The New Building of the Museum of Etnography


The Museum of Ethnography in Budapest is an important specialised museum at European level. Now, with the inauguration of its new building in 2022, it has become one of the most modern ethnographic museums in the world.

Besides its collection of around 225,000 ethnographic objects, the museum’s holdings include exceptional photographic and film materials, manuscripts, and folk music recordings. Alongside priceless relics of Hungarian folk culture, the museum houses the biggest collection in the region of ethnographic objects representing the folk cultures of distant continents. Dating from the 17th century to the present, these objects illustrate everyday life, human existence, and community relationships in their myriad different forms.

Despite its prestige and professional recognition, the lengthy struggle for a suitable building had a significant impact on the Museum of Ethnography’s first 150 years. As the museum took possession of its new premises in March 2022, this struggle has finally come to an end.

The new building has been constructed at the entrance to the City Park, one of Budapest’s oldest green spaces, based on a design created by the company Napur Architect. Tracing a curve of 1 kilometre in diameter, the two wings of the building support a roof garden planted with a variety of shrubs and perennials, which rises to the height of the crowns of the surrounding trees. Below ground level, the almost 7,000 square metres of exhibition space will host both temporary and permanent displays. Above it can be found a bookshop, a restaurant, a library, a documentation centre, co-working facilities, a visitors’ centre, an events centre, and an interactive museum for children, making the museum an important venue in terms of the city’s cultural life.

The Ceramics Space, which can be visited free of charge, takes pride of place. Almost 4,000 ceramic objects from throughout the world are on display here, along either side of the 40 metre staircase. The building’s crowning glory is its glass facade, the entire length of which is covered with a metal grid structure, into which almost half a million pixels have been inserted, depicting selected ethnographic motifs from the museum’s Hungarian and international collections. The structure envelops and curtains the building like a tapestry woven from Hungarian and world culture. At the same time, it embodies the ethos of the collections and encapsulates both the work carried out in the Museum of Ethnography over the past 150 years and its definitive, ongoing contribution to contemporary culture.