Hungary - Belgium 1922-2022

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The Hungarian Embassy in Brussels and the Liszt Institute Brussels celebrate the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Hungary and Belgium

On 21 February 2022, the centenary of Hungarian-Belgian diplomatic relations began with the inauguration of a commemorative plaque on the first building of the Hungarian Embassy. The commemorative plaque, located at 5 rue de Florence in the elegant district of Ixelles, was unveiled by Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Sophie Wilmes, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs, Foreign Trade and Federal Cultural Institutions.

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The Hungarian government decided to establish the first diplomatic mission in Brussels in 1922. Count Olivér Woracziczky, Embassy Counsellor Second Class, presented his credentials to the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs on 20 February 1922. This historical event can be considered as the beginning of the centenary.

From 21 February 2022 to 19 February 2023, the Hungarian Embassy in Brussels and the Liszt Institute Brussels are organising a series of events throughout the year. Cultural, scientific and sports diplomacy programmes will be presented in cooperation with the most important institutions in Belgium.

Among the events, the launch of a publication edited by the Embassy and a history book published by the Liszt Institute will be of particular importance. The publication and the book, edited in Hungarian-English and French-Dutch, present in a readable way the diplomatic events of the last hundred years and the links between the history of the two countries. In the spirit of international cooperation, the Belgian and Hungarian Posts will honour the centenary year by issuing an exclusive stamp each. A perfect example of this cooperation is the statue of Maneken Pis, one of Belgium's best-known symbols, which has been dressed in Hungarian clothing. The cooperation also extends to cinema and sport. Film buffs can discover Hungarian film classics through the Hungarian Focus, presented in collaboration with the Royal Belgian Cinematheque, CINEMATEK, and the exhibition "The Wide Angle of View - 120 Years of Hungarian Cinema", organised by the Liszt Institute. Amateur and professional athletes can discover Hungarian sports innovation through the Teqball programme.

In the centenary year, the organisers will also focus on regional programmes, in addition to the presence in Brussels. During the Antwerp-Hungary Cultural Dialogue, the public will be able to participate in exhibitions, concerts and book launches, as well as business meetings, professional round tables and online conferences.

The programmes aim to strengthen the long-standing bilateral relationship and to explore and exploit new partnerships and cooperation opportunities, in line with Hungary's foreign policy and economic objectives.

The Liszt Institute Brussels will publish photo and video content on the centenary year on its website and social media platforms.

Detailed presentation of priority programmes :

  •  The Hungarian Embassy in Brussels is publishing a publication illustrated with photographs and original documents covering the bilateral diplomatic events of the last 100 years, in 1000 copies and in four languages. The publication presents the most important diplomatic events since the opening of the Embassy.
  •  The Liszt Institute publishes Interconnections - Chapters of the Historical Relationship between Hungary and Belgium, a book in Hungarian-English and French-Dutch, which presents in a readable way the interconnections between the history of the two countries, from the conquest to the present day. On the occasion of the publication of this book of more than 100 pages, illustrated with photographs and documents, the author will give a lecture on the common historical links between the two countries, their most interesting turning points and their most interesting characters.
  •  In cooperation with the Hungarian Post and the Belgian BPost, exclusive and unique commemorative stamps have been produced for the centenary year, with the centenary logo.
  • One of the most famous tourist attractions in Brussels, the Manneken Pis statue, is dressed in Hungarian costume by the Liszt Institute and the Embassy. The costumes were created by the costume designers of the Hungarian Opera.
  • The Antwerp-Hungary cultural dialogue series focuses on an increased presence in Flanders. Presented in collaboration with various local partners, the series will include an exhibition in the synagogue entitled Build Me a Shelter, a Yiddish folk poetry concert and a book launch.
  • On 20 April 2022, the exhibition "120 Years of Hungarian Cinema" will open at the Liszt Institute Brussels, with the aim of giving a comprehensive overview of the past and present of Hungarian cinema and the film industry. The interactive exhibition invites visitors to a unique journey through time, from the birth of cinema to the present day, through the silent era and the invention of sound film. In parallel to the exhibition, a two-week screening series of classics from 120 years of Hungarian cinema will be launched at a ceremony at the Royal Belgian Film Archive in Brussels, CINEMATEK.
  • Belgium's largest Holocaust memorial museum, the Kazerne Dossin in Mechelen, will host the exhibition Missing Stories, a photographic documentation of Hungarian Jews living in New York by photographer Hermann Ildi. The historical moment that shook all of Europe, including Hungary and Belgium, reveals a dark chapter of history through shared wounds and common grievances, addressing the public through culture so that a similar catastrophe never happens again.
  • Between 1923-27 and 1946-1948, more than 20,000 Hungarian children arrived in Belgium as part of child rescue operations. The rescue operations gave the children the opportunity to escape from the history of their homeland for a longer or shorter period of time and, after being strengthened by their Belgian host families, to return to their families in Hungary. In a hybrid conference on this topic, Hungarian and Belgian researchers will discuss the historical aspects.
  • The history of Belgium and Hungary, as well as that of their predecessors, has been intertwined over the past thousand years. The hybrid conference planned by the Liszt Institute aims to explore the main historical turning points and other lesser known links. The researchers involved from the University of Antwerp are : Luc Duerloo, Gerrit Verhoeven and Bruno Farinelli, historians. From the Budapest Centre for Humanities Studies, Ferenc Tóth, Tibor Martí and Tibor Monostori, historians, will join the conference online. The conference in English will also be available on the Institute's social media platforms, thus reaching the widest possible audience.