We are a small country of about 10 million, settling in the Carpathian Basin over 1000 years ago, after several thousand years roaming the Eurasian steppes. We form an unique linguistic and ethnic island in the middle of Europe that has had its fair share of ups and downs throughout our history. Our people have always fascinated the rest of Europe, inspiring mixed feelings of awe, fear, admiration and fondness. We don’t shy away from a fight or an argument, and definitely aren’t scared of controversy. We can be very persuasive and charming yet formidable.
We have produced legendary warriors and hospitality, excellent scientists and inventors. We were pioneers in religious freedom, the 1568 Parliament of Torda granting freedom of religion for all nations – hundreds of years before it became the norm in the rest of Europe. We have dominated some, and resisted the domination of others, from the mighty army of King Matthias to the heroic conduct of Pál Teleki and the tragic inspiration of 1956. We gave the world Pál Erdős’s mathematical genius, Charles Simonyi’s Hungarian notation in programming, László Bíró’s eponymous writing implement, and the brilliant Judit Polgár’s world dominating chess. Along with Ernő Rubik’s magic cube, Albert Szentgyörgyi’s invention of vitamin C and many more. And who can forget Solti’s imperious conducting, Béla Bartók’s transformative compositions or Baroness Orczy’s dashing Scarlet Pimpernel? We are everywhere.
Throughout the same period in history great empires came, thrived and collapsed. Hungary and Hungarians are still here with an unbroken spirit. Wherever we live in the world, whatever we do or whatever our opinion might be on certain matters, we stand together as one and celebrate our history, achievments, and cultural and linguistic identity. We, proud and grateful Hungarian guests of the United Kingdom bring this heritage with us for the benefit of all.
“A haza nem csak föld és hegy, halott hősök, anyanyelv, őseink csontjai a temetőkben, kenyér és táj, nem. A haza te vagy, szőröstül-bőröstül, testi és lelki mivoltodban; ő szült, ő temet el, őt éled és fejezed ki, mind a nyomorult, nagyszerű, lángoló és unalmas pillanatokban, melyek összessége életed alkotja. S életed a haza életének egy pillanata is.” Márai Sándor
London, 4 June 2020