Hungary - education
From World War II until 1990, education in Hungary was strongly
Soviet-influenced, but thereafter decentralization and freedom of choice became
key words in the following years' reforms of the education system, which has ten
years of compulsory schooling for 6-16 year olds.
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The preschool for 3-6-year-olds, which is compulsory last year, is followed
by approximately 90% (1995). Then follows the free, public, nine-year primary school, általános
ice school. Continuing education takes place either in the four-year
general gimnázium, which can also be started earlier and be six- or
eight-year-old, in the vocational, two- or three-year szakmunkásképző
intézetek or in the four-year szakközépiskola, which offers
combined general and vocational education.
Higher education, which in Hungary largely consists of distance learning,
takes place at up to 100 higher education institutions, of which 21 are
ETYMOLOGY: The name Hungary comes from the Turkish on ogur 'ten tribes', see Magyars.
OFFICIAL NAME: Magyar Köztársaság
CAPITAL CITY: Budapest
POPULATION: 9,982,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)
AREA: 93,036 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Hungarian, romani, andre
RELIGION: Catholics 68%, Calvinists 20%, Protestants 5%, others 7%
CURRENCY CODE: HUF
ENGLISH NAME: Hungary
POPULATION COMPOSITION: Magyars 90%, gypsies 4%, Germans 3%, Serbs 2%, others 1%
GDP PER residents: $ 5691 (2007)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 69 years, women 77 years (2007)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.869
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 35
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .hu
Hungary, Republic of Central Europe. Hungary is a mountainous and fertile
country that encompasses the central part of the Danube Valley.
The Hungarian lowlands have always been a natural destination for Asian
equestrian nomads. From the steppe south of the Urals came the Magyars, who
today make up more than 90% of the population. After a forced membership of the
Eastern Bloc, Hungary was in 1999 admitted in NATO, and in 2004 in the EU.
Hungary - Constitution
Constitution of the Republic is from 1989. The legislative power lies with
the 386 members of the National Assembly, who are elected for four years by
general election; they are placed on either national or regional party lists or
in an individual constituency.
The National Assembly elects the president, the government, the president of
the Supreme Court and the head of the prosecution. The president, who can sit
for two five-year terms, is the head of the armed forces and chairman of the
National Security Council, but otherwise has limited powers. The executive power
is vested in the government, which is headed by a prime minister.
Hungary has an actual constitutional court with 11 members elected by the
National Assembly, which also appoints two ombudsmen, one of whose jurisdiction
is the legal security of the citizens, while the other must ensure the rights of
Hungary - political parties
The Hungarian party system is divided into two parts, which is expressed in a
fundamental contradiction in the perception of how Hungary should fit into
Europe. There is a national line and a liberal-Western European-oriented
line. The latter is also divided into a Euro-Socialist-Socialist wing, to which
the MSZP (Hungarian Socialist Party) belongs, and a
Liberal-Social-Liberal-center-oriented wing, which is made up of the SzDSz
(Alliance of Free Democrats). The national camp is represented by FiDeSz
(Alliance of Young Democrats), MDF (Hungarian Democratic Forum), KDNP (The
Christian Democratic People's Party) and FKGP (The Independent Peasants'
Party). The smaller, extremist parties find it difficult to obtain
representation in parliament due to the 5% threshold. An exception, however,
occurred in the 2010 landslide election, when the Jobbik party from the far
right entered parliament.
Hungary (Judicial system)
After Hungary abolished the Austrian Civil Code in 1861, both the judiciary
and the laws, including a trade law, which were passed, came under German
influence. In 1949, a new constitution and a new legal system based on the
Marxist-Leninist conception of society were introduced, and a new Civil Code was
enacted in 1959. After constitutional amendments in the 1990's reinstated private
property and planned to establish a market economy, change of civil law has
begun. In 1998, it was decided to prepare a new Civil Code, which must
contain rules on the protection of the weaker party in a contractual
relationship. Consumer protection legislation has already been introduced.
