How well do you know your neighbors? We looked into the Alpine Republic’s special relationship with each of them

Whenever Austria and Hungary play each other in soccer, sooner or later someone cracks the old joke: “Today it’s Austria – Hungary!”, “Oh, and who’s on the other side?”.

Yes there was a time long past when Austria and Hungary were two realms joined in Habsburg rule, sharing an emperor and a coat of arms. Because of their shared history, as with any next-door neighbor, Austria and Hungary’s relationship has not always been without tension. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, diplomatic and trade relations improved greatly, while the growing authoritarianism of Viktor Orbán has created a new set of challenges.

Peter Várnai, a 23-year-old student from Hungary, came here to study art at the University of Applied Arts. His friends had recommended Vienna to him because it is “a city of progress,” as they called it. “It’s a place where you get up in the morning and think to yourself, ‘I can make a difference today.’ It has to do with the feel of the city.”

More than 70,000 people of Hungarian heritage currently live in Austria, enriching not only the local cuisine, but also the language. The Viennese word Mulatschak, which roughly translated means (boozy) celebration, comes from the Hungarian word mulatság. Just right for the next time Austria and Hungary face each other on the pitch.

Border with Austria: 402 km, bordering Burgenland

Population: 9,830,000 people

Size: 93,030 km2

Trade Volume with Hungary:

Imports from Hungary: €3.5 billion

Exports to Hungary: €4.4 billion

Balance: €861 million

Fun fact:

The Rubik’s cube was invented by Hungarian professor Ernő Rubik.

Click here to read up on Austria’s next neighbor.

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is an Austrian-American born in Tyrol, currently living in Vienna. After dabbling in Austrian Law she is currently studying Journalism and Media Management at the University of Applied Sciences FH WKW.
  • Hallo Corinna, I am reading this series and find it very useful for foreigners to get a quick grasp of these countries. And entertaining as well.

    I am Hungarian, grew up near the Slovak border, lived in Vienna and in Zürich and now in Czechia. Lived in other parts of Europe too, but love this region 🙂

    About this Hungary piece: it sounds rather like a biased comparison, if favor of Austria and not really writing about Hungary itself.

    Consider these 3 points in the short article:
    1. Instead of the sometimes existing tensions between Austria and Hungary during the centuries, you could have mentioned (or at least, added) that today the two countries are getting closer again.

    2. Bashing Orbán with such words is not only uninformed and unfair, but – as you have now Sebastian Kurz following Orbán’s and Hungary’s way in a few essential matters and building a strong relationship with the Hungarian government, not too wise…

    3. It escapes my mind why do you let someone talk about Vienna and not Budapest in a Hungary article – you don’t even mention with one word that Budapest is the capital of Hungary! One gets the information from your lines that it is Vienna.

    Plus, (for those who do know that Vienna is NOT in Hungary) the impression that Vienna is soooo much better than the neighbor.

    For example, you could have recommended Budapest as a wonderful day trip.

    4. “Mulatság” has a few meanings. The one you are referring to and which is the most commonly used, has music and dancing more importantly than drinking. Kids can have mulatság, too. And I know a couple of people who never or almost never drink alcohol, but are the center of any mulatság where one can dance 🙂

    I would have loved to share this article, but for these points, rather not. Elnézést.