“Good neighbours are a real treasure”

Hungarian proverb

Hungary was the first communist-block country to open its borders with Western Europe.

Around 15% of Hungary’s population will be Roma in 2050. A high birth rate and poor perspectives are the most influencing factors for the difficult social reality of this minority, which, not only in Hungary, is still at the very edge of society.

Until 2007, 13 native Hungarians had received a Nobel Prize.

Hungarians are quite innovative: Erno Rubik invented the Rubik’s cube, László Bíró the ballpoint pen and Albert Szent-Györgyi was the first to discover vitamin C – after extracting it from paprika.


Magyar, as Hungarians call their mother tongue, is spoken by the state's approximately 11 million inhabitants, as well as another 4 million people in its neighbouring countries (especially in Romania, which is home to the largest Hungarian diaspora).
Hungary Students of Arany Janos high school participating in the final event of the European Schools for a Living Planet 2010

Hungarian belongs to the Finno-Ugric language family, but its closest relatives are several languages spoken by only few in Siberia. Maybe, once upon a time, the Hungarians decided to emigrate from those cold northern places in order to warm up their limbs in the Hungarian spa oasis (the country counts 1,500 thermal springs).

“megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért” is one of the longest Hungarian words and means “because of your continuous pretending to be indesecratable”. But the language also knows shorter important words – at least for ERSTE Foundation – such as “méh” [meː] for “bee”.


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