What’s not to like about Hungary, with its luxurious spas and hot springs, soaring music, and world-class wine? This Central European nation that is cut off from the rest of the world by land has made quite a name for itself thanks to its many accomplishments. It is also considered to be responsible, at least to some extent, for the beginning of the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
The year 1999 marked Hungary’s official entry into NATO, and the country officially joined the European Union on May 1 of that same year. In addition to that, it is a member of the OECD.
Budapest, a vibrant and charming city, serves as the administrative and cultural hub of Hungary, also known as the Magyar Republic. Budapest is the nation’s capital. In addition to its many cultural and athletic events, it is only a short distance away from other pleasures that are more rural in nature.
CULTURE AND OLD WAYS OF DOING THINGS
The Magyars, along with the Roma, German, Slovak, Croat, Serbian, and Romanian minorities, have contributed to the rich culture that has developed in Hungary as a result of the country’s diverse ethnic composition. Hungary, which was a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire in the past, is home to a wealth of folk traditions that can be seen in the country’s embroidery, pottery, architecture, and carvings.
A number of well-known composers, including Franz Liszt, Béla Bartók, and Zoltán Kodály, contributed to Hungary’s extensive musical heritage, which includes both traditional and classical music. The quality of the mathematics education in Hungary is well-known, and as a result, the country has produced a number of eminently successful scientists. Famous Hungarian mathematicians include János (John) Bolyai, who designed non-Euclidean (or “absolute”) geometry in 1831; John von Neumann, who was a pioneer in digital computing; and Paul Erds, who is known for publishing in over forty languages and whose Erds numbers are still tracked.
The Hungarian people are responsible for a number of significant discoveries and innovations. Some of these inventions include the noiseless match (created by János Irinyi), the Rubik’s cube (created by Ern Rubik), and the krypton electric bulb (created by Imre Bródy). Other innovations include holography (which was developed by Dennis Gabor), the ballpoint pen (which was developed by László Bró), the theory behind the hydrogen bomb (which was developed by Edward Teller), and the programming language known as BASIC.
Swimming, canoeing, and water polo are just some of the well-known water sports that are popular in Hungary.
Since Hungarian is the state language of Hungary, it is also one of the official languages used throughout the European Union.
The language known as Hungarian, also known as magyar, is a Finno-Ugric language that is unrelated to the majority of the languages spoken in Europe. It is the official language of Hungary and is also spoken by Hungarian minority in seven other countries nearby. There are around 13 million native speakers, 9.5 million to 10 million of whom inhabit in the country that is now known as Hungary.
The Hungarian language is an agglutinative language, which means that it uses a variety of affixes to define the meaning or the grammatical function of words. These affixes include suffixes, prefixes, and a circumfix.
In Hungary, the general (or basic) school is known as the általános iskola, the general secondary school is known as the gimnázium, the vocational secondary school is known as the szakkozépiskola, and the vocational school is known as the szakmunkásképz iskola. Additionally, there are a few special short-term vocational schools (specialis szakiskola) that last for a period of two years. At the nursery schools, which are also referred to as kindergartens and start accepting students at the age of 5, children can participate in pre-school programs.
Higher education in Hungary is typically divided into two categories: the more theoretically oriented universities, and the more practically oriented colleges. Hungary is among the top countries in terms of the overall quality of its educational system.
Medical services in Budapest are adequate but substandard in the rest of the country.
HIV testing is required for anyone staying over 1 year and all intending immigrants (some employers may require workers to be tested) (some employers may require workers to be tested). Certain drugs such as psychotropics are restricted from importation even for personal use. Quite a few diseases, including hepatitis A and typhoid, are transmitted by unsanitary food handling procedures and contaminated water. Precautions should always be taken with foods and drinks. Documentation of a positive pre-departure PPD skin test is required for any traveler who plans to stay longer than three months in an area. Those who plan to stay for more than one month and anticipate having significant social interaction with residents of the area ought to be tested.
