A small Project in the cultural Domain between Hungary and Switzerland

Article, 17.01.2013

The first events in connection with the partnership project entitled “Swiss-Hungarian Civil Cultural Days” took place in Bern and in Bolligen in mid-December 2012. The project, which unfolded within the scope of the Swiss Enlargement Contribution, was co-financed by Switzerland to the tune of some CHF 60,000, the objective being to promote tourism and cultural exchange between Hungary and Switzerland, in particular between the cities of Eger and Bern. Launched on 1 September 2012, the project is scheduled to last for one year.

Niki Donka and Gábor Várhegyi of the Pannónia Singers at the Advent Concert on 14 December 2012
Advent Concert held in Bern’s Heiliggeistkirche on 14 December 2012 © DEZA

According to Ms. Andrea Szücs, President of the Hungarian Association in Bern, the image of Hungary in Switzerland is not bad, even though tourism and cultural exchange still remain vested with huge, untapped potential, in this particular case with respect to the still largely unknown city of Eger. This type of partnership is beneficial not only for the Hungarian partner, but also for Bern which is thereby enabled to make itself better known in Hungary.

When the Hungarian foundation “Pannónia Singers” in Eger contacted the Hungarian Association in Bern, the positive reaction was immediate. The Association, founded in 1993 and boasting a membership of some 140 persons, was all ears when presented with the possibility of creating a touristic link between the Hungarian city of Eger and the city of Bern. The exchange transpires in the form of cultural events designed to enhance relations between the two cities and to promote reciprocal potential in the domain of tourism.

The first of the three cultural events planned for Switzerland was the Advent Concert held in Bern’s Heiliggeistkirche on 14 December 2012. In addition, a charity ball took place on 15 December, at which the Hungarian city of Eger was presented and the guests treated to the culinary delights of specialities personally prepared by a renowned master chef from Hungary. The second part of the project is to take place in April 2013 in the form of a small cultural event in Bern, while the third event is planned for the summer of 2013 in the city of Eger. The guests from Switzerland will include not only representatives of Bern’s Hungarian Association, but also a group of students from the Köniz school of music. In Eger, meetings are being planned with the municipal government and the local tourist association. The project will finally be crowned by an audio-visual publication on the two cities. Once the project has been concluded, both partners are already eager to find ways to continue their cooperation in the future.

By December 2012, more than 30 small projects in the areas of culture, the environment, professional training, and the social domain had been selected for co-financing within the scope of the partnership fund in Hungary, not to mention partnership projects between cities and communes. Project proposals can still be made, given that the deadline for submission for financing from the partnership fund will run until the end of March 2013. Estimation is that a total of some 45 small projects will be co-financed and implemented by the fund for an overall budget of approx. CHF 4 million.