Hungary Travel Information

Photo Hungary was part of the polyglot Austro-Hungarian Empire, which collapsed during World War I. The country fell under communist rule following World War II. In 1956, a revolt and announced withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact were met with a massive military intervention by Moscow. In the more open GORBACHEV years, Hungary led the movement to dissolve the Warsaw Pact and steadily shifted toward multiparty democracy and a market-oriented economy. Following the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Hungary developed close political and economic ties to Western Europe. It joined NATO in 1999 and is a frontrunner in a future expansion of the EU.

HISTORY

Hungary has long been an integral part of Europe. It converted to Western Christianity before AD 1000. Although Hungary was a monarchy for nearly 1,000 years, its constitutional system preceded by several centuries the establishment of Western-style governments in other European countries. Following the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy (1867-1918) at the end of World War I, Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory and nearly as much of its population. It experienced a brief but bloody communist dictatorship and counterrevolution in 1919, followed by a 25-year regency under Adm. Miklos Horthy. Although Hungary fought in most of World War II as a German ally, it fell under German military occupation following an unsuccessful attempt to switch sides on October 15,1944. In January 1945, a provisional government concluded an armistice with the Soviet Union and established the Allied Control Commission, under which Soviet, American, and British representatives held complete sovereignty over the country. The Commission's chairman was a member of Stalin's inner circle and exercised absolute control.

ECONOMY

The Hungarian economy prior to WWII was primarily oriented toward agriculture and small-scale manufacturing. Hungary's strategic position in Europe and its relative lack of natural resources also have dictated a traditional reliance on foreign trade. In the early 1950s, the communist government forced rapid industrialization after the standard Stalinist pattern in an effort to encourage a more self-sufficient economy. Most economic activity was conducted by state-owned enterprises or cooperatives and state farms. In 1968, Stalinist self-sufficiency was replaced by the "New Economic Mechanism," which reopened Hungary to foreign trade, gave limited freedom to the workings of the market, and allowed a limited number of small businesses to operate in the services sector.

U.S.-HUNGARIAN RELATIONS

Relations between the United States and Hungary following World War II were affected by the Soviet armed forces' occupation of Hungary. Full diplomatic relations were established at the legation level on October 12, 1945, before the signing of the Hungarian peace treaty on February 10, 1947. After the communist takeover in 1947-48, relations with Hungary became increasingly strained by the nationalization of U.S.-owned property, unacceptable treatment of U.S. citizens and personnel, and restrictions on the operations of the American legation. Though relations deteriorated further after the suppression of the Hungarian national uprising in 1956, an exchange of ambassadors in 1966 inaugurated an era of improving relations. In 1972, a consular convention was concluded to provide consular protection to U.S. citizens in Hungary.

Important: Travel to Hungary may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Hungary visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: none
Capital city: Budapest
Area: 93,028 sq km
Population: 9,958,453
Ethnic groups: Hungarian 92.3%, Roma 1.9%, other or unknown 5.8%
Languages: Hungarian 93.6%, other or unspecified 6.4%
Religions: Roman Catholic 51.9%, Calvinist 15.9%, Lutheran 3%, Greek Catholic 2.6%, other Christian 1%, other or unspecified 11.1%, unaffiliated 14.5%
Government: parliamentary democracy
Chief of State: Janos ADER
Head of Government: Prime Minister Viktor ORBAN
GDP: 195.6 billion
GDP per captia: 19,600
Annual growth rate: 1.7%
Inflation: 3.9%
Agriculture: wheat, corn, sunflower seed, potatoes, sugar beets
Major industries: mining, metallurgy, construction materials, processed foods, textiles, chemicals
Natural resources: bauxite, coal, natural gas, fertile soils, arable land
Location: Central Europe, northwest of Romania
Trade Partners - exports: Germany 25%, Romania 5.7%, Austria 5.4%, Slovakia 5.4%, Italy 5%, France 4.8%, UK 4.6%
Trade Partners - imports: Germany 24.7%, Russia 8.6%, China 8.4%, Austria 6.2%, Slovakia 4.9%, Poland 4.7%, Netherlands 4.4%, Italy 4.3%