Education in Hungary

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.

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 universities (1999).

ETYMOLOGY: The name Hungary comes from the Turkish on ogur ‘ten tribes’, see Magyars.

OFFICIAL NAME: Magyar Köztársaság


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%

COIN: forint




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)




Hungary is a Republic of Central Europe. Hungary is a mountainous and fertile country that encompasses the central part of the Danube Valley.

  • Find two-letter abbreviation for each independent country and territory, such as HU which stands for Hungary.

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 ethnic minorities.

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.

Hungary (Military)

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. Check youremailverifier for Hungary social condition facts.

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 companies.

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 dramatically.

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 competitiveness.

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 to west.

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 316,000.

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 Rococo.

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 Munkácsy.

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 building style.

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 the Baroque.

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 character.

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 impressionists.

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 1908.

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 populists”.

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 societal norms.

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 music.

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 ensemble.

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 (Kitchen)

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 (Wine)

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 spicy wines.

Hungary Education