Application to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network 2015


Budapest is a metropolis, a dynamically growing creative industry and startup capital of the Central and Eastern European Region and it functions as a bridge between the neighboring regions and has a transfer role in the relation of East and West, as well as North and South in the transfer and dissemination of culture, innovation, goods, capital, skilled labor and knowledge. As a European capital establishing itself during the course of history, Budapest is a valuable and key cultural, social and economic value and a regional hub. The city is home to UNESCO world heritage sites. Budapest is the national center of knowledge, the primary Hungarian source of economic growth and innovation and has unique cultural and architectural characteristics and strong social integration force and appropriate potential for economic development. Within Budapest, the most dynamically growing area of the creative industry between 2008 and 2012 was design, in particular design graphics and the fields of product design and fashion design. Budapest is a scene of a multitude of grassroots initiatives, whereas the supporting of the creative industry is a recognized means of economic development both in municipal and governmental politics.

Budapest offers favorable circumstances to the creative industry with a focus on the promotion of values characterizing the industrial branch. It contributes to inter-company cooperation by organizing networking events and the sharing of information, which are based on research. The city hosts a multitude of unique initiatives on a sector level and links early stage enterprises to facilitate the start of innovation projects. Strategic cooperation is also achieved with other industrial branches, which generate value, growth, and development.


A metropolis in the 21st century cannot be successful if it is incapable of becoming an innovation center. However, innovation can only happen where a solid and exciting cultural scene is present that can lend inspiration to those living there. The design culture of Budapest that sprung up in the middle and late 20th century remained hidden from the world. The creative industries based on innovation now represent one of Budapest’s most dynamically growing segment. The aim of Budapest with the membership is to help release its cultural heritage as a source of inspiration unknown to many but of elementary force so it can be leveraged to drive new, innovative projects and companies that play a key role in economic growth, thus creating well-being. Knowledge generation in design is present in many forms in Budapest. In order to foster creativity and freedom by building a tolerant knowledge society Budapest is seeking to present its unique image and knowledge pool by addressing a large audience while attaining sustainable results. By uniting top professionals of every relevant sphere, the city is rolling out a top quality program even by international standards.

City of Design

Budapest’s professional events connect creators with trade representatives and market players thanks to municipal and political support:
OTTHON Design, Magyar design (CONSTRUMA)
made in Hungary meed
Ajándék Terminál

Additional trade events: Hungarian Innovation Tech Show, WAMP, design+, CEFD, Fashion Week Budapest, National Designer Graphics Biennial, placcc, Stylwalker Night, Redefine, Smart Mobile, Creative Budapest conference, Meetups: creative mornings & IOT.

With the flourishing of the creative industry, several large-scale events were born and renewed.
Design Week Budapest

Other large-scale events: Brain Bar Budapest, ARC, Eleven Design, Film Days of Architecture, I’ll be right back!, kirakat, Download, Graduation project.

Budapest attracts young people into the world of design in several ways:
HOLIS 360°
MOME Labs: EcoLab, SocioLab, TechLab, TransferLab

The most prestigious institutes of higher education are:
Hungarian University of Creative Arts (MKE)
Moholy-Nagy University of Arts (MOME)

Budapest has recognized the importance of design and creativity in the sustainable development of the city, therefore it specially focuses on supporting research activities:
Design Terminal - incubation center

Budapest is the city of grassroot initiatives and the professional scenes of its creative industry production are a perfect reflection of this:

Kitchen Budapest
Loffice Coworking
Colabs Startup Center
DBH Seedstar
Paloma Arts Courtyard
Alliance 39
Heinrich Creative Level

Principal facilities and cultural spaces:

Museum of Applied Arts
Museum of Fine Arts
Arts Hall
Ludwig Museum
Hungarian National Gallery
Robert Capa Contemporary Photographic Center
Center of Contemporary Architecture
Fuga – Budapest Architecture Center
Akvárium Klub
I’ll be right back Project Gallery
Liget Budapest

How Budapest Contributes?

Cross-cutting initiatives locally:

1. Incubation program: for the development of competences of early stage designer startups Education plays a fundamental role in economic development. Budapest presents an incubation program in order to develop the management competences of SMEs in the creative industry based on cooperation and methodology unique in Europe to enable them to grow into successful enterprises with a global presence and to reinforce Budapest’s central role in the design of Central and Eastern Europe. Budapest offers a free mentor & consultation program while linking all the elements of the value chain in the design industry, whereby state institutions, professionals from the fields of business development, communication, law, as well as enterprises are involved. The mentor program aids the development of 6-12 while the consultation program addresses the problems of 110 entrepreneurs per year. The program contributes to the global rise of economic branches with high added value, intellectual performance and individual skills, thus inspiring future generations to set up independent enterprises and promoting networks and enhancing the importance of the design sphere both on the local and international level.

