Abbreviated as HU by ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Hungary is a landlocked country in south-eastern Europe. It is located in the Pannonian Basin and mainly includes the Hungarian lowlands. Theiss and Danube are the main rivers. Lake Balaton is one of the country’s tourist attractions.
The climate of Hungary is temperate continental with partly Atlantic and partly Mediterranean influences.
Around 97% of the residents are Magyars, a people belonging to the Finnish-Ugric language group. Two thirds of Hungarians live in cities. Budapest is the largest urban agglomeration.
Hungary and its economic development are shaped by the political developments after the end of the Second World War. Since the withdrawal of the Soviet troops, Hungary has successfully opened up to the west. The change from a socialist planned economy to a free market economy was essentially successful. The development from an agricultural country to an industrialized state is advancing.
In the north Hungary borders on Slovakia, in the northeast on Ukraine. The eastern neighbor of Hungary is Romania. Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia join the country in the south. In the west, Austria is Hungary’s neighbor (Fig. 1). The provincial capital Budapest is located on the Danube.
Hungary lies mostly in the Pannonian Basin.
It mainly includes the Hungarian lowlands, which extend west and east of the Danube. The Hungarian Central Uplands divides the lowland into the Small Hungarian Lowland, the so-called Kisalföld, and the Great Hungarian Lowland, the Alföld, in the east and south of the country.
The steppe-like landscape of the Puszta, which formerly occupied large parts of the Great Hungarian Lowlands, has disappeared with the exception of a few remains.
In the west on the border with Austria, Hungary has a share in the foothills of the Alps. The highest mountain here is the Kékes with 1015 m.
The country’s main river is the Danube, which flows through Hungary over a length of around 420 km. The river is navigable along its entire length. The most important Hungarian tributaries of the Danube are the Raab and Tisza.
The Balaton (Balaton) is next to the capital Budapest to the main tourist attractions of the country.
The Balaton is by far the largest lake in Hungary. Its area (600 km²) is roughly the same as that of Lake Constance (572 km²). It is often referred to as the “Hungarian Sea”. The Balaton is, however, quite narrow with only 6 to 14 km width. Since the lake is only three meters deep on average and warms up quickly, its water temperature can be up to 28 °C in summer.
Climate / vegetation
Hungary has a temperate continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. The continental influences increase from west to east. In addition, there is Hungary’s protected basin location between the Alps, Carpathians and the Dinaric Mountains, which manifests itself in higher temperatures (Fig. 4).
The rainfall, however, is lower. With only 500 mm of precipitation, the eastern Alföld is much drier than the western part, so that periods of drought occur in summer.
In the south of the country, Mediterranean influences are already noticeable.
Hungary is a poor forest country. Less than a fifth of the country is forested. The western part of the country with its hilly and low mountain ranges is more forested than the east.
Important data about the country
|105 residents / km²
|Growth of population:
|-0.5% / year
|Form of government:
|Roman Catholic 64%
|temperate continental climate
|Arable land 57%, pasture land 13%, forest 18%
(share of employees)
|Agriculture 6.2%, industry 34.1%, services 59.7%
|Machines, vehicles, food, textiles, grain, wine
|Gross domestic product:
|$ 82,732 million (2003)
|Gross National Product:
|US $ 6,350 / residents (2003)
Due to the political developments of the last decades, the entire economy of Hungary is in the process of restructuring. Since Hungary already had a fairly liberal economic system in the socialist era, the transition from a socialist planned economy to a free market economy has been rapid since 1989. As a result, Hungary was already an attractive country for private foreign investors to invest in in the mid-1990’s.
Around 70% of the country’s area is used for agriculture. Hungary has the highest proportion of agricultural land among the European territorial states.
About half of the usable area is used for arable farming. Wheat, maize, barley and sunflowers thrive mainly on the fertile black earth soils in the Puszta.
The Puszta was once a desolate grassland, created by forest clearing, (Slavic: pustina) and only usable as pastureland. But already 200 years ago humans began to convert the puszta into arable land. Unmistakable fields with an extensive network of canals and reservoirs for irrigation characterize the image of the country in the Hungarian lowlands between the Danube and Tisza today.
Viticulture has a long tradition since Roman times. The Tokaj wines are famous.
Despite its high level of productivity, the importance of the agricultural sector for the Hungarian economy as a whole is steadily declining.
At 61%, industry has the largest share of GDP. It mainly focuses on the metropolitan area around Budapest. Heavy industry in particular, with steel and ironworks, is located here, along with electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, which together generate a quarter of the country’s export revenues. In addition to food and luxury goods, other traditional export products from Hungary include textiles and shoes. The Paks nuclear power plant is located south of Budapest on the Danube.
Until 1989 the Soviet Union was the main trading partner. Today it is Germany and other EU countries as well as the states of the CIS.
The tourism is an important source of foreign currency.
The recent history of Hungary is very eventful. At the end of the Second World War, Hungary was occupied by Soviet troops. As in the other Eastern European countries liberated from the Soviet Union, a socialist or communist regime was installed in Hungary and the one-party system was introduced. In 1949 Hungary declared itself a People’s Republic.
The strict Stalinist rule in the country led to a popular uprising on October 23, 1956. That could only be put down by the intervention of the Soviet armed forces. Almost 200,000 Hungarians had to flee abroad as a result.
In the 1980’s Gorbachev’s reform policy in the Soviet Union also accelerated the liberalization of society in Hungary. In 1989 the parliament changed the state name. Hungary has been a democratic republic since then. In May of the same year, Hungary began opening the border to Austria, which enabled numerous citizens of the former GDR to travel to the West. That was an important first step in the collapse of the socialist system.
After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops in 1991, Hungary came closer to Western Europe. The successful transition to a free market economy, which was combined with far-reaching economic reforms, was an important prerequisite for Hungary to join the group of Eastern European EU candidates. In addition, Hungary became a member of NATO in 1999 and joined the EU in 2004.