungarian government, with the result that railways, roads and telephone connections have been neglected. The spearhead of policy is now the restoration and expansion of the road and rail network because Hungary would like to see a role for itself as a transport and distribution center for Central and Eastern Europe. New motorways are currently being built and railway lines are being modernized. It is even planned to expand the motorway network by 600 kilometers in five years and to connect it to the European motorway network.
Hungary has approximately 30,000 km of roads (of which over 270 km of motorway), almost 8,000 km of railway (2,184 km of which are electrified), more than 1,600 km of navigable waterways and almost 7,000 km of pipeline (two oil pipelines and a gas pipeline provide a connection to Russia). Freight transport is increasingly taking place by road by a large number of small transport companies.
In passenger transport the railways are the most important, followed by intercity buses. Due to the lack of expansion and modernization, the railways are currently the least efficient means of transport and freight transport is increasingly taking place by road. Domestic aviation has existed since 1970. The Hungarian airline Malév is based at the recently renovated Ferihegy Airport, one of the most modern in Central Europe, but Hungary's only international airport.

Hévíz thermal lake in HungaryPhoto:HTME Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Tourism is becoming increasingly important to the Hungarian economy and is also a spearhead of the economic program for the next ten years. However, the revenues are still rising, which leads to the conclusion that more and more wealthy tourists visit Hungary. Tourism contributes about 10% to GDP and almost 300,000 people work in this sector. New hotel facilities to be built are attracting many foreign investors. Hotels are being built all over the country, especially in Budapest. As far as Hungary is concerned, tourists come mainly for culture, thermal baths, business tourism (conferences), holiday villages and active holidays.

Budapest, HungaryPhoto:Thomas Depenbusch Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

The city of Budapest has many impressive buildings especially on the right bank of the Danube. There is the castle district with many winding alleys, old buildings and various churches. An important church in the district is the 13th century Matthias Church. A special natural attraction in the Budapest area is the Pálvölgy cave under the Buda hills. The cave was discovered in 1904 and is one of the longest caves in Hungary with a length of over 7 km You will find many impressive stalactites there. A day of shopping in Budapest will not disappoint. Visit Váci street, the heart of the city where the best shops can be found. You will not only find clothing stores, but also many jewelers and shops selling local products such as marzipan and wines. During such a day of shopping you can taste the real atmosphere of Budapest.

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Last updated September 2021
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