Budapest’s new leadership is committed to protecting the city’s cultural diversity “at a time when the government is tempted to use culture for its own purposes”, Mayor Gergely Karácsony told a press conference on Wednesday.
At his press conference, marking Culture Day, Karácsony said that a “paradigm shift” was taking place at City Hall itself: the complex now houses not only the activities of the municipality, politicians and administrators, but local residents, too, noting that
the Budapest Galéria art gallery will move from the Bálna (Whale) building into one of the City Hall’s side wings, while the Merlin Theatre situated in the complex will be renovated.
Insisting that “the government is intent on occupying all areas of culture”, Karácsony said “city leaders bear great responsibility for protecting cultural freedom”. Decision-makers, he added, should “open up opportunities for contemporary culture” rather than setting rules.
Deputy mayor Erzsébet Gy. Németh in charge of cultural policymaking said cultural diversity and the freedom of access to culture was “an important part of a European identity”.
Preserving cultural traditions and freedoms and allowing for the development of contemporary culture simultaneously was crucial for the nation’s survival, she added.
Gy. Németh also said “governments that use culture for their own representation build a past for themselves rather than building a future for the country.”
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