Publication date

April 23, 2020

We are pleased to welcome Budapest back into our network.

Everybody knows Budapest, the capital of Hungary, where the Danube splits in two, home to a gigantic building, the “Hungarian Parliament” and renowned for its famous thermal baths.

Did you know that Budapest

has one of the world’s first district heating systems?

Europe’s second, the world’s third-largest parliamentary building is located in Budapest. The 18.000m2 building was constructed between 1885 and 1904. But you cannot see any chimneys on this neo-gothic building! As it was neither aesthetic nor possible logistically to deliver coal to the building every day, its heating was resolved by unifying several distant buildings. This parliament has a unique steam heating system, that saves energy and applies several heat exchangers.

… was a pioneer in the remunicipalisation of its drinking water?

After the 1990s, the Budapest water company operated through public-private partnerships, but twenty years later, after long negotiations, the city regained control and now owns almost 99% of the company.

European dynamics

Budapest has long been involved in European projects and was one of the first cities to join the Covenant of Mayors in 2008. Involved in the Display Campaign, Budapest has been able to carry out major renovations and energy savings in many homes. These achievements were possible thanks to the resident’s commitment both financially and in terms of participation in the project’s management.

In transition

Around Budapest, many citizens’ initiatives are being launched.

Energiahatékony Wekerle, (Energy Efficiency Wekerle) encourages residents to reduce their energy consumption, helps them renovate their homes, and even equip their roofs with solar panels.

The Smart City Budapest initiative aims to showcase the best practices for companies, institutions, non-profit organizations, and the people of Budapest. Through the transfer of knowledge, Budapest. aims to encourage their citizens and leaders to take action for a better city.

The new lord mayor, Gergely Karacsony, in position since October 2019, is planning to reinforce participative democracy in Budapest. Led by the city’s new climate chief, Ada Amon, they also plan to engage some 50 citizen experts in a citizens’ assembly over two weekends to discuss what Budapest could do better in urban development and climate mitigation.

Budapest has also re-opened their (climate) diplomacy and reinforced contacts with several regional capitals and European cities, as well as renewed their membership in Energy Cities. They already took an active part in our activities, attending the first Energy Efficiency Watch focus group.

Welcome back Budapest, to Europe’s climate pioneers!