In 2023, we celebrate the 150th birthday of Budapest. However, since the city’s historical past dates back almost two thousand years, the 150th anniversary is not about the foundation, but the unification of the three historical parts, Buda, Pest, and Óbuda.
On its 150th birthday, Budapest intends to present and celebrate the historical experience that its successful periods have always been those when groups of people living here successfully cooperated with each other. During the anniversary, not only do we pay tribute to the memory of our city-unifying predecessors, but we also have an opportunity to think about how our descendants will feel at home in major cities in the next century and a half.
Cities used to surround themselves with walls to protect their values. Today, however, we stand up for our principles and values by breaking these walls down and building bridges instead. A symbol of this is the Budapest Chain Bridge – being renovated for the 150th anniversary – over the river Danube which runs through the city. We also build bridges in a figurative sense: out of acceptance and openness, between people, between those living in Budapest and those who visit our city. This is served by Budapest’s diverse and eternally pulsating cultural life, the constant festival atmosphere, as well as the concerts of the world-famous Budapest Festival Orchestra. We build on our traditions which make Budapest a special and unique place in Europe, such as the city’s specific café culture and its role as a unique spa capital. In Budapest, you can experience the exciting vibrancy of a metropolis and the proximity of natural values simultaneously.
And then what does it mean to be a “Budapester”? The 150-year history of the capital is the story of its people’s connection to themselves and their city. People inhabit Hungary’s capital in different ways: we live here with different desires, dreams and emotions, and Budapest is the city that gives way to what we desire and so that what we dream can come true. Budapest represents the opportunity, but also the responsibility, to become who we want to be. Budapest is a city of self-expression and free choice of identity.
This is why Budapest is constantly changing and at the same time, still resembles itself. 150 years ago, the citizens of the three districts of Pest, Buda and Óbuda began to assemble the city from its parts. And this 150-year-old work is still ongoing: the people of Budapest reunite their city every single day. It is their achievement that Budapest is one of the fastest developing metropolises in Europe and the true capital of the Hungarian nation.
Mayor of Budapest