The Armed Forces is (2006) 32,300. Conscription training is now six
months. The army (Magyar Honvédség) is at 23,950, the air force (Magyar
Légierö) 7500 and the joint parts of the army at 850. The forces'
equipment is older and newer Soviet-produced, however, a squadron of new
Swedish Saab 39 Gripen fighter jets is now available. The Army is being
reorganized into the new tasks of NATO and the EU. It advises over two
reconnaissance battalions, an armored battalion and two brigades with a total
of seven light infantry battalions. As Hungary is a landlocked state, it has no
navy. Army Danubeflotilla, however, has four patrol and
three demining boats. The Air Force has 14 fighter jets, 5 transport aircraft
and 12 armed helicopters and 17 transport helicopters. The border guard of
12,000 is being reduced.
Hungary joined NATO in 1999.
Hungary - social conditions
In the first years after 1989, economic change in Hungary lowered the
standard of living, which was even more drastic than in Poland and the Czech
Republic. The turning point came in 1994, when unemployment began to fall and
social spending (excluding health care spending) increased to 32.3% of GDP,
which was more than in any other post-communist country.
Since then, the government has sought to find an appropriate balance between
economic and social reforms. The previous maternity benefit has been retained,
but the low retirement age, 55 for women and 60 for men, has been gradually
changed; from 2009, the retirement age is 62 for both women and men. In 1998,
the government initiated the privatization of pension savings.
Unemployment benefits are conditional on previous employment
relationships; in 1996, only 34% of the unemployed received real benefits, 42%
received cash benefits, and 24% received no benefits at all. Therefore, in 1996,
a labor market council was set up, which was equipped with significant funds to
be used for job creation and the improvement of support.
Hungary (Health conditions)
Men's average life expectancy was 66.4 years in 1997. In 1970 it was 66.3 and
decreased until 1992. Women's 1970-1997 had a slowly increasing life expectancy
from 72.1 to 75.1 years. Infant mortality dropped from 35.9 per 1000 live births
in 1970 to 9.9 in 1997. The relatively large group of Roma has a higher infant
mortality rate and a life expectancy of approximately 10 years shorter than the
national average. The abortion rate has been high throughout the period and was
743 per. 1000 live births in 1997. Mortality from heart disease is high and has
not had the same decline as in Western Europe. Mortality from chronic liver
disease, which due to high alcohol consumption, has been increasing since
1980. The frequency of fatal accidents and suicides is among the highest in
Europe, but there has been a tendency for a decline since 1995.
Under the communist regime, Hungary had a centrally controlled and funded
health care system. Since 1990, there has been a gradual decentralization and
transition to an insurance system. In 1997, the country spent 6.5 percent of GDP
on health care. In 1996, 12 percent came from taxes, 71 percent from mandatory
health insurance and 17 percent from direct patient payment. The health
insurance is financed in 2000 with the payment of 14 percent of the gross
salary, of which the employer pays 11 percent. 1996-1997 had landed 35 doctors,
37 nurses and 83 hospital beds per. 10,000 residents
Hungary - economy
From the late 1940's to 1989, Hungary had a socialist planned economy, closely
integrated with the other COMECON countries. While the 1950's were marked by
considerable centralism, milder political winds in the early 1960's led to ideas
of economic reform within the framework of a socialist state.
In 1968, János Kádár introduced an economic reform program, the New Economic
Mechanism, NEM, which sought to increase corporate autonomy and give market
forces greater importance in economic decision-making processes.
NEM was quickly reflected in high economic growth and a significantly better
product range than in the other COMECON countries, e.g. because Hungary's
foreign trade was more oriented towards the western countries; however, the
development also led to large current account deficits, and Hungary built up a
large external debt in the 1970's.
Hungary's western orientation meant that the country was already admitted to
the International Monetary Fund, IMF, and the World Bank as early as 1982, but
as international willingness to borrow fell after the second oil crisis, the
loan-financed recovery could not continue.
