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Hungary - Subdivisions (overview)

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by Antonio Broto, 7 August 2001

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Subdivisions of Hungary (1 January 1999) - Hungary is divided to 19 county (megye), 1 capital (főváros) and 22 cities (like county by right / megyei jogú város). The cities are not part of the counties.
In 1 July 2000. many "large community" has became towns.
István Molnár, 4 July 2000

Most of the visited villages made a horizontal flag (ratio 2:3) and a vertical flag (ratio 5:2). The name of the horizontal flag is "zászló" or "lobogó", the name of the vertical flag is " "labarum" " or "függönyzászló"
István Molnár, 8 August 2000

Every piece of territory of Hungary must by law to be part of some community or city. In Hungary before we had five types of settlements:
1. Község (community).
2. Nagyközség (large community). This type of settlement does not really exist any more as a separate category. Before, communities, when their population became larger, were awarded with the title of "large community". Now, there is no specific procedure for the title "large community". All former large communities retain their title, but no such new titles are awarded. Now, all communities with a population of 5000 or more people can use the title of large community, without any official procedure, if they wish so. For example, the community, where I live, has 6000 people, but the title of large community is not used by the local authorities.
3. Város (city). The title of city is given by the head of state, there are no specific requirements, but in order to apply for the status of city, a community is expected to have a high school, permanent police station, permanent medical service, cultural institutions.
4. Megyei jogú város (city with right of county). Now the capitals of all counties are automatically given the title of "city with right of county" (before, only 16 of the 19 county capitals had such title, now all 18 (!) county capitals have this title). Also all cities with a population of 50 thousands can apply for this status. Now we have 3 cities with right of county that are not capital of any county. Cities with right of county are de jure not considered part of the county where they are located, but the de facto they are part of them (the only exception is Pest county, whose capital - Budapest - is outside the county, de jure and de facto). The main difference between a "normal" city and a "city with right of county" is that a normal city offer services only to its own habitants and to surrounding communities, while a "city with right of county" offer services to a larger region, including to surrounding cities.
5. Főváros (capital) - the capital is divided to smaller parts, districts, that have their own local autonomy, powers are shared with the capital's local autonomy.
Ivan Marinov, 14 March 2001

