Minorities in Romania


Hungarians have been around for a long time in what is now Romania. Actually, Transylvania (a large part of modern day Romania) used to be (Austro-)Hungarian for quite some time. This has caused a lot of ethnic mingling. Some find this aspect of Romania threatening to the 'existence of the state' or to the 'stability of the region'. I believe that this cultural mix is an asset of great value to Romania, and that it could be a great stimulus to tourism, investment and the progress of all people in Romania.

If you're interested about the Hungarian minority in Romania, you'll  find lots of information about how they got there in the first place and  what happened afterwards in the article I wrote together with Leo Paul  on The pros and cons of autonomy rights for the Hungarian  minority in Transylvania.  You'll see that some subjects are politically  quite delicate in Romania. Bilingual signs for example are very common  in some parts of the country, but cause a great deal of stress in other  regions. Also, education is a hot point of debate wherever minorities are  concerned. In recent years, the guarantee of Hungarian-language schools  and universities was an important theme in the campaign of the UDMR, the  Hungarian minority's party. Fortunately, the supposed problems only really  seem to exist in the political sphere, and not between individuals.   

Oliver Kiss, an ethnic Hungarian journalist-in-training from Cluj/Koloszvar, Transylvania, recently wrote A democratic dream: the re-establishment of the Hungarian Bolyai University in Transylvania , about the failing attemps to re-establish the Hungarian-language Bolyai university in Cluj. Also, he wrote The Hungarian minority in power in Romania: the failure of a 'European model'? , about the failure of the Romanian-Hungarian government to reach preset goals. Note that he writes from his own specific background as ethnic Hungarian and that the opinions expressed are his own. Other people could (and will) look at the facts in a completely different light.

A wierd little section of the Hungarian minority in Romania are the Csango-Hungarians. They seem to be a seperate branch of Huns that crossed  the Carpathians into  Moldavia and settled there.

Questions? Comments? Mistakes? Improvements? Mail me! jeroen.vanmarle@berlin.de
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Last modifications: 20-10-2001