On the street, there have been reports of burglaries, muggings, and other types of crimes. Take care of your passport, the local cash, and credit cards, and avoid using money changers on the street. If you are approached by police, you should always demand to see their credentials and/or insist on coming to the police station. Criminals occasionally impersonate as law enforcement personnel.
With a per capita income that is approximately two-thirds that of the average for the EU-25, Hungary has successfully accomplished the transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy. In May of 2004, Hungary became a member state of the European Union. Since then, the country’s economy has continued to show robust development. Over 80 percent of the gross domestic product comes from the private sector.
There is a significant amount of foreign ownership and investment in Hungarian companies, with the cumulative amount of foreign direct investment reaching more than 60 billion dollars since 1989. Hungary offers investment-grade government debt. Despite this, however, commentators from other countries have voiced their worries over Hungary’s budget and current account deficits. Since 1998, inflation has been brought down to a rate of 3.7 percent, from a high of 14 percent in 1998. The unemployment rate has remained consistently higher than 6 percent. With only 57 percent of adults being actively involved in the labor force, Hungary has one of the lowest rates in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
By a significant margin, Hungary’s most important economic partner is Germany. Policy challenges include reducing the deficit in the public sector to 3 percent of GDP by 2008, down from approximately 6.5 percent of GDP in 2006. Additionally, there is a persistent trade deficit that needs to be addressed. A program of fiscal austerity, which is intended to address these issues and eventually lead to the adoption of the euro, has been announced by the current government and implementation of it has begun.
The Hungarian forint is the country’s official currency.
The President of the Republic, who is chosen by the National Assembly every five years and has a function that is primarily ceremonial but also has the right to designate the Prime Minister, is elected by the National Assembly. Cabinet ministers are handpicked by the prime minister, who also has the sole authority to fire any of them. Each nominee for a cabinet position is required to go through open and consultative hearings before one or more parliamentary committees, and then receive formal approval from the president.
The National Assembly, which has a unicameral structure and 386 members, is the highest organ of state authority and is responsible for initiating and approving legislation that is sponsored by the prime minister. In order to establish a parliamentary faction, a political party needs to receive at least 5% of the national vote. Elections for the national parliament take place once every four years (the last in April 2006). The power to challenge laws on the basis of their unconstitutionality rests with a Constitutional Court that is comprised of 15 judges.
The current President of Hungary is Laszlo Solyom, and Ferenc Gyurcsany serves as the country’s Prime Minister.
For a very long time, Hungary has been an indispensable part of Europe. At the conclusion of World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy (1867-1918) was defeated, and as a result, Hungary lost approximately two-thirds of its territory as well as nearly as much of its population. In 1919, the country was subject to both a communist dictatorship that was brief but bloody and a counterrevolution.
Despite the fact that Germany was Hungary’s ally for the majority of World War II, the country was occupied by German forces on October 15, 1944, after an unsuccessful attempt to switch sides earlier that day. Elections held in November 1945 resulted in the Independent Smallholders’ Party gaining a majority of the control needed to form a coalition government. These elections led to the replacement of the provisional government, which was led by the Hungarian communist party (MKP). The government carried out a significant land redistribution program and progressively nationalized mines, power plants, heavy industries, and certain large banks. In 1947, elections were held that were riddled with fraud, but the communist bloc nonetheless managed to win control of the government. The Soviet Union and the West were unable to continue their postwar cooperation, which led to the outbreak of the cold war. Matyas Rakosi, a communist schooled in Moscow who received help from the Soviet Union, started establishing a communist dictatorship in Hungary.
Inspired by nationalism that for a very long time had urged Hungarians to determine their own fate, Hungary’s transition to a parliamentary democracy in the pattern of the West was the first and the smoothest among the countries that had been a part of the Soviet bloc. The very first free elections for the parliament were held in May of 1990, and they served in a sense as a referendum on the communist era. Despite having more than the typical benefits that come with being a “incumbent” party, the revived and reformed communists did not fare well in the election. The Democratic Forum (MDF), a populist, center-right, and liberal party, won 43 percent of the vote, and the Free Democrats (SZDSZ), a liberal party, won 24 percent. The parties that fared best were those in the latter two categories.How To Start Your Own Country