Budapest: European Metropolis – 20 Years in the EU

Karácsony Gergely

Gergely Karácsony, Mayor of Budapest

Budapest didn't become an exciting, vibrant European metropolis upon joining the EU, as it has been one of the continent's gems almost since its inception. Nevertheless, in May 2004, when Hungary joined the European Union, Budapest also found its homecoming.

Over the past twenty years, our beautiful capital has become a city of diversity, multiculturalism, openness, and acceptance. It has become the city where, throughout Hungarian history, uprisings and revolutions fought for freedom, and now it has become the home of freedom itself.

Freedom certainly entails the freedom of culture, and perhaps nothing symbolizes it as convincingly as the Budapest Spring Festival, which has represented the highest quality for over four decades, bringing together arts and artists with discerning audiences. The Budapest Spring Festival, as before, this year also showcases the treasures of Hungarian culture to the world while bringing to Hungary an exciting cross-section of world culture.

However, it is important to recognize that culture can only fulfill its role in society if it is widely accessible. That’s why the organizers of this year’s festival have decided to schedule significant outdoor events around the anniversary of EU accession on 1 May  – coordinated with other festivities – ensuring substantial public presence, so that the rich cultural offerings are not just a privilege of a narrow elite.

The 2024 festival is not only for everyone but also about everyone. The bold, interactive exploration of issues that concern us all and the engaging treatment of problems that weave through all our lives promise exciting and meaningful programmes.

Wishing everyone a great time!

Gergely Karácsony
Mayor of Budapest