The 1980's were marked by low economic growth and problems with external
balances. However, the gradual reform policy continued; in 1987, Danmarks
Nationalbank's monopoly on banking was abolished, and the following year the
government passed laws on foreign companies' access to establish themselves in
Hungary and the transformation of state-owned companies into public limited
In 1990, the Budapest Stock Exchange reopened, but although Hungary was thus
well prepared, the actual transition to a market economy in 1991 became
difficult. Exports experienced problems due to the demise of COMECON markets and
the war in Yugoslavia, while domestic demand fell due to high price increases,
government savings and declining investment. GDP fell by almost 12% in 1991,
while unemployment and the deficits in public budgets and external balances rose
In 1995, under the auspices of the IMF, a stabilization program with public
savings, a tight income policy, import duties and a devaluation was launched; a
continuous devaluation of the currency, forint, against a currency
basket consisting of dollars and D-marks (from 1999 only euros) with a
pre-announced write-down rate should also ensure that inflation does not erode
Growth has been high since 1997, around 4% per year, and unemployment, which
in 1992 was almost 13%, has remained fairly stable around 2000 since
2000. Inflation has been reduced, but public budgets have been rising deficits
since the 1990's; debt was calculated in 2005 at 59% of GDP.
The governing coalition of Socialists and Free Democrats, which was
re-elected in April 2006, has announced redundancies and tax increases in an
attempt to meet the requirements for participation in EMU within a few years. In
September 2006, a revelation of the Socialists' misleading election campaign led
to violent confrontations between police and protesters in Budapest.
The external balances have also in recent years shown deficits resulting in a
foreign debt of approximately 60% of GDP (2005) despite significant export growth, not
least from foreign-owned enterprises.
Hungary's early reforms have been the main reason why the country has been
able to attract large foreign investment, and have had an impact on the fact
that the transition from a planned to a market economy in 1996 was so advanced
that Hungary joined the OECD. Hungary became an associate in 1991 and a full
member of the EU in 2004. In particular, exports have largely shifted from east
Hungary's by far the most important trading partner is Germany, which
accounts for 28% of foreign trade (2005).
In 2005, Denmark exported DKK 2,760 million. DKK to Hungary, while imports
from there were 2470 mill. kr.
Hungary - Library Service
National Library, Országos Széchényi Könyvtár, was founded in 1802
by Count Ferenc Széchényi, and the Library of the Academy of Sciences followed
in 1826; they are today the country's most significant research libraries.
Following the British model, workers' and public libraries were created
around the country during the 1800's. In the 1930's there were approximately 3000 public
libraries; the number had grown to just over 5,800 in the 1990's.
Hungary - mass media
Censorship was abolished in 1988, the year before the fall of communism, and
in 1990 the majority of the written press was fully or partially privatized. In
1995, there were 36 dailies in Hungary with a total circulation of 1.7
million. The majority are foreign-owned, the largest daily newspaper,
Népszabadság 'Freedom of the People', which in 1996 had a circulation of
It used to be the official newspaper of the Communist Party, but it was later
taken over by the large German publishing house Bertelsmann AG. The liberal
newspaper Magyar Nemzet 'the Hungarian nation' has a small circulation (70,000),
but enjoys great respect. Világgazdaság 'World Economic Weekly' is a leading
business newspaper with a circulation of 140,000.
In general, there is freedom of the press in Hungary, but in the 1990's there
were a number of controversies, as attempts were made to gain political control
of the electronic media in particular.
It was not until 1997 that the state gave up its television monopoly. The two
first nationwide commercial TV channels, RTL Klub and TV2, captured quickly
each 1/3 of the market, while the state Magyar Televízió
(MTV) only has a 14% market share.
The state-run cultural TV channel Duna is especially aimed at Hungarians in
neighboring countries. In 1986, the first commercial radio station, Danubius
Rádió, began broadcasting, and there are now (2000) several privately owned
radio stations. The news agency Magyar Távirati Iroda (MTI) was founded in 1880.
Hungary - visual arts and architecture
Hungary's architecture was from approximately 1000 characterized by western models,
thus the Romanesque churches in Esztergom and Pécs (later rebuilt) from the
1000-1200's and the castle in Buda, built approximately 1250-75 and like the
ecclesiastical architecture of the city inspired by early French Gothic; the
castle was later rebuilt into a castle in renaissance and baroque.
