When we talk about Germans who have moved to Hungary, it is important to note that we are exclusively talking about people with German citizenship, i.e. not dual Hungarian-German citizens, as they are considered Hungarian in Hungary. Persons of Hungarian ancestry who have acquired Hungarian citizenship for this or other reasons are not included in the statistics, nor are Germans who stay in Hungary only periodically and therefore have no registered address. Nor are included those Hungarian citizens who are members of the German ethnic minority. Although they have German ancestry and claim German ethnicity, they are also Hungarians. In 2011, their number was 185,696.
According to data from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH), the number of Germans permanently residing in Hungary has been steadily increasing for years. While in the years after the regime change there were a few thousand people, by 2019 their number had reached 16,537. By contrast, in 2023 there are already 22,310 German citizens living in our country , and the year is not over yet! That is an increase of 34.9% over four years. And in the last year only, the increase was 12.9%, which is clearly dynamic.
Behind the numbers
There are only a small number of German citizens who work in Hungary. According to a study by the Analysis and Wage Policy Department of the Ministry of Technology and Industry , in 2021, only 272 workers of German nationality were employed by Hungarian disbursement agencies. Furthermore, according to the German Federal Statistical Office , in 2020, the number of German students studying at Hungarian higher education institutions was 3.415. This means that the majority of Germans residing in Hungary, in addition to workers and students, are economically inactive, including family members and pensioners. It can therefore be assumed that the vast majority of them are pensioners. Although the number of old-age pension paid into a Hungarian bank account is slightly lower - around 14,700 cases according to media reports - than the presumed total number of German pensioners living in Hungary, there are still many who have settled here permanently but do not appear in German statistics as such. The reason for this difference of a few thousand is that many German pensioners officially residing in Hungary still request the payment of their pension into their German bank account as many want to maintain a last "bastion" in Germany. So, on paper, that they are considered to be German pensioners. In any case, according to media reports, the number of German pensioners living in our country has increased by 25% in five years.
There are many possible reasons behind this new dynamic process. In German media coverage, financial considerations are at the main motive. However, many cite a more liveable environment and better public safety. It is a fact that, although the number of crimes committed in Germany increased by 11.5% last year, it has remained rather stagnant compared to the long-term average. However, the comparison with Hungary, where the number has fallen by 64.5% in the last ten years, is telling. The difference is even more striking on a per capita basis: in Germany, the number of offences per 100,000 inhabitants reached 6.762 last year , compared with 1.732 in Hungary, i.e. only a quarter of the figure in Germany.
In addition to financial considerations, access to a home or house of one's own is also a decisive factor, while the provision of a habitable environment is also relevant. In Germany, the upper middle class is now less and less able to afford to buy their own home, whereas in Hungary it is still possible - especially in rural areas. Favorable climate, culinary and gastronomic delights, touristic and cultural attractions in Hungary, but also the hospitality and inclusivity of Hungarians are all important aspects. A complete picture of all this is painted by a series of reports on German settlers in the bi-weekly magazine "Budapester Zeitung". The series draws portraits of Germans who have moved here, detailing their backgrounds, occupations and motivations.
German infrastructure in the Transdanubian region
A number of companies, professional services, organizations and individuals are helping people to move here. In the Transdanubian region, the "Balaton Zeitung" is a kind of hub for the German community in Hungary, supporting not only the settlement but also the thriving of the German-speaking people living here. German-speaking craftsmen, services, homes for elderly care, pastors and friends initiatives, formalized regular pub meetings - our German fellow citizens will find it all there. A review of the classifieds is also especially informative. In addition to the "Balaton Zeitung" and the already mentioned "Budapester Zeitung" , the "Neue Zeitung" and "Sonntagsblatt" of the Swabians can also help with orientation. Furthermore, the "Ungarn Heute" internet news portal or even the daily MTVA news program "Nachrichten aus Ungarn" can also serve as an excellent source of information. In addition, the blog "Ungarn Real" , launched by Irén Rab, also provides a lot of relevant news, and last but not least, the German-language website of the Hungarian-German Institute is another valuable reference point. Besides, there are various German institutions, such as the German Theatre in Szekszárd, the "Deutsche Bühne Ungarn", German nationality kindergartens and schools, as well as a German language higher education institution, Andrássy University Budapest. Another major link is the German-Hungarian Society (Deutsch-Ungarische Gesellschaft), which, since 2022, has an office in Hungary as well. In cooperation with the Hungarian-German Institute, they offer programs and organize get-togethers for many German residents.
In recent years, many German citizens have settled in Hungary, and the trend is increasing. They are mainly pensioners, but the number of middle-aged people has also increased. Motives are primarily financial ones and better public safety. Another key factor is access to own home ownership, including setting up one's own home farm. Hungary's natural assets (climate, vegetation, green areas, food and drink) and cultural attractions also count. German immigrants will find a welcoming, hospitable Hungarian environment and a broad German infrastructure. This makes it easier for them to settle and stay here. Many organizations mediate between those already here and newcomers. More and more people are coming, and Hungarians are welcoming them.