Centre d'Information sur les Institutions Européennes

Centre d'Information sur les Institutions Européennes (CIIE)


  • Accession to the EU: 2004
  • Accession to the Council of Europe: 1990
  • Surface area: 93 036 km2
  • Population: 9.88 million inhabitants (2014)
  • Capital city: Budapest (1,7 million inhabitants)
  • Official languages: Hungarian
  • Listen to Hungarian
  • Main religion: Catholic
  • Currency: Euro
  • Political system: Republic
  • Head of state: Janos Ader, President re-elected 13th march 2017
  • Head of government: Viktor Orban, Prime Minister re-elected on April , 2018
  • International code: + 36
  • National holiday: 20 August
  • The Hungarian members of the European Parliament

Despite the Turkish invasions and domination by the Habsburgs, Hungary is the only country of all the Eastern European nations which has enjoyed an uninterrupted existence, ever since its creation by Saint Stephen in the year 1000.

Chain bridge, Budapest © Hungarian National Tourist Office

  • 1848-1849 War of independence against the Austrian Empire, which ended in 1849 with the defeat of the Hungarian revolutionary army.
  • 1867 The Austro-Hungarian compromise: Austria becomes Austria-Hungary.
  • 1914 Austria-Hungary joins the war on the side of the German Empire.
  • 1919 Admiral Horthy is appointed as regent by the Hungarian Parliament.
  • 1920 Signing of the Trianon peace treaty at Versailles. Hungary loses two-thirds of its territory and half of its population.
  • 1941 Hungary joins the Reich in its attack against the USSR.
  • 1944 The Germans force Admiral Horthy to resign.The Wehrmacht occupies Hungary.
  • 1945 Hungary is liberated by the Red Army. The borders Hungary held in 1920 are restored.
  • 1947 The communists take power.
  • 1953 Imre Nagy becomes head of government and launches a policy of liberalisation.
  • 1956 A revolution breaks out in Budapest, with the demonstrators demanding free elections and that their country leaves the Warsaw Pact. The Red Army launches a bloody repression of the Hungarians’ democratic and liberal ambitions.
  • 1956-1988 Janos Kadar is appointed to the head of the Hungarian Communist Party. A period of political repression and economic liberalisation begins.
  • 1989 The Hungarian Communist Party dissolves itself.
  • 1990 First free elections in more than 40 years. Hungary joins the Council of Europe.
  • 1999 Hungary becomes a member of NATO.
  • 2004 Hungary joins the European Union on May 1st.
  • 2006 The Socialist Party (MSZP) wins the parliamentary elections with its candidate Ferenc Gyurcsany, who becomes Prime Minister.
  • 2009 Prime Minister Gyurcsány resigns after a no-confidence vote.Gordon Bajnai becomes prime minister on March 29th.
  • 2010 Dr. Pál Schmitt (Fidesz) becomes Head of state, Viktor Orbán (Fidesz) is elected as Head of government.
  • 2011 Hungarian presidency of the council of the european union

It was the 1873 unification of the districts of Buda and Obuda on the western bank of the Danube, and the district of Pest on the eastern bank of the river, which led to the creation of Budapest. The two parts of the town are linked by nine bridges spanning the Danube. The Chain bridge, the first and most imposing of the bridges, was built in 1848. The hills of Buda, which overlook the huge plain of Pest, include a number of remains from medieval times, including the former royal castle, fortresses, and the baroque Mathias Church. From the Fishermen’s Bastion in its neo- Romanesque style, visitors can admire a marvellous view over the Danube and the largest building in the country: the Parliament. Much more modern, Pest is the town’s administrative and commercial center. It was on this bank of the Danube that the neo-Gothic style Parliament and the largest synagogue in Europe were built. However, it is without a doubt the spa which makes this capital so original and well known. Budapest has more than 80 thermal springs that have been used since Roman times, supplying some 50 spa establishments, such as the Király, Gellért, and Szèchenyi baths. Budapest has been featured on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1987.
Stronghold of fishermans,
Gellert Baths, Budapest
Hungarian cuisine is famous for being the best cuisine in Central Europe. The emblematic spice of Hungary is, without a doubt, paprika. Introduced during the 17th century by the Turks, it was first used by country people before becoming the characteristic ingredient of Hungarian cuisine. It exists in countless varieties, including pink, mild, and spicy. Hungarians cook it to flavour their traditional dishes such as “Gulyas,” which is none other than their famous goulash (careful, this is actually a soup and not a stew), the “Halászlé,” a fish soup, or the “pörkölt,” which is a stew. The country also offers other less spicy treats, such as the “Palacsinta” (pancakes), and even duck liver pâté, served fried. Though widely recognised for its cuisine, Hungary is also famous for its wines, with the most famous being the “Tokaj”. Louis XIV once described this wine as being “the king of wines and the wine of kings”. Hungary now has exclusive use of the “Tokaj” name. Indeed, the Alsatian “Tokay Pinot gris,” a wine from a different grape variety, is now called only “Pinot gris”.

Hungarian Paprika © Hungarian National Tourist Office

Hungary is a country of musicians and of music lovers. Among these, we should mention Franz Liszt, Bela Bartok, and Zoltan Kodaly. Franz Liszt, the son of a steward to Prince Esterhazy, was born in Doborjan, Hungary in 1811. He took his first piano lessons with his father. A brilliant musician, he studied composition in Vienna with Antonio Salieri, and the piano with Karl Czerny. From 1823 to 1835, he came to Paris to perfect his musical education and made the acquaintance of Chopin, Hugo, Lamartine, Berlioz, and Heine. Between 1839 and 1847, he performed throughout Europe and achieved a level of fame never equalled by any performer before him. In 1847, he ended his career under the influence of the Russian Princess Carloyne Sayn Wittgenstein. Liszt became cantor at the court of the Grand Duchy of Weimar until 1861. He then settled in Rome where he took holy orders. He died during the Bayreuth Festival in 1886. As both a pianist and conductor, Liszt created a musical academy in Budapest where he taught. A great connoisseur of Hungarian folklore, he leaves us no less than 19 Hungarian rhapsodies.

Frantz Liszt © Hungarian National Tourist Office

The discovery of vitamin C

It was the Hungarian biochemist Szent-Györgyi who discovered vitamin C in 1933. Although the work was already well advanced in France and in the United States, he was the first to isolate this vitamin in a sufficiently large quantity, which derived from paprika, a Hungarian spice.

Albert von Szent-Györgyi © The Nobel Foundation

The first underground train system in continental Europe

In Budapest, 1896, the first underground train system in continental Europe started operation. This is the second oldest underground train system in the world, after the London Underground, which dates back to 1863.

1896, the first underground in Budapest, © Hungarian National Tourist Office

The Rubik’s cube
The Rubik’s cube, or the Hungarian cube, was the invention of the Hungarian architect Erno Rubik in 1974. During the 1980s, the enthusiasm for this game reached such a point that a world championship was organised.


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