Hungary hails St Andrew’s Day

The iconic Scottish-built Széchenyi Chain Bridge that reaches across the Danube river in Budapest, Hungary, will be turned blue in celebration of St Andrew’s Day on Friday and Saturday this week

Planned lighting of bridge, photo by © Andras Meszaros

The engineer in charge of the bridge’s construction was Edinburgh-born Adam Clark.

Completed in 1849 it was one the world’s longest bridges and remains a famous landmark in Hungary’s capital today. Clark is still well remembered in Hungary for this work and Clark Ádám tér (“Adam Clark Square”) is named in his honour.

Welcoming the news, Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, said:

Lighting up Budapest’s Chain Bridge in Saltire blue shows the international significance of St Andrew’s day, and the transformative impact of Scots throughout history. Scotland and Hungary have long been linked. There is a thriving Scottish community in the country and this warm gesture shows that our ties are going from strength to strength.

I wish those in Hungary – and across the world – a happy St Andrew’s Day.

HM Ambassador Iain Lindsay, OBE said:

It is a particular pleasure and honour for me, as the British Ambassador to Hungary and as a proud Scot, to see Széchényi Chain Bridge, an iconic Hungarian landmark and a symbol of strong British-Hungarian and Scottish-Hungarian bonds, lit up in the colours of the Saltire, Scotland’s national flag, to mark St Andrew’s Day, the National Day of Scotland.

Scotland and Hungary have strong historical links. Jane Haining was born in Dumfriesshire, and spent the Second World War in Budapest helping to save the lives of Hungarian Jewish children. She was later arrested for this work and died in Auschwitz in 1944. She is still remembered in the Hungarian capital when a road was renamed in 2010 to ‘Jane Haining rakpart’.

St Margaret of Scotland, Scotland’s only Royal Saint and a Queen of Scotland, was born in the Kingdom of Hungary c.1045. She undertook many charitable endeavours such as establishing a ferry route across the Firth of Forth for pilgrims. Today St Columba’s Church of Scotland in Budapest is a joint congregation of the Church of Scotland and the Hungarian Reformed Church.

The lights will be turned on during a ceremony to mark St Andrew’s Day on Friday. The British Ambassador, Iain Lindsay, OBE, has been working with the St Andrew’s Association of Hungary and the local authorities to turn the bridge blue. This comes ahead of the 170th anniversary of the bridge next year.

The Secretary of State for Scotland will host a ‘Taste of Scotland’ event at Dover House in celebration of St Andrew’s Day tomorrow (29 November). Some of Scotland’s finest food and drink producers had their chance to boost export sales while on show in London to an audience of Ambassadors and High Commissioners from all around the world including Japan, Denmark and Paraguay.

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