In the second half of the 14th century, the family's Parlor's workshop in
Prague served as both architects and sculptors, while the fresco was represented
by Johannes Aquila.
Convened Italian builders and visual artists led the Renaissance to Hungary
under Matthias Corvinus in the 15th century. After the division of the country
in 1538, the Renaissance developed in the northwest under the Habsburgs, while
Islamic art characterized the central part under Ottoman rule, as seen by two
mosques in Pécs, the Turkish baths in Budapest and the minaret in Eger.
The Baroque first came to Hungary in the 18th century with architects such
as KI Dientzenhofer from Bohemia and JL Hildebrandt from Austria, who built
Prince Eugene of Savoy's castle in Ráckeve. The Baroque castle Esterházy in
Fertöd, "Hungary's Versailles", dates from the 1760's. The period's leading
frescoes are Paul Troger (1698-1762) and FA Maulbertsch on the transition to
The classicism of 19th century architecture was linked to the emerging
national feeling, especially in Debrecen, and a number of large cathedrals were
built in Esztergom (completed 1869).
Historicism was expressed in the neo-Gothic parliament building in Budapest,
built 1885-1902 by Imre Steindl (1839-1902). In the visual arts, the national
currents left their mark on the sculptor István Ferenczy and the painter Mihály
In the years around 1900, the painter József Rippl-Rónai brought the
international art currents with him from France. A central figure in the
avant-garde was Lajos Kassák, who, together with most other progressive
artists, left the country in 1919 and developed modern Hungarian art in exile,
among others. together with Victor de Vasarely and László Moholy-Nagy.
After World War II, socialist realism became the dominant artistic form of
expression. From 1956 and especially since the 1960's, the artists have again
orientated themselves towards the international currents.
Architecture in the 20th century became, after the turn of the century,
the Art Nouveau style with Ödön Lechner (1845-1914) as the central figure,
characterized by a neohistoricism with features from traditional Hungarian
The Bauhaus school left its mark in the 1920's and 1930's, mainly in private
construction. The construction of the country after World War II was carried out
in so-called Stalinist and partly functionalist-oriented construction. From the
1960's, architects got freer hands, as seen in an organic architecture and later
in postmodern features, which were especially developed from the late 1980's.
The rich Hungarian folk art in the form of handicrafts and handicrafts is
still a living part of the country's cultural life.
Hungary - literature
Hungarian literature was for a long time isolated in a European context and
did not participate in the mutual cultural exchange. This circumstance has
created a constant conflict between the proponents of a more self-conscious
national feeling and the proponents of an approximation to European culture.
The first traces of written activity are a funeral sermon and a complaint of
Mary, freely translated from Latin around 1150. Latin played until the 1700's. an
important role as a kind of official language and was also, as a literary
language, an opportunity for a rapprochement with Europe.
The first Latin-language literature was of a spiritual nature and consisted
of sermons, saints' vitae, hymns, and edifying books, created in the monasteries
by monks such as Janus Pannonius (d. 1472) and Pelbárt of Temesvár (1435-1504).
As the main work of Latin, however, stands a historical work, the so-called Picture
Chronicle written down in the middle of the 14th century. by Marcus of
Kált. It depicts the migration of Huns from Asia to Europe and was the first
example of one of the recurring themes of Hungarian literature: the dark and
mythical past of the Hungarians.
Reformation and counter-reformation, as in other European countries, created
a national language literature. In addition to the Bible, the Protestant Péter
Bornemisza (1535-84) also translated Greek tragedies and German fables, and
the great work of the Catholic Péter Pázmány on Catholic dogmas, Leading to
the Truth of God from 1613, is the first prose work of
During the Ottoman conquest and centuries-old occupation of Hungary, Count
Miklós Zrínyi (1620-64, see Zrinski), who hailed from Croatia, wrote his great
epic, The Fall of Szigets (1651).