1. Község - I use the word: village. This settlement type exists from 1876. Before 1876 they were named as 'Falu' means village. The official name of these settlements are 'Község', the used version 'Falu'. In the 1900-1910s these settlements were named
'Kisközség' - It means 'Little Community' but I don't use the word "community" because it is not the same as the village (for example in Yugoslavia, Romania and Ukraine one community contains more settlements as a district).
Between 1950-1989 in Hungary there were some communities which contained more villages. These villages became independent settlements after 1989. In Slovakia too.
2. Nagyközség - This settlement type exists from 1876 when some formerly 'Mezőváros' - means borough (town)- lost its town type rights and didn't become 'Rendezett Tanácsú Város' - means 'City with Council' (town). They became 'Nagyközség'. Most of them became town (last in August 2000: Harkány, Szob, Pannonhalma, Visegrád etc.). Inhabitants these formerly 'large villages' or 'large communities': Harkány: 3.587, Szob: 2.803, Pannonhalma: 3.524, Visegrád: 1.543.
3. Város - I always use the title 'town' when it is is a second class 'city-or-town'.
Towns in Hungary:
Before 1876: 'Mezőváros' means borough or 'Kiváltságos Mezőváros' means 'Privileged Borough' etc.
1876-1929: 'Rendezett Tanácsú Város' means 'City with Council'. The towns were under the county but not under the district administration.
1929-1950 'Megyei Város' means 'County Town'. Only the name was changed. 1950 is the end of the rights of self-government.
1950-1954 'Város' means 'City'. under the district and county soviets.
1954-1971 'Járási Jogú Város' means 'Town with District Rights' under the county soviet
1971-1989 'Város' means 'Town' under the county soviet
1989- 'Város' under the goverment of Hungary.
4. Megyei jogú város - I always use the title 'city' it is a first class 'city-or-town'. I use this word in Hungary at 'Megyei Jogú Város' in Romania at 'Municipiul' in Ukraine at Mukachevo, Uzhhorod and Hust which cities are not under the rayon  administrations. The cities (with county ranks) and the counties have got own 'General Assemblies' 'Közgyűlés'.
Cities in Hungary:
Before 1876: 'Szabad Királyi Város' means 'Free Royal City'. Not under the county administration.
1876-1950: 'Törvényhatósági Jogú Város' means 'City with Municipal Rights'. Here is a translation problem again. The Municipality = Törvényhatóság, Önkormányzat in Hungarian. The translator thought Municipal Rights mean 'rights of the counties'. These settlements were not under the county administration. Most of them annexed in 1920.
1950-1954 there were no first class cities, only towns: 'Város'
1954-1971 'Megyei Jogú Város' means 'City with County Rights'. These settlements were: Debrecen, Miskolc, Pécs and Szeged. These settlements had the rights to divide their territories into districts. These settlements were not under the county soviet.
1971-1989 'Megyei Város' means 'County Town'. The fifth was Gyor. These settlements didn't have the rights to divide their territories into districts (exactly: no district soviets). These settlements was under the county soviet as a different part.
1989-1990 Some 'Város' became 'Megyei Város' for example Kecskemét and Székesfehérvár.
1990-1996 'Megyei Jogú Város' means 'City with County Rights' under the goverment of Hungary. 20 settlements became 'MJV' (which have more than 50.000 inhabitants).
1996- 22 settlements (Two county seats which haven't got 50.000 inhabitants - Szekszárd and Salgótarján became 'MJV') There is one town in Hungary which have got more than 50.000 inhabitants and not city: Érd.
In 2000 the government wanted the Parliament to give a title of 'Megyei Jogú Város' to the Town of Esztergom because its great historical past, but the Parliament didn't give it.
We have four cities with right of county that are not capital of any county: Dunaújváros, Hódmezovásárhely, Nagykanizsa and Sopron
Cities don't have representation in the General Assemblies of the County. They have to make an agreement with their counties. For example there was a really beautiful political war between Veszprém County and Veszprém City. The county hall is in the city... The villages and towns has got representation in the General Assembly of the County. Of course the cities are the parts of their counties by state administration. But 1990-1994 a high sheriff - 'Köztársasági  Megbízott' means 'Commissary of the Republic' looks after more than one counties. Levels of the courts of the justice. First level: towns (included cities) and districts (in Budapest). second level: counties and capital. The highest level: The Supreme Court.
5. Fováros - Budapest is the capital. The capital is divided into 23 districts which have own selfgovernments. There are political wars between the districts and the Council of the Capital about the rights and powers. The capital wants the districts become only local offices of the capital, the districts want the capital becomes one of the counties, not more.
6. Településrész (part-community) - Some areas of a larger settlement has its own local government with a some rights. For example: Szeged City has got three part communities: Kiskundorozsma, Tápé and Szoreg. The larger settlements (most of the cities) could divided their territories and could found part-communities. These part-communities could have got parts of the rights and powers of the settlement to their local works and problems. Not only cities have got part-communities. For example Monor town's part Monorierdo is a part-community. And some of them has got own symbols!

Information about counties. The county council is the assembly of the settlements of the county (without cities). The General Assembly is not over the local authorities.
Historical settlement type: 1984-1989 some 'large village' had got the title 'Városi Jogú Nagyközség' means 'Large Community with Town Rights'. They became later towns.
Formerly divisions: ' Járás' means districts. Historical divisions of the counties. They were discontinued in 1984. Divisions of the counties (of course without cities 1876-1971; 1990-now)
1876-1950: districts and towns
1950-1954: districts
1954-1971: districts and towns
1971-1984: districts, town's environs, towns and cities (!)
1984-1989: town's environs, towns, LCTRs, LCTR's environs, cities and some 'large village under direct county administration'
1990-now: towns and communities (villages)
István Molnár, 14 March 2001

I missed the 'Notarial Districts' 'Körjegyzoség'. Settlements which don't want to have got own office - because for example haven't got enough money - found 'ND' with others. Each settlement has got oun council and mayor but hasn't own Mayor's Office.
For example: I sent flag of Döbrönte and Ganna villages which settlements have got one 'ND'. Pictures was sent me by the District Notary of the Ganna-Döbrönte Notarial District by the authorization of the Mayor of Döbrönte village and the Mayor of Ganna village.
Bacause the 'ND' is only a common office of some settlements it got no symbols.
István Molnár, 14 March 2001

