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2019/11/12 - 2019/12/14


Celebrating Five Decades of Diplomatic Relations, 1969–2019
Anniversary chamber exhibition in National Széchényi Library

Hungary formally entered into diplomatic relations with Malaysia in 1969, just twelve years after the country achieved independence. Since then, the relationship between the two countries has been characterized by continuous economic and industrial cooperation and joint initiatives. In 2019, the governments of Hungary and Malaysia will jointly celebrate the 50th anniversary; chief organizer of the events is the Embassy of Hungary in Kuala Lumpur. An integral part of the events related to the anniversary is a chamber exhibition presenting the history of Hungarian-Malaysian relations. The exhibition has jointly been organized by National Széchényi Library, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Embassy of Malaysia in Budapest.

The first Hungarian traveler who had spent considerable time in Southeast Asia was János Xantus, whose adventurous life served as a model for Karl May’s favorite character, Old Shatterhand. Between 1868 and 1870, Xantus had explored the region on a major expedition, and he reported on his experiences and observations in several books and essays. As a result of his field work, he brought over 2,500 ethnographic objects and more than 54,000 animal preparations to Hungary, thus laying the foundations of the later Museum of Ethnography and the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Budapest.

In the 20th century, Malaysia remained a popular and exotic theme in Hungarian popular culture; quite a few adventure movies and newspaper articles have dealt with the country. The most well-known movie was the Italian series entitled Sandokan, which will also be featured at the exhibition. The visual and musical world of the series has been well-known to the Hungarian audience to this day.

The exhibition will give visitors an insight into the history of the relationship between the two countries and how they got to know each other’s culture, a process hallmarked by royal, and mutual presidential and prime minister’s visits.

Visitors will get to see relics such as old manuscripts, maps, photos, newspaper articles and books, all of which are part of the General Collection, Newspaper and Periodical Collection, Map Collection as well as Manuscript Collection of National Széchényi Library. On top of that, photos originating from the National Archives of Malaysia and ones owned by the Embassy of Hungary in Kuala Lumpur will also be shown.

Venue and date of the exhibition:
National Széchényi Library, Catalog space on Floor 7
4-5-6 Szent György Square, H-1014 Budapest
The exhibition will be open to the public from November 12, 2019 until December 14, 2019.
Admission is free.

The opening ceremony in pictures

Anniversary chamber exhibition in NSZL (video)