The first half of 1800's literature was dominated by three
national romantic poets: the versatile Mihály Vörösmarty, who associated
classical elements with romantic, the revolutionary hero and martyr Sándor
Petőfi and János Arany, who created the great epic trilogy Toldi (1847-79)
about the unspoiled and honorable hero Miklós Toldi, who has become the epitome
of Hungarian folk character. From the middle of the century, prose also began to
assert itself with the imaginative and imaginative Mór Jókai as the main
With the new century and the breakthrough of modernism, poetry again became
the most important genre. The avant-garde turned to Europe and sought to become
part of European culture, inspired primarily by the French symbolists and
The most significant figure and at the same time Hungary's greatest poet of
the 1900's. was the lyricist Endre Ady, who was the leading force in the
modernist magazine with the programmatic name Nyugat ('west'), published since
There were gradually two camps or directions in the literature in a strong
contradiction: a bourgeois, urban direction, represented primarily by Ferenc
Molnár, and a popular direction, whose representatives were given the name "the
They came from poor conditions in the countryside and drew a picture of the
impoverished and backward province and sought to acquaint the whole nation with
the wretched conditions under which the rural proletariat lived.
The most important of these writers were Zsigmond Móricz, Dezső Szabó
(1879-1945) and Gyula Illyés. With their realistic prose works, they left a
strong mark on the literature of the interwar period, which was otherwise
stylistically and ideologically diverse. Frigyes Karinthy excelled as a humorist
and as the author of fantastic and absurd novels. Margit Kaffka (1880-1918)
dealt with the position of women in the clash between traditional and modern
In poetry, social engagement, represented by the excellent
proletarian poet Attila József, met with refined, pure poetry in Mihály
Babits ' poems, while Dezső Kosztolányi with his melodic and elaborate verses is
close to a poet like Rainer Maria Rilke.
After World War II and the fascist regime that had claimed its victims from
Jewish writers, a streak of socialist-minded intellectuals returned home from
their exile in the Soviet Union, while another group of bourgeois writers left
Hungary and chose exile in the West..
Among the returnees were the philosopher and literary theorist, the former
Deputy People's Commissioner for Education in the Hungarian Council Republic in
1919, Georg Lukács, and the Stalinist literary publicist József Révai. The
debate between these two on socialist realism characterized literature and led
to a more liberal view of the role of literature in socialist society. The
novelist Tibor Déry (1894-1977) and the playwright Gyula Háy (1900-75) thus
contributed greatly to the Hungarian post-war literature becoming more nuanced
than in several other socialist countries.
During the thaw and in the decades before the introduction of political
pluralism and the market economy, a new generation of writers emerged. Socialist
realism was replaced by new directions and genres and by a satirical literature
that in many cases contained a hidden critique of society.
The most important representatives of recent prose are György Konrád, whose
novels were in several cases first published abroad, the experimenter and
playwright Péter Nádas and Péter Esterházy, whose books mixing many literary
genres deal with the origin of the literary work.
Hungary - theater
Hungarian theater is marked by the wrestling in the country's history, thus
in the 16th century magnificent Jesuit theater and Reformation school
drama. Until the 18th century, German theaters dominated the picture, and it was
not until 1790 that a professional Hungarian ensemble was formed.
In 1837, a theater was opened in Pest, which in 1840 gained the status of
national theater. In the 19th century, the theater reflected the country's
social and political tensions, with the founding of a number of new stages
towards the end of the century gradually diminishing. In 1904, the Thalia
Theater was opened with a model in the French Théâtre Libre as an artistically
ambitious stage, especially for the naturalistic repertoire.
A number of Hungarian playwrights broke through, including Ferenc Molnár also
internationally. The time between the world wars was especially marked
by cabaret, which has a strong Hungarian tradition.
After World War II, state control became extensive; the theater was to serve
ideological purposes, but also occasionally managed to provide more or less
implicit comments to the regime. After the fall of communism, theater life has
approached Western European conditions.
Hungary - dance
In traditional Hungarian dance, influence is seen from both Europe and
Asia. For the oldest dance belongs circle dance performed by women (karikázó),
male dance or so-called pair-stepping dance (ugrós) and Renaissance
improvised male dance, eg swineherd dance (kanásztánc), sticks dance (botoló)
and sword dance (hajdútánc), all of which were performed to bagpipe
Among the younger dances are verbunkos, a dance from the 1700's,
which was originally used in the recruitment of soldiers for the army, and the
couple dance csárdás; in the 1800's. both dance types gained status as national
dances and came to be included as character dances in ballet productions in a
number of other countries.
