People, Language & History
Like neighbouring countries, Hungary was part of the Celtic world, then the Roman Empire. Following the fall of Rome, the Huns settled in the plains of Pannonia and gave their name to Hungary.
- Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe. It was founded in 896, before France and Germany became separate entities, and before the unification of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
- Hungarian language is known as Magyar. It is the direct descendent of the language spoken by the Huns, and is therefore not an Indo-European language. It has only two related languages in Europe : Finnish (Suomi) and Estonian (Eesti keel).
- One third of the 15 million Hungarian speakers live outside Hungary, mostly in Romania, but also in all adjacent countries to Hungary.
- Despite the country's name and its language, DNA tests have revealed that central Asian genes represent only a tiny percentage of the Hungarian population.
Around 1000 CE, the Kingdom of Hungary was one of the largest states in Europe, bigger than France. Later, it became of the the two "eagle heads" of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
- Hungary was one of the first communist-era country to oppose the Soviet regime during the Cold War, notably with the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The 1986 Hungarian Grand Prix was the first Formula One race to take place behind the Iron Curtain. In 1989, Hungary was the first communist-block country to open its borders with Western Europe.
Society & Economy
In 1946, Hungary issued banknotes of a face value of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 pengo (one quintillion pengo) - the world's highest denomination ever.
- Hungary has the highest standard V.A.T. rate in the world (27%).
- According to EU statistics, Hungary the highest death rate by cancer in Europe, and the highest female suicide rate.
- As of 2010, Hungary had the lowest employment rate in the OECD, with only 55.4% of the population in employment.
Culture, Science & Sport
Hungarian inventions include the noiseless match (János Irinyi), Rubik's cube (Erno Rubik), and the krypton electric bulb (Imre Bródy).
- Several other inventions were made by Hungarians who fled the country prior to World War II, including holography (Dennis Gabor), the ballpoint pen (László Bíró), the theory of the hydrogen bomb (Edward Teller), and the BASIC programming language (John Kemeny, with Thomas E. Kurtz).
- Hungary has one of the most important thermal spring culture in Europe. The country boasts no less than 1,500 spas, typically featuring Roman, Greek and Turkish architecture. Some of the most sumptuous thermal resorts include the Széchenyi Medicinal Bath, Gellért Baths, Lukács Baths, and Margaret Island. Hungary also has 450 public baths.
- Hungary, like Austria, has a long tradition of classical music, although often blended with folkloric elements. Composers Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály or Franz Liszt were all Hungarian.
- As of 2007, 13 Hungarians had received a Nobel prize, i.e. more than Japan, China, India, Australia or Spain.
- Only five countries (USA, USSR, UK, France and Italy) have won more Summer Olympic gold medals won by Hungary in history. At the all time total medal count for Summer Olympic Games, Hungary reaches the 9th rank out of 211 participating nations, with a total of 448 medals.