nr 26 (2017)
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Hungary

Stanisław Vincenz used to say that the Danube river was a gate to Hungary. Horace wrote that it was as deep as the sea. The Danube unites Hungary, it is the country’s spine and bloodstream. When it flows beyond Hungary, it becomes its border. And in fact, every border is fluid, it both divides and unites, it is an end and a meeting point.

The Danube and Hungary are similar. At the beginning of the 20th century Endre Ady called Hungary the ferry country, ceaselessly drifting between the shores of the East and the West. This uncertainty as to which shore to land upon seemed to Ady characteristic of the Hungarian soul. László Németh wanted to see Hungary as a bridge country, not a rickety boat, thrown up across a river, connecting the shores and allowing people to freely cross it. He insistently explained to his country-men that despite their feelings of alienation in Europe and dreams of returning to their Asiatic origins, they could draw strength from their neighbours, because all of us – Central Europeans – are connected through “the bond of fate, as milk drawn from the same breast”.
That is why in this issue we examine our “milk siblings”. We travel along the Danube’s current, we stop at the Hungarian metropolis – Budapest – and we visit the country’s provinces. Above all, we ask the questions: who are the Hungarians and how do they position themselves in Central Europe?

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