2. Made in the City: to support local industrial activities
Cultural heritage is the source of innovation. A research in 2014 proved that light industry in the inner city is alive: family enterprises over a hundred years old are still present along with the workshops of craftsmen active for decades and showrooms operated by contemporary creative groups. They continue to generate a multitude of values on which local policies or civil and municipal initiatives can be based for good reason. The purpose of “Made in the City” initiative is to support the reachout and networking of designers and manufacturers through the displaying of local industrial activities in a client and producer relation and in terms of knowledge sharing between generations while linking the design approach of young designers with the experience of craftsmen active for decades. As part of the project, production events, creative workshops, and open workshops as makerspaces are implemented between young professionals and workshops destined for closure due to the lack of new generations. Made in the City connects the creative fields of UNESCO (especially in the relation of folk art, music, gastronomy & design) and aids the rediscovery of creators with long traditions and representing high cultural values.

3. Smart City Lab: developing the public services to improve the living standards of a city.
Design is an intellectual resource capable of making the world a better place. The design attitude and innovation is increasingly important in the operation of the city entities. For their part, state and municipal institutions are also open toward rethinking their operation. The development of public services is key to improving the living standards of a city. In Smart City Lab creative professionals draft proposals of innovative municipal development for the renewal of municipal systems under close cooperation of the respective institutional and professional stakeholders. SCL primarily seeks novel solutions to specific problems and needs arising on the part of municipal public utility companies. It has a wide target group ranging from students in the creative profession to professionals and local communities alike. The project serves sustainable municipal development, the improvement of living standards, the integration of vulnerable social groups and the enhancement of creativity generation and participation in its consumption in the long term.

International projects involving UNESCO member cities:

1. Central European Fashion Days: to give opportunity to the most talented designers
Central European Fashion Days seeks to make a difference with an outstanding fashion show and professional business day. It includes a fashion competition, fashion show and exhibition series as well. The aim of the initiative is to give the opportunity to the most talented designers in the region to showcase their work on a platform to which international buyers and managers of concept stores and showrooms are invited. Our goal is to connect them to the mainstream fashion world by giving them the chance to have their collections purchased around the world. As a member of UNESCO CCN Budapest will foster creativity in the Network and open the project to the international platform and the stakeholders of the member cities (creators, buyers and customers) will be channeled into CEFD thus strengthening the cooperation, the networking and emergence of creative industries.

2. Brain Bar Budapest: game-changing inspirational festival for knowledge sharing
Brain Bar Budapest is a new global festival focusing on tech and humanity to better understand our main challenges. The event series features a diverse offering of presentations, debates and panel discussions, focusing on themes such as the complexity of the relationships in society, between human labor and robotics, mass urbanization or even singularity and religion. The festival’s main driving forces are knowledge sharing through dialogue and group brainstorming. Besides leading experts, decision makers and opinion leaders, the challengers of the status quo also take part. Participants are offered a glimpse at the innovations generating change. Central Europe’s one and only inspiration festival is not only a summit centering around the most relevant of future trends, but also a meeting point, where the local players, the region’s most important market players and the world’s leading thought leaders and decision makers all convene to put down the foundations of our future together. Involving the members of the Creative Cities of Design to the event will help to share experience and strengthen the network in an outstanding way.

3. 3D Printing Days: meeting of science, creativity and technology
Cross-cutting technologies equip us to find solutions to today’s acute economic, social and environmental challenges. Budapest seeks to create knowledge and understanding of these technologies and helps to increase the participation of citizens in technology and science. Budapest 3D Printing Days is the most prominent Central European tech event dedicated to additive manufacturing, 3D printing and associated technologies and applications, creating an independent platform that brings the Central European 3D printing scene’s key players and opinion leaders together. Budapest 3D Printing Days continues to grow each year and is now seen as a must-visit event. The show serves as a regional focal point for European communities and businesses, allowing visitors to explore and, of course, experiment with this revolutionary technology themselves. With the involvement of Creative Cities BP3PD will be a world-wide recognised project. Alongside the incredible show floor packed with the top 3D printing related companies, a high-level conference series is planned to inform, educate and inspire. The event is brought to life in PPP partnership.

Design Terminal

Design Terminal is the national center for creative industries in Budapest, Hungary. With the stimulation of digital economy, industrial design and urban planning, our mission is to support value-added local enterprises reaching the global marketplace. Our competition-based, free incubation services include business consultation and mentoring, local and international trade show presence as well as early stage investment mediation. In 2014, Design Terminal was awarded European Enterprise Promotion Awards by the European Commission.


Anna NEMES-NAGY, international and grants coordinator

“Through its innovative initiatives (mentoring programs, design competitions, training projects) and ground-breaking events through the year (Spring Festival, Brain Bar Budapest, Budapest 3D Printing Days), Budapest shall provide Creative Cities with added values that will effectively contribute to the development of the whole netowrk”
István Tarlós
Mayor of Budapest

“A strong vision of Budapest as the member of the Creative Cities Network ensures the successful fulfillment of UNESCO objectives.”
Dr. Miklós Bendzsel
President of the Hungarian Design Council and the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office

“We are convinced that the membership of Budapest will contribute to strengthen the subnetwork of design cities in particular and the objectives underlined in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network Mission Statement overall.”
Csaba Káel
CEO, MÜPA Budapest
Design Terminal 2015