Hungary for more.

Varosliget Park in Budapest, Hungary, was created in the early 19th century. “Little City Forest,” as the name translates, was one of the world’s first public parks. In recent years, though, the place had gotten a little tired. So the Hungarian government decided a spruce-up was in order.

And what a sprucing it has become. In 2011, the government reimagined this park, right in the middle of Budapest, as the nation’s “museum quarter,” akin to Museum Island in Berlin. And it called on “starchitects” from all over the world to submit designs, among them Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Snohetta, and others. Winners include the architecture firm SANAA and Sou Fujimoto.

What began as a humble people’s park with thermal baths, a zoo and botanic garden, and a municipal circus will soon metamorphose into a cultural hub with the addition of the new National Gallery (design by Japan’s SANAA), the Museum of Ethnography (a bold design by Hungary’s NAPUR Architect), the House of Hungarian Music (by Sou Fujimoto), and the extensive restoration of the Museum of Fine Arts, which opened last October. Also here is the brand new National Museum Restoration and Storage Center (OMRRK), which will house 300,000 objects,100 conservators, and the newly established Central European Research Institute for Art History.

The restored Olof Palme House, a 19th-century kunsthalle in Varosliget that had fallen into disrepair, will reopen in late 2020 as an exhibition and events space. Originally built for the 1885 National General Exhibition to showcase fine art, the beautiful house was highly praised for its Zsolnay porcelain decorations. Extensions added to the original building have been demolished, the roof has been replaced, and the exquisite Zsolnay tiles have been restored. The house’s new name? Millennium Haza, Millennium House.

For information about a journey to Hungary, contact Mariana Tosic at or call 888-490-8008.


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