Tijana Stepanovic
Advisor - Russia | Hungary | Poland
t.stepanovic [at] dutchculture.nl

What’s going on in Hungary? A report on Hungary’s Arts & Culture scene

What’s going on in Hungary? A report on Hungary’s Arts & Culture scene

'Systematic Suppression: Hungary’s Arts & Culture in Crisis' is a recent report by the Artistic Freedom Initiative (AFI).
By Tijana Stepanovic

In recent years, authoritarianism and populism have infiltrated governments across Central and Eastern Europe. We are witnessing how democracy is being dismantled and the rights and liberties of individuals are undermined. But how is this happening, exactly? What are the consequences for the local cultural scenes? And how does it affect the international art community, especially artists and cultural workers aspiring to work in Central and Eastern Europe?

If you wish to have a better understanding of the situation on the ground, we recommend reading Systematic Suppression: Hungary’s Arts & Culture in Crisis, a report by the Artistic Freedom Initiative (AFI). It offers an in-depth analysis of the strategy of the Hungarian government to systematically erode democratic processes and assert control over Hungary’s cultural sector. We travel through the past 12 years of the Orbán government’s efforts to expand government control over the arts. The main ingredients are constitutional and legislative changes, bureaucratic intrusion, and media control. Readers can learn about the laws, policies, practices and events that have shaped and are shaping the artistic environment in Hungary. Or if you are more interested in personal stories, then you can read about the actual experiences of 8 arts and cultural workers in Hungary.

The report also formulates recommendations. Among others, it calls on the international art community to create platforms and possibilities for exchange between Hungarian arts organisations and their counterparts internationally, as well as to provide the necessary funding. Hungary has a huge and inspiring art scene that is critical and open to international exchange.

As of 2021, it is one of the new focal countries in the international cultural policy 2021-2024 of the Netherlands. This status means that more attention and more financial resources are available to support collaboration between the Netherlands and Hungary. In June 2022, DutchCulture is organising a public event in Amsterdam featuring Hungarian art professionals. We will keep you posted about the event.

Information & advice

Are you interested in opportunities for cultural exchange with Hungary? Feel free to contact our advisor Tijana Stepanovic with your questions. She can inform you about the latest developments in the country, relevant contacts, and cultural venues. You can also read our country page Hungary for more information.

Did you find this information useful?