The Budapest Times is unrivalled among English-language print publications in the capital for its coverage of the week’s most important national stories, whether they be economic, political, cultural, sporting or among the hundreds of other happenings that go on daily in a major European city. Here, in one concise package, we present some of the important and fascinating news developments of the past seven days.
Golden Hart photographer wins contest
One of the most prestigious nature photography contests of the region, GDF SUEZ-NaturArt, has been won by Hungary’s Csaba Daróczi for the third time. Winners of the various categories were announced at the Natural History Museum, District VIII, on Tuesday, where an exhibition of the best works was also opened until 5 January. Pictured is Daróczi’s Golden Hart, which also won the category “Animals face-to-face”.
Rembrandt, Vermeer shine in major Dutch art exhibition
Twenty pieces by Rembrandt including his earliest known painting and one of his last self-portraits and three paintings by Vermeer are the highlight of a new exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest. Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age presents 178 works by over 100 painters and is the first such comprehensive exhibition showing Dutch art from the 1600s in Hungary. The central section is devoted to Rembrandt and presents his earliest painting, the Spectacles Sellers from 1623, on loan from Leiden, his home town. One section shows three significant paintings by Jan Vermeer from the artist’s oeuvre of only 38 pieces. The Astronomer from the Louvre, The Geographer from Frankfurt and Allegory of the Catholic Faith from the Metropolitan Museum of New York are included. The other sections feature paintings by Jan Steen, Dirck Hals, Willem Kalf, Hendrick Vroom, Judith Leyster and Willem Buytewech, among others. The exhibition is composed of the most outstanding pieces of the museum’s own Dutch collection, complemented by more than 130 paintings from 50 European and American public and private collections. The paintings on loan have been insured for EUR 1 billion. The exhibition runs until 15 February.
Hungary, Romania fined after soccer fracas
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has levied fines for the rowdy behaviour of fans at a European Championship qualifying match between Hungary and Romania in Bucharest in October. UEFA fined the Hungarian soccer federation EUR 30,000 and the Romanian federation EUR 32,000 and ordered that viewing sectors must be shut down at upcoming matches in Budapest and Bucharest. About 2,000 Hungarians were at the game and fans pelted each other with firecrackers and seats. Law enforcement authorities had to empty a sector occupied by Romanians.
Public TV to launch youth, sport channels
Hungary’s public media will launch two channels next year, one targeting viewers aged 16-35 years and the other broadcasting sport, Hungarian Television (MTV) and the Media Service Support and Asset Management Fund (MTVA) have announced. Youth channel Petőfi TV will focus on live events, festivals, concerts and other entertainment, plus films and documentaries that represent a new approach in style, rhythm and atmosphere in the public media, a statement said. Sport channel M4 will aim to compete with commercial sport channels. A mission of M4 will be to present events linked to the 16 branches of sport that receive higher than average central support in Hungary. MTVA launched its M3 “retro” channel last December, broadcasting films from Hungarian Television’s archives.
New church named for tortured priest
A newly built Catholic church has opened in Budapest’s District XI, named after Blessed Zoltán Meszlényi, a Catholic priest who died after being tortured by communist security forces in 1951. A holy mass was celebrated by Cardinal Péter Erdő with 32 other priests last Friday. Meszlényi’s beatification was started by Erdő in 2004 and Pope Benedict approved in 2009.
Tax authority bosses admit to US ban
Ildikó Vida, the president of the National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV), has admitted that she and a number of her colleagues have been banned from the United States due to corruption allegations. Vida told right-leaning daily Magyar Nemzet this week that she will file criminal and civil charges for slander to fight the attacks on her and her office. Asked about stepping down, she said this would be equivalent to admitting guilt. Only a week before the confession NAV denied that its president, deputy presidents or senior officials were involved in the US ban. NAV had said it was “unacceptable that some handle remarks and suggestions lacking any foundation as facts and use them to hinder the office’s operation and ruin tax morals”. Several officials have been reported in the media recently as persons implicated in the US entry ban against six Hungarians. US Chargé d’affaires André Goodfriend said it was against US law to reveal the names but he told public television M1 that government members were implicated in corruption, according to the US government.
Study: 55% want to live abroad
Some 55% of Hungarians surveyed by recruitment agency profession.hu said they would like to live abroad, but only 21% said they were actively seeking work outside Hungary. Profession.hu was the Hungarian partner in a global survey dubbed Decoding Global Talent prepared by Boston Consulting Group and The Network, interviewing 200,000 people.
Fischer to conduct Berlin Wall concert
The German government has commissioned Hungarian conductor Iván Fischer, who is music director and chief conductor of both the Berlin Konzerthaus and Budapest Festival Orchestra, to programme and conduct a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s collapse. The event in the Konzerthaus’ main hall this Sunday is scheduled to be attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck, and addressed by European Parliament President Martin Schulz. Guests will include former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and former Hungarian prime minister Miklós Németh.