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The House of Hungarian Music and the Museum of Ethnography

Museum of EthnographyBudapestGreater Budapest

Two special buildings in the service of tradition and education – The latest attractions of the City Park, namely, the Hungarian House of Music and the Museum of Ethnography, are worth a visit even if you’re only taking a short walk around the Park, but you can get even more out of the experience if you explore their exhibitions and events.

Music is the universal language of emotion and it is with us at every moment of our lives – just like our traditions, which give our lives a historical context. The latest attractions of the City Park, namely, the House of Hungarian Music and the Museum of Ethnography are not only impressive from the outside but also showcase these universal values through their exhibitions and programmes. The genius in the design of the two buildings is striking at first sight, as both are a departure in appearance from what we know about architecture in our everyday lives. Moreover, they represent a fantastic combination of form and function, of cultural institution and meeting place.

Sounds manifested as a building

The organic architectural concept of the Hungarian House of Music, built next to Lake Városligeti, between Vajdahunyad Castle and the Ice Rink, blurs the line between nature and man-made structures. Under the unique roof structure, next to the huge glass walls, and even inside the building, visitors will feel like they are walking in nature. The merging of man-made structure and nature is also symbolised by the decorative elements used in the suspended ceiling, which come in the form of plant leaves. Japanese starchitect Sou Fujimoto, the building's designer, has designed a special floating roof structure based on the image of a sound wave, with almost 100 lightwells on its surface to channel natural light into the interior spaces. It’s no wonder that the building, based on his design, won the 2019 London International Property Awards for the best public building in the world. In 2020, it was awarded the top prize at the US Music Cities Awards, for the world's best music-themed real estate development.


The interior of the building is also unique. The lowest floor houses an exhibition on the language of music and the treasures of Hungarian folk music, as well as a sound dome that invites visitors to experiment with everyday sounds. The park level is dedicated to performing arts, concert halls and an open-air stage, while the upstairs level is reserved for the library and educational programmes. We end our exploration in the musical playground next to the building, where not only children but also adults will enjoy the sounds that they can create by using the musical floor, windpipes, congas and other musical instruments.

In search of our traditions

Nature and the man-made world coexist in harmony in the new building of the Museum of Ethnography. Built in the former Felvonulási Square, the imposing structure – the work of NAPUR Architect, led by Marcel Ferencz – is divided into two wings that rise in opposite directions. Sixty per cent of its exhibition space is below ground level, and a 7,300 square metre park and roof garden has been created on top of its two wings. The curved roof garden serves as both a meeting point and a community space, and by climbing to its highest points you can enjoy a magnificent panorama of the City Park. At the junction of the two wings is the 1956 Revolution Memorial. The metal grid covering the buildings is decorated with motifs collected by ethnographic museums around the world.


The permanent and temporary exhibitions tell the story of the museum's collections over the last century and a half. You don't even need a ticket to enter the Ceramic Art Space, which stretches forty metres in both directions. The collection showcases the many functions of ceramic objects. In the exhibition halls, for which you will need a ticket to enter, Hungarian relics and ethnographic artefacts collected from all over world are displayed together: the Amazonian feather crown and the Japanese samurai sword are well juxtaposed with Sárköz folk architecture, showing the diversity of the museum's collection and the sophisticated nature of the related scientific work. And if you're tired of wandering around the exhibition halls, you can refresh yourself at the restaurant, snack bar or café.