While browsing on the Internet I found mentioned a division of Hungary into regions, namely the following:
- Közép-Magyarország (KMO) Budapest és Pest megye
- Közép-Dunántúl (KDT) Fejér, Komárom-Esztergom, Veszprém megye
- Nyugat-Dunántúl (NYDT) Gyor-Moson-Sopron, Vas, Zala megye
- Dél-Dunántúl (DDT) Baranya, Somogy, Tolna megye
- Észak-Magyarország (ÉMO) BAZ, Heves, Nógrád megye
- Észak-Alföld (ÉAF) Hajdú-Bihar, Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok, Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg megye
- Dél-Alföld (DAF) Bács-Kiskun, Békés, Csongrád megye
What is the significance of these regions? Are these regions supposed to have flags, logos or the like?
Another question: what is the status of the second level administrative divisions in Hungary? The first level is the "megye" (county) I think, and at least in the past there were the "jaras" (district). Do these divisions still / again exist, or are they abolished altogether? Do they have flags/coat of armsts-of-arms?
Dirk Schonberger, 20 May 2003

The mentioned new subdivision entities are only formal regions without any self-government or office. They are imaginary established in order to divide Hungary into EU-compatible regions. So they are only regions for EU affairs. They have not any flags or coat of arms.
Hungary divided into 19 counties and the capital, Budapest. They are some (22) cities, which have the same right as a county  (in practice, it is a budget question only). All other settlements (towns and villages) have own self-governments, too (there were formerly councils). The county governments have limited rights, they have administative possibilities for county-level affairs only. But a settlement's administration is not supervised by a county administration. All Hungarian self-governments are supervised by Ministry of Interior (in legislative issues).
There are no "jaras" anymore, they were abolished end of 70's. Of course all cities and towns have an agglomeration (or something that similar to it) instead of "jaras". For example, if a citizen has an affair with officials (police, court, registry, hospital, etc), he/she has to go into town, because there is the nearest offices/installations.
Zoltan Horvath, 21 May 2003

Just some correction to the letter of Zoltán:
The second level administrative divisions - 'járás' were abolished in 1984. You can see maps showing statistical small districts. These ssd-s are not administrative divisions.
The government has a plan to make self government of the regions and abolished the counties.
István Molnár, 21 May 2003

The cities are not part of the counties, they are independent, but are counted at the Counties as per public administration. As a part of the administrative reform, system of the new cities (Like County by Right) was introduced on 1 December, 1990, when 16 county towns (Békéscsaba, Debrecen, Eger, Győr, Kaposvár, Kecskemét, Miskolc, Nyíregyháza, Pécs, Szeged, Székesfehérvár, Szolnok, Szombathely, Tatabánya, Veszprém, Zalaegerszeg) and 4 bigger towns (Dunaújváros, Hódmezővásárhely, Nagykanizsa, Sopron) became cities. Later, on 30 October, 1994, the remaining 2 county towns (Salgótarján and Szekszárd) were declared cities to finish this reform.
All the cities have been traditional Hungarian towns for a long time, except Dunaújváros and Tatabánya.
In 2004, Hungary has 251 towns, 22 cities (Like County by Right) and the capital (főváros).
Zoltán Turay, 28 December 2004

Currently [in 2009], there are 328 cities and towns in Hungary, including 23 urban counties (cities have rights similar to counties) and the capital. Number of municipalities (large villages) has been reduced to 118, and number of villages is 2706. Total number of localities (settlements) of Hungary is 3152. (There are more entities, while 23 districts of Budapest has own administrative bodies, and all of them have flag and coat of arms, as well.).
More and detailed information can be found in Gazetteer of Hungary. Please note that this material based on situation as of 1st January of 2009. In this year 22 former municipalities became a town; a complete list is available at the end of this booklet.
Zoltan Horvath, 29 December 2009

There are some changes regarding to Hungarian subdivisions. 175 districts (járás) have been established on January 1, 2013 in Hungary. The 19 counties were subdivided into 6 - 18 districts per county. Budapest - the capital, which does not belong to any counties - is already divided to 23 districts.
District system is not new in Hungary, they had existed between 1876 and 1984, and now the Government restored it, but these districts are not completely the same as they were before 1984. As far as I know, the new district authorities primarily have administrative tasks rather than operating as local entities. Concerning their symbols, at this time I do not have any information about their flags and coat of arms or even their willingness to adopt symbols at all. But current law gives an opportunity to do this.
List and map of newly created districts can be seen here.

