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The Presidents of Slovenia and Hungary visited the National Széchényi Library

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Hungary and Slovenia, the National Széchényi Library staged an exhibition titled “Vivat Slovenia! / Vivat Slovenija!”. The exhibition was opened by President of Slovenia Nataša Pirc Musar and President of Hungary Katalin Novák on Wednesday.

At the opening ceremony, Katalin Novák announced that the director generals of the two national libraries signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday morning in Sándor Palace, in the presence of the two countries’ Heads of State.

The agreement between the two libraries sends a clear message that while economic relations are important, it is also important to engage in intensive cultural relations as well, because they will bring the inhabitants of Slovenia and Hungary closer to one another – Hungary’s Head of State emphasized.
Katalin Novák added that the way Hungary treats its Slovenian minority and Slovenia treats its Hungarian minority sets an example.

How we can contribute to each other’s future largely depends on the degree to which we understand each other’s culture. – the President pointed out, adding that the sacrificial work of literary translators may help us bridge the gap of language difficulties.

Katalin Novák recalled that in the City of Kranj in March, the Speakers of Slovenia’s and Hungary’s Parliaments unveiled a Sándor Petőfi statue together, erected next to Slovenia’s national poet France Preseren.
It is quite exceptional that the commemoration of national heroes of two states can take place at such a high level. Unfortunately, there are examples to the contrary in the region – underlined Katalin Novák.

Nataša Pirc Musar, drawing a parallel between the national poets of the two countries, recalled that both Petőfi and Preseren made a major contribution to awakening national consciousness. In fact, Petőfi even had personal ties to Slovenia, as he wrote his poem “On the Drava River” in Maribor – she remarked.

The President of Slovenia highlighted another Hungarian literary work among her favourites as a young woman, i.e. The Paul Street Boys, adding that she came to know Budapest and Hungary through Ferenc Molnár’s novel.
According to Nataša Pirc Musar, literary translations act as bridges to link nations. This is also why Slovenia’s Head of State welcomed the opening of the twin exhibitions on the topic in Budapest and in Ljubljana.

Director General of the National Széchényi Library Dávid Rózsa pointed out that the Vivat Slovenia exhibition is staged on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Hungary and Slovenia, one year after the jubilee, in the close professional partnership of Slovenia’s Embassy in Budapest and the Faculty of Slavistics at Eötvös Loránd University.

The temporary exhibition now opening in Budapest and Ljubljana reminds us that it is also worth getting to know each other's heritage in books," he said.

According to the organisers, the exhibition Vivat Slovenia! examines the reception of Slovenian literature in Hungary, with a special focus on the literary translations of the last thirty years, which number almost eighty volumes.

The exhibition, which will be on display until 31 May, also recalls the 450-year-old printing press in Alsólendva and the work of Stefan Küzmic (Küzmics István) and Miklos Küzmic (Küzmics Miklós), two Bible translators who worked in the Muravian region in the 18th century and contributed to the development of the Slovenian literary language.