Bilateral relations Switzerland–Hungary

The failed Hungarian Uprising of 1956 against Soviet communism continues to have a significant influence on relations between Switzerland and Hungary. At the time of the events, around 12,000 Hungarian refugees were granted asylum in Switzerland. After the Cold War, Hungary became one of the beneficiaries of Switzerland's contribution to the enlarged EU and cooperation programme with eastern Europe. Now the country falls under the second Swiss contribution.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Switzerland and Hungary maintain close diplomatic relations. Cooperation is particularly close in business and education, and in the culture sector. From 2008 until 2017, bilateral relations mainly focused on Switzerland's enlargement contribution. The implementation of projects in Hungary under Switzerland's second contribution has been underway since 2022.

Treaty database

Economic cooperation

In 2022, Hungary was Switzerland's fourth most important trading partner in central Europe. Swiss exports amounted to CHF 1.16 billion; imports from Hungary totalled CHF 1.67 billion. Trade between the two countries comprises mainly machinery and electronic products, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products.

Switzerland is Hungary's fifth largest investor and sixth biggest foreign employer. There are over 800 Swiss companies in Hungary providing around 31,000 jobs. 

Trade promotion, Switzerland Global Enterprise

Country information, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO

Cooperation in education, research and innovationg

From its enlargement contribution, Switzerland funded a scientific partnership programme between the German-speaking Andrássy University and the University of St. Gallen, as well as a scholarship programme for Hungarian academics to study at Swiss universities. The second Swiss contribution also includes projects in the fields of vocational training, research and innovation.

Researchers and artists who are citizens of Hungary can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship.

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists, SERI

The Swiss contribution

Hungary was one of the countries to benefit from Switzerland's contribution to EU enlargement. By mid-2017, 39 projects had been successfully implemented thanks to total funding of some CHF 131 million. The initial objectives were achieved and in some projects exceeded.

Hungary is now receiving a total of CHF 87.6 million under the second Swiss contribution. The implementation agreement, which was signed in Hungary on 8 November 2022, commits both sides to upholding the rule of law, democracy and human rights. 

Hungary – A partner country for Switzerland’s contribution to EU enlargement

Second Swiss contribution to selected EU member states

Cultural exchanges

Switzerland and Hungary share close cultural ties, bolstered by the migration flows of the 20th century (Swiss artists with Hungarian roots, for example). A number of Swiss artists and ensembles also take part in Budapest's cultural scene independently.

Swiss nationals in Hungary

According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, in mid-2023 there were 2,177 Swiss citizens living in Hungary. 

Statistics on the Swiss abroad

History of bilateral relations

Switzerland recognised the Hungarian state in 1920 after the dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy. Diplomatic relations – briefly suspended at the end of the Second World War – were re-established in 1946, although they later cooled as Hungary became a communist people's republic under the influence of the Soviet Union.

When Soviet troops crushed the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, Switzerland showed its solidarity by accepting around 12,000 Hungarian refugees and sending aid consignments to the country.

After Hungary's democratic transition in 1989, relations with Switzerland were stepped up significantly at all levels – government, economic, social and cultural – with Switzerland supporting the establishment of democratic and market-economy structures through its cooperation programme with eastern Europe and contacts in the culture field.

Hungary, Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (de, fr, it)