Another change has occured on 15 July 2013, when President of the Republic granted town status for 18 former municipalities. It means they have been declared as towns from that time.
Here is a list (by counties) of them:
Kondoros in Békés county;
Onga in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county;
Aba and Csákvár in Fejér county;
Lébény in Győr-Moson-Sopron county;
Gyöngyöspata and Verpelét in Heves county;
Besenyszög and Fegyvernek in Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok county;
Tát in Komárom-Esztergom county;
Diósd, Kerepes, Piliscsaba, Őrbottyán, Sülysáp, and Újhartyán in Pest county;
Ajak in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county;
Jánosháza in Vas county.
So, 346 towns have been in Hungary since mid July of this year.
Zoltan Horvath, 18 October 2013

Wolf-teeth on Hungarian Subdivisions Flags

Ole Andersen asked following Gyarmat flag: "Are the top and bottom triangles a theme in Győr-Moson-Sopron Co.?"
It seems some designer standardizes. You can find triangles on the flag of Vaszar village , Veszprém Co, which settlement is neighbouring to Gyarmat and so is Győrszemere. On the other hand, the flag of Szany large village has no triangles . More uniformised flags: Bársonyos, Kerékteleki, Bakonyszombathely, Réde.
István Molnár, 1 December 2000

Ole Andersen asked: "Could the triangle idea be borrowed from the city of Győr?"
I think that this designer follows the triangles of the Army flags.
István Molnár, 2 December 2000

The coloured triangles set along the flag edges are traditional and typical for Hungarian flags and also in flag traditions of the
countries where Hungarian influence was strong (with that I mean not only those countries that were under Hungarian rule - like Croatia and Romania, but also those that ruled Hungary, like Austria). The pattern is called in Hungarian "wolf-teeth", if I am not much mistaken. It was used primarily on the flags of military units of (say) 17th and 18th century, and from there it was transfered to municipal flags in Hungary, to rank flags of Austria, and so on, to be used in modern times in various modifications in presidential standards of Central-European countries (Czech R., Slovakia, Austria, Croatia, Yugoslavia ...) and for example on Slovakian chief-of-town standard banners. The pure triangular teeth are, IMHO, still typical for Hungary while other nations around prefer to use some "more elaborate" variations (flamully i.e. wavy triangles, chequy patterns, stripes of various interlacing etc.) The Hungarian military flags always used the wolf-teeth, as far as I know and still do so. The usual Hungarian pattern of flags with wolf-teeth is white (or buff) flag field with the (elaborate, full) coat of arms in the middle and wolf-teeth in main coat of arms colours around. The teeth may be of one colour, or two, one at upper and one at lower edge or interlaced along three edges. The most well known case of not using white (or buff) field for such flag are the Hungarian military flags of socialist period when they are red with white teeth IIRC.
Željko Heimer, 2 December 2000

I noted in several cases (e.g. at least twice driving though cities along Balaton) common versions of flags. One was a bicolour while the other was quartered in saltire. In any case, it seems that many subdivisions of Hungary have both ceremonial and more common versions of flags, which would not be quite unexpected comparing the national flag usage, too.
If I may say so without the research, the white flags with wolf-teeth (typical for Hungary, even if not maybe the most frequent) are much less prone to be coat of armst-of-arms-less then more "classical" designs.
Željko Heimer, 23 April 2001

Flags of the Hungarian Cities and Towns in 1941

In many pages there are images of historical flags which are based on the book by Dr. Széll Sandor: Városaink neve, címere és lobogója . The book was printed in 1941. In this time these flags were on use in Hungary. Some of the settlements in the book was not part of Hungary in 1941. Some settlements used in 1941 the original flag given by the kings of Hungary in the 17-19th century. It seems no flag adopted in 1941. All flag was abandoned in 1949.
Some of them are still in use. They are:
Budapest (With or without coat of arms)
Miercurea-Ciuc (Romania)
Kecskemét (with coat of arms)
Komárom and Komárno (Slovakia)
Nyíregyháza (with coat of arms)
Budapest XX. (with coat of arms)
Sopron (but not vertical, horizontal divided)
see also:
István Molnár, 18 December 2000 and 28 Febuary 2001

