Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Speech at the opening of the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Ljubljana

24 January 2016

22 January 2016, Ljubljana

Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Excellency, Mr. Prime Minister.

Hungarians have a nightmare. We are visited by the Lord of History, who asks us a strange question: “Who are you and why are you here?” We just stand there unable to answer, whereupon he takes out a huge pen and strikes our names from the book in which all the nations are recorded. Yet this nightmare is an inspiring one, because it provides the answer to the question of why we spend so much money on such seemingly superfluous things as cultural institutes. It is this nightmare that explains why the monsters disguised as humans and commonly known as ministers of finance are always moved when it comes to cultural expenditure. I think Slovenians understand the importance of this question. Someone from Germany, France or Spain wouldn’t understand what we are talking about here. Because in reply to that question from the Lord of History on who they are and why they are here, each would simply reply: “We are, we always have been and we always will be the English, or the Germans or the French”. But a nation of two to three million or ten to eleven million cannot get away with an answer like that. For us there is only one acceptable reply: “If we didn’t exist, the world would be a much poorer place”. But this statement would have to be proven there and then at this nightmare hearing. And what evidence could we present? We could mention our language: if we Slovenians and Hungarians were to disappear from the face of the earth, the world would be poorer by at least two languages. We Hungarians could point to our Parliament building or perhaps to espresso (the coffee machine was, after all, invented by Ferenc Illy), or perhaps to the goal Ferenc Puskás scored against England at Wembley. In other words, what we would say in reply to the Lord of History is that there are certain things which only we Hungarians are capable of creating; there are things which only the Hungarians see the way they do. This is why we cannot entrust our culture, our language and the management of our culture solely to the volatile mood of the market. One of the obligations of our national existence is that every Hungarian generation must be capable of replying to this question.

And not only should we Hungarians be capable of answering the question of why there are Hungarians in the world; the people of Ljubljana, for instance, should also be able to. But they will only be able to rush to our defence as witnesses at this hearing if there exists a cultural institute in which we can show them why the world would be a poorer place without the Hungarians. And when the evidence is weighed up the Slovenians too will have a vote. This is why we feel that it is a natural thing – and one to be encouraged – that Slovenia should also open a cultural centre in Hungary. Because, after all, we are brothers and sisters in this high or deep dimension: we need reasons, explanations and proof for our existence. From a Hungarian perspective, today is especially suitable for expressing these ideas, because today in Hungary we celebrate the Day of Hungarian Culture. To some extent this substantiates what I have been talking about, because the Slovenians’ day of culture is also approaching soon and, if I understand correctly, this means that each of our nations has chosen as its national day of culture a day that is in some way connected to the composer of its national anthem.

So it is clear that the question isn’t why we are opening a cultural institute in Ljubljana, but why we haven’t opened one until now. And the answer to this question is that we were flat broke, we were teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and were happy to have survived the crisis, which sentenced everyone to suffering in recent years. But now that we are in better shape we have the energy, the attention and the money to focus on ensuring that Hungarians can go to sleep at night knowing that if they are asked this question in their nightmares they will have a clear and straightforward reply.

Welcome to the Ljubljana house of Hungarian culture! Come and visit us and learn more about Hungarian culture. We are proud to have so much to show you. I would like to express my special thanks to the Prime Minister for his generosity in honouring us with his presence at this event, which is so important to us. I wish great success to the Institute’s administrators, and many interesting experiences to its visitors.

Thank you for your attention.

« vissza

On Saturday morning, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán received President of Poland Andrzej Duda in Parliament.
In answer to questions from foreign journalists in Brussels on Friday, the second day of the summit of the European Union’s heads of state and government, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that Hungary does not like double standards, and therefore does not support them being applied to anyone, including Poland.
At a press conference in Brussels on Friday afternoon, in which he evaluated the agreement between the European Union and Turkey, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that Hungarian diplomacy has achieved its goals.
  • Viktor Orbán, 52
  • Lawyer, graduated at Eötvös Loránd University and studied at Pembroke College, Oxford
  • Married to Anikó Lévai
  • They have five children: Ráhel, Gáspár, Sára, Róza, Flóra
  • Chairman of FIDESZ, vice-chairman of the European People's Party


© Minden jog fenntartva, 2010