Editorial: In Celebration of Budapest Summer Traditions


Photo by Song_about_summer / Shutterstock.com

Expat life being what it is, there will be some readers of the Budapest Business Journal for whom this is their first summer here. If you are one of those, let me reassure you that, while it is regularly hot in this country in June, July, and, most especially, August, some of these recent temperatures have, indeed, been unusually high.

One of the great things about Budapest, though, is that people just get on with it. They hydrate as much as they can, even willing to resort to water if there is no pálinka to hand (I jest: there is always pálinka to hand). They also rediscover an affection for the workplace that was noticeably missing in spring. The fact that all modern offices in Budapest have air conditioning is undoubtedly a coincidence.

It makes for an interesting “compare and contrast” exercise with the United Kingdom, which had two days around 40ºC (104ºF) and promptly had a collective faint. That is slightly harsh. The British are not just Northern Europeans; they are also an island race and, therefore, utterly unsuited to any temperatures above 28ºC (82ºF). It took me about five years to adapt.

But back to our newbie readers; there is another Budapest summer tradition with which I should make you acquainted. This is the last print issue of the BBJ you will be able to pick up from your friendly neighborhood newsagent, if that is your somewhat quaint way of getting hold of the paper. You are more likely to have a subscription, but even then, you won’t see another issue for a while.

Let me reassure you; unlike the recent mercury-popping temperatures, this is absolutely normal. Every summer since we launched in 1992 (we actually debuted in November, so more accurately, every summer since 1993), we have taken August off. It is the traditional holiday month in factories and offices across the country. The big four automotive OEMs (Audi, Daimler, Opel, and Suzuki) often cut shifts right back or schedule routine maintenance in August, for example. There isn’t much point in a business publication printing a paper when the most exciting stories are the cost of watermelons and the availability of cucumbers. But rest assured, we will update the website daily and send out our morning newsletters, and the print issue will return on September 8.

In the meantime, we leave you with a bumper issue to enjoy. The paper itself is a 28-pager, with a focus on logistics and a South Korean Country Focus. (Our base issue is 24 pages, though we sometimes drop to 20 and this year set a new record high of 44 back in May. As you would expect from an agile operation, we shuffle the pagination up and down depending on the commercial and editorial needs.)

But there is even more reading material for our print subscribers, with our second annual Top Real Estate Executives publication included free of charge and weighing in at a hefty 116 pages dedicated to the themes and personalities behind a vital economic sector. Don’t worry if you do rely on your friendly neighborhood newsagent; you can still buy Top Real Estate Executives through our webshop. And while you are there, you might also check out our newest product, The Macroscope Report, a Hungarian economic overview for Q2 and Q3, helpfully subtitled “How did we get Here, and Where are we Heading?” It is a “must-buy” for anyone interested in the big picture from Budapest.

So there is plenty of holiday reading to tide you over. All that is left is for me to wish you all a relaxing (or stimulating, if that is more your thing) summer break. We’ll meet again in September.

Robin Marshall


This editorial was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of July 29, 2022.

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