Some of them is in use today:
Csíkszereda - now Miercurea Ciuc, RO.
Kézdivásárhely - now Targu Secuiesc, RO.,
Buda old flag - Budapest I. district
Kecskemét, HU (with coat of arms)
Pestszenterzsébet - Budapest XX. district (with coat of arms)
Nyíregyháza, HU (with coat of arms)
Budapest, HU (with coat of arms)
Esztergom, HU
Gyula, HU
Komárom, HU (with and without coat of arms)
Komárom - now Komárno, SK
Gyergyószenmiklós - now Gheorgheni, RO. relates to the old and renewed coat of arms
Marosvásárhely - now Targu Mures, RO. relates to the old and renewed coat of arms
Temesvár - now Timisoara, RO. this flag is in the old with new coat of arms.
Újpest - now Budapest IV, HU. relates the old and renewed coat of arms
Győr, HU. relates the old and renewed coat of arms
Zenta - now Senta, YU. this flag relates the old coat of arms.

Flags that aren't in use today:
Baja, Békéscsaba, Cegléd, Csáktornya (Cakovec, HR), Csongrád, Debrecen, Eger, Gyöngyös, Győr, Hajdúböszörmény, Hajdúnánás, Hajdúszoboszló, Hódmezővásárhely, Kaposvár, Kispest, Kolozsvár (Cluj, RO), Kőszeg, Marosvásárhely (Targu Mures, RO), Mezőtúr, Miskolc, Pápa, Pécs (but blue and yellow the colours of the flag), Szeged, Székesfehérvár, Szombathely, Vác, Veszprém, Zalaegerszeg.
István Molnár, 5 April 2001

Subdivisions Flags During the Communist Era

After 1949 the settlements couldn't use their flags and coat of arms. In the early 70's some of them created their own flag and coat of arms. The Soviet of the Ministers (the Government) made a resolution to regulate the creating and using these symbols. (The word "soviet" means council in the time of the communist era):

Resolution No. 1006/1974 (II.22.) of the Soviet of the Ministers about the creating and using local flag and coat of arms, and the granting title of the  honorary freeman.
1. The soviet has the right to create and use local coat of arms of arms and flag and grant title of the honorary freeman - according to this resolution. The rules of the creating and using of coat of arms and flag and the granting title of the honorary freeman is determined in an order  by the soviet.  At the arrangement of the order the opinion of the inhabitants has to be known and considered.
2. Local coat of arms and flag could be created by the capital soviet, city soviet, town soviet, moreover the soviet of the large village and the village soviet - by the authorization given by the Office of the Soviets of the Soviet of the Ministers considered the suggestion of the executive committee of the competent county soviet. The same rules are the standards to grant the title of honorary freeman.
3. The local coat of arms is the symbol which relates to the historical past and the nowadays typical character of the settlement; couldn't substitute the coat of arms of the Hungarian People's Republic. If the coat of arms of the Hungarian People's Republic have to be used at the time of the state administration, the local coat of arms couldn't be used. For the proposal of the local coat of arms the assent of The Lecturers of Fine Arts and Industrial Arts has to be asked.
4. The president of the soviet may permit to use of the coat of arms for not soviet organizations and he determines the conditions of the using.
5. The local coat of arms is not usable as a trade-mark for the soviet and not soviet organizations - based on the IX./1969 law about the trade-marks.
6. The local flag contains the local coat of arms and the administrative name of the settlement on an unicoloured material; couldn't substitute nor the flag of the Hungarian People's Republic either the Red Flag of the International Labour Movement.
7. The title of the honorary freeman could be granted for the excellent activity for the inhabitants of the settlement.
8. The costs of the creating and using local coat of arms and flag and granting title of the honorary freeman have to be paid by the local soviet.
9. The President of The Office of the Soviets of the Soviet of the Ministers provides for the execution of the resolution., comes to a decision in all disputed questions of execution (...)
10. This resolution becomes effective on the day of its proclamation. The orders of this resolution have to be used for the already created coat of arms and flags.

Lajos Fehér
Deputy President of the Soviet of the Ministers

This resolution is no longer valid after 1990.
István Molnár, 28 October 2000

It seems they are not in use. But some cities uses the same field as in 1974-1989 flags with the old coat of arms. For example Debrecen and Szeged. Maybe (only maybe) Balatonfüred use its 1974-1989 flag, because the settlement use its coat of arms from 1974-1989.
István Molnár, 18 December 2000