The National Heritage Institute as an institution of the Prime Minister’s Office, is the assets manager and operator of locations of symbolic significance from the aspect of the nation’s past and historical memory, such as the Fiumei Road Cemetery, the Salgótarjáni Street Jewish Cemetery and the National Park of Mourning of the New Public Cemetery. At the same time, the National Heritage Institute exercises rights of disposition over the National Cemetery, that is, the protected graves of the most prominent representatives of the Hungarian nation lying within the country's borders, acting as an umbrella organization uniting the national and historical monuments of our nation. It is our objective to contribute to the realization of our mission through the careful treatment of the built and spiritual cultural heritage entrusted to us.
“If you want to know how much a nation appreciates its past, look at its cemeteries”.
(Count István Széchenyi)
We believe that the values of our past are the pillars of our future. Our mission is to preserve and pass on the Hungarian historical and cultural heritage and to exercise respectful memory because the key to a strong Hungary is a deep-rooted national identity. It is our conviction that the future of our country in a unified Europe built on nation-states is based on the responsible education of young generations having a solid Hungarian awareness who think in terms of national cohesion. We consider it to be our strategic task to serve this. We believe that the preservation of the spiritual heritage of Hungarians, furthermore, the broad dissemination of the culture of national memory, are of key importance in this work.
“There is no future without a past, and the richer your past, the more strings you will have to connect to the future.”
In addition to preserving the national heritage, the National Heritage Institute brings the memory of the great figures of our history closer to a wider audience through commemorations, memorial days, conferences and diverse cultural programmes connected to the anniversaries of significant events and personalities. Its broad-ranging promotional and educational activities are also reflected in the website, newsletters, social media channels, media communications and publications. From among the fields of activity of the National Heritage Institute, we intend to place ever greater emphasis on historical and cultural memory education. Without exception, the locations cared for by the National Heritage Institute are of key significance in the history of the nation, thus they are of outstanding importance from the aspect of the self-image of being Hungarian. As such, our goal is to include these symbolic spaces of remembrance in the upbringing and education of younger generations. By engendering genuine experiences and emotions, we want to expand the understanding of children and young adults, exploiting potential educational opportunities outside the classroom.
“You cannot inherit culture. The culture of predecessors rapidly evaporates unless each generation reacquires it for itself."
One increasingly essential task of the National Heritage Institute is the identification and registration of beyond-the-borders Hungarian-related locations and graves important from the aspect of the national memory, in order for the expanding database in the online space – with the help of our compatriots living and working in the separated Hungarian areas – to contribute to the preservation of the awareness of the Hungarian origins of our compatriots living beyond the borders and to the strengthening of their sense of belonging.
“The past also exists — somewhere, in another sphere — indestructibly. We take it with us into the
future – not to repeat it, but so that we do not forget why what happened to us could happen.”
In June 2021, our institution joined the Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe (ASCE) with the intention of highlighting in international culture Hungarian historical cemeteries as well as the built and spiritual heritage having Hungarian associations. In addition, the National Heritage Institute mutually collaborates with the National Memorial and Piety Committee (NEKB), which the National Assembly established over 20 years ago to renew the culture of the memory policy, national mourning and remembrance. The National Heritage Institute, legal predecessor of the National Heritage Institute, was established from the secretariat of the NEKB as a working body of the NEKB in 2013, and continues its activities under the new name from 2021.