Six Hungarian towns – Budapest, Győr, Veszprém, Pécs, Szeged, and Debrecen – have been ranked on the list of Europe’s most cultural and creative cities. The ranking was carried out by the European Commission; the body awarded 30 towns from 190 European countries.
Budapest achieved outstanding results in the area of job creation in the creative sector – 87.3% – which is a remarkable percentage not only in its own category (population over 1,000,000), but it highly exceeds the 37% EU average as well. According to the report of Cultural and Creative Cities’ Monitor,
in the area of creative economy – namely, how creative industries contribute to the employment capacity of the city – Budapest (47.3%) also outperformed the EU average (34.5%).
As far as Győr is concerned, the city’s dynamic development and its innovative features have been emphasised, by which it has become one of the largest economic and industrial centres of Hungary. Besides several cultural events and festivals, they highlighted The Ballet Company and The National Theatre of Győr due to their outstanding role in the region.
In the case of Pécs, the city’s multi-ethnic and multicultural composition has been emphasised, which “opens the door” to non-EU Balkan countries. They acknowledged the city’s effort to protect the cultural values of minorities and its attitude towards refugees of the Balkan wars. Besides this, the city’s Early Christian monuments listed among UNESCO World Heritage Sites have been highlighted as well, along with the well-developed Zsolnay Cultural Quarter.
Szeged was described as a significant historical heritage and a university city with numerous cultural treasures.
Among several cultural festivals, the 85-year-old Szeged Open-Air Games has been pointed out as one of the most outstanding cultural scenes of Hungary.
Veszprém – designated as European Capital of Culture until 2023 – has been ranked on the list of cultural and creative cities for the first time. Several cultural institutions can be found in the city, including museums, art galleries, and theatres, as well as numerous world-famous music festivals, including VeszprémFest and Street Music Festival of Veszprém.
Debrecen was also ranked for the first time – described as one of the most important cultural centres of Hungary. Here, they highlighted the largest exhibition space of Hungary – MODEM Modern and Contemporary Arts Centre – and several cultural events, including the Béla Bartók International Choir Competition, Debrecen Flower Carnival, and Campus Festival.
According to nullahategy.hu, the report also revealed that within the cultural and creative sector, employment has grown particularly in Northern and Central-Eastern European cities.
On average, an annual growth of 12% has been experienced in Budapest (Hungary), Tallinn and Tartu (Estonia), Vilnius (Lithuania), Krakow and Wroclaw (Poland).
They pointed out that the cultural venues of the cities are perfectly accessible from the residential area – 30 minutes by walk, or only 5 minutes by bike. However, they also noted that future EU cohesion funds should promote further convergence of socio-economic and territorial cohesion by focusing on creative jobs, innovation, and transport connections. The latter areas experience the biggest deficiencies.
They also added that the listed settlements are characterised by prosperity; in the case of these cities, a positive correlation can be observed between cultural and creative indicators and the income level.