Is Debrecen the new Budapest?
Index published a long and detailed report about the city of Debrecen – how it has been on the path of continuous development for years and how it does not seem to stop any time soon. Debrecen aspires to be a new alternative to the capital in order to make Hungary a less unicentric country.
Hungary is said to be a bipolar country: there is the capital and there is the rest of the country, a.k.a. the countryside. Budapest has been the cultural, economic, financial and, basically, all types of centres within the country since the Treaty of Trianon. Almost every kind of development has taken place in the capital, while the bigger cities of the countryside have been grossly neglected for decades.
This bipolar nature of the country is also expressed in the way we use our language: people “go up” to Budapest and they “go down” to the countryside.
Now, the time has come for Debrecen to try and change this bipolar nature of our country by becoming a good alternative to the capital.
Debrecen = development
Debrecen is the second biggest city in the country. However, it has a relatively low population, and low population is not good for the economic development of the city. There are many plans assembled on how to develop the city, and almost all of them contain the aim to increase the city’s population.
Within the next 20-30 years, Debrecen aims to increase its population to at least 250,000 (currently at 200,000), maybe up to 300,000. Debrecen aims to be in the top 20 Hungarian cities with the highest population.
In the last 3 years, more than 6,000 jobs were created in Debrecen, and the process is nowhere near the end. Huge companies entered the city, such as National Instruments, Continental, Krones AG and now BMW. The new BMW factory will be built on a field with the finest soil in the country, which made agricultural businessmen quite unhappy. However, BMW has a higher GDP value than any kind of soil in the country.
Debrecen currently has one industrial park which is completely full. Now, a new park is being built on a 500-hectare-land in order to accommodate the businesses. Huge companies keep coming to the city because Debrecen can offer all kinds of services to these corporations, making their lives easier.
What is the secret of Debrecen?
Debrecen has an incredibly good infrastructure. That is one of the keys to its huge development in recent years. Debrecen is basically the regional centre of the area. The city has a railway cargo base, not to mention that European destinations like Milan, Munich or London are so easy to reach from here that people come from Ukraine and Romania just to travel abroad.
There is a huge area across the border to which Debrecen is basically the economic, educational and cultural centre. In this respect, Debrecen can serve as a possible alternative for the capital, Budapest.
Another key to Debrecen’s development is its university which has a student population of over 30,000.
In 2017, the University of Debrecen established its Faculty of Mechatronics and Electrical Engineering, while in 2018, the new Institution of Economics and Business Development has started to run. The university aims to educate valuable professionals for the companies which decided to “migrate” to the city. Thus, the university will make sure that the corporations have enough manpower to stay up and running, boosting the city’s economy.
The third key to the city’s unstoppable development is the local government, which is keenly supported by the Hungarian government. It all comes down to politics. Hungary’s ruling political party, FIDESZ, has always been the most popular, most widely supported political party in the city. The Hungarian government is very ambitious concerning the future of Debrecen and helps the city’s development in any way possible.
All the city needs is a little boost in population and in its cultural life. Debrecen also has a shot at being chosen as the European Capital of Culture in 2023.
Featured image: Facebook.com/DebreceniVirágkarnevál