In the early 1970's, the "dance house movement " (táncház) emerged,
distancing itself from the communist dance ensembles and their choreographed
productions; within the framework of táncház, informal dance gatherings were
organized, where the youth could meet and in as authentic a form as possible
learn and perform traditional dances to live music.
A classical ballet life unfolded in Budapest since 1837 at the
National Theater and from 1884 at the State Opera. Despite influences from both
Eastern and Western ballet trends and guest choreographers, Hungary has had its
own ballet life with choreographers such as Gyula Harangozó (1908-74), László
Seregi (1927-2012) and the educator Ferenc Nádasi (1893-1966).
Internationally known was Aurel von Milloss (1906-88), who from 1938 lived in
Italy but visited his homeland. In Pécs, Imre Eck (1930-99) led the 1960-68
Ballet Sopianae, where he and young dancers created an avant-garde
platform; since 1992, the company's leader has been István Herczog. The folk
dance is lifted to professional performing arts in Hungary's state folk
Hungary - film
The first Hungarian film studio was established in 1912, but in the following
decades several filmmakers chose to work abroad, eg Paul Fejos (egl. Pál Fejős,
1897-1963), who worked in the USA and Denmark, Michael Curtiz (egl. Mihály
Kertész), who in Hollywood made Casablanca (1942), and Alexander
Korda (egl. Sándor Kellner), who became a central figure in British film.
Among the major Hungarian films after World War II are Géza Radványis
(1907-86) A Place in Europe (1947), with screenplays by Béla Balázs,
and Zoltán Fábris (1917-94), a politically controversial Professor Hannibal (1956). In
the 1960's and 1970's, a breakthrough came with Márta Mészáros (b. 1931)
autobiographically colored film, István Gaáls (b. 1933) Falkene (1970)
and Pál Gábors (1932-87) Angi Vera (1979); the main characters
are Miklós Jancsó, who has influenced Hungarian film since the 1950's with
formalist representations of Hungarian history, and István Szabó with Mephisto (1981)
and Sunshine (1999).
The most important newer name is Béla Tarr (b. 1955) with the
seven-hour Sátántango (1994, ie Satan's tango).
Hungary's cuisine is immediately associated with the spice paprika, although
both this and tomato are relatively late elements in Hungarian food
culture. Paprika spices the famous Hungarian salami as well as the national dishes
gulyás (beef soup) and pörkölt, stews of beef, veal or
poultry. These and other stews also include peppers, tomatoes, smoked pork, sour
cream and mild onion varieties. Crayfish, pike, carp and pikeperch are the basis
of the fish kitchen. A special strain of pikeperch, fogas, from Lake
Balaton is a specialty. Foie gras from goose is the basis for a large export.
Hungary has a fine pastry tradition, can be mentioned palacsinta,
pancakes stuffed with walnut, raisin and rum.
Hungary is a historically important wine country, which with a planted area
of approximately 125,000 ha produce approximately 6 mio. hl of wine per year, of which 70%
white wine (2000).
From 1947, the wine trade was managed by two large state-run wineries, which
had control over production and exports from 135 state wineries. Since 1990,
major improvements and privatizations have taken place, and Hungary has been
given a wine law that meets EU standards. The country's 20 wine regions are
divided into four major main areas. Almost half of Hungary's vines are planted
in the sandy soil of the Hungarian Plain, where the wine lice have never been
able to survive. In Transdanubia, there are 13 regions with the Sopron at
Fertő-tó (Neusiedler See) and Villány-Siklós on the border with Croatia as the
most famous. Mátrá to the NE includes Eger with the famous Egri Bikavér, Oxblood,
which is characterized by the powerful grape kadarka. I Tokaj-Hegyalja
(see Tokaj), where the country's most famous wine, Tokaji, is
produced, there are foreign investments, French. Especially wines from
French grapes are exported, but the local grape varieties produce fiery and