The National Archives of Hungary (National Archives hereafter) – similar to other public collections and partner institutions (for instance the Hungarian National Museum, National Széchenyi Library) – preserves national treasures. The Archives keeps the largest number of the essential charters records concerned with the last 1000 years of the Hungarian history. The legal predecessor of the National Archives of Hungary was opened in line with the provisions of the Act 45 of 1723, under the name of “Archivum Regni” (The Archives of the Country) in 1756, Pozsony, which was the capital of the country that time. The institution moved in 1784 to Buda. In 1874-75, through expanding its sphere of competence, the Archives became responsible for the records of those governmental offices which had not operated since the Compromise of 1867 as well as the archival documents of the newly established ministries and chief courts. That meant an essential reorganization for the Archives. The institution received that time new name: National Archives of Hungary. Its former department, the New Central Archives of Hungary preserved the documents of the post-1945 period from 1970 to 30 July 1992. Then, according to the Act LXXXIII of 1991 the New Central Archives of Hungary and the National Archives was united under the original name. The National Archives of Hungary has been operating as organ of the Hungarian National Archives. The archival documents related to the central legislative, administrative (except the national defence) and legal bodies as well as the records of the public offices, institutions (except the universities and the colleges), bodies, associations and all those economic bodies, families and individuals which are important in national level fall to the National Archives’ sphere of collection and competence. The Act LXXXIII of 1991 made the Archives responsible for the records of Hungarian Workers’ Party (Magyar Dolgozók Pártja, MDP 1948-1956) and the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (Magyar Szocialista Munkáspárt, MSZMP 1956-1989). The task of the institution is the recovery of those records belonging to foreign archives which relate to Hungary as well as the collection of the copies made on these documents. According to the amendment of the Act LXVI of 1995, the records of the former ruling party in the single-party state, the MDP and the MSZMP, as well as the social and youth organisations belonged to them form the possessions of the state. Thus, the public records which had been preserved by the Archives of the Institute of Political History before were taken under the control of the National Archives. By the said Act the records of the Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) and the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (MSZMP), the documents of the social organisations (Hungarian Partisans’ Union, Hungarian Federation of Resistance Fighters and Antifascists, Democratic Alliance of Hungarian Women, The National Council of Hungarian Women) youth organisations (Hungarian Democratic Youth League, Union of Working Youth, Hungarian Young Communist League, National Association of People’s Colleges, Association of Hungarian Pioneers) of these parties belong to the state possessions just as the documents of the National Council of the Trade Unions, the other trade union councils and the trade unions of several sectors are possessed by the state. Records of the Archives The records – despite that the World War II and the Revolution of 1956 resulted huge damages there – have perpetually increased. Thus, not only the main building (where the documents created before 1945 are housed), but two other buildings are opened for the visitors as well. The first in that order similar to the main building, located in the Buda Castle, in the Hess András tér exactly (the records of the governmental bodies created after 1945 are kept there), while the other one is situated in the Bécsi út, in a building built in 1994 (besides the microfilms, the records of the economic governmental bodies, firms are preserved there). The website of the Archives gives a precise review over the records, here only few crucial items of the collection started with the deed of foundation of Veszprémvölgy issued by King Kálmán in 1109 (which is the transcript of Saint István’s charter in Greek and Latin) are highlighted. Regrettably, the medieval royal archives created before 1526 was dispersed and partly perished by the tempest of the history. The documents of that period are represented by the Archives of Diplomatic containing charters which have been taken from several collections since the end of the last century. Although, these are crucial sources of the medieval history of Hungary, it is necessary to emphasize that the said collection means just some part of the documents created in the medieval Hungary. On the other hand, the Archives has collected large number of copies (Diplomatic Photo Collection) made on charters from Hungarian and foreign archives’ collections. Since 2010 the whole collection of photos has been available on the website of the Archives. Among the records of the period 1526-1867 it is necessary to highlight the archives of the central governmental bodies. The archives of the Chancellery (1526-1848), the Locotential Council (1727-1848), the Hungarian Treasury (1529-1848) and the Hungarian Treasury Archives (containing valuable family, private and ecclesiastical papers, furthermore the series of et conscriptiones, conscriptiones portarum, regesta decimarum), the Szepes Chamber (1551-1813), the Directorate of Legal Affairs (18th-19th century), moreover the Archives of Transylvanian Chancellery (1686-1848), the Transylvanian chapters and governmental authorities (the archives of the Chapter of Gyulafehérvár and the national archives of the Convent of Kolozsmonostor which contain the fragments of the correspondence of the princes of Transylvania, the archives of the Gubernium Transylvanicum and the High Commission, National Audit Office and the Treasury) are vital sources of the public, economic, social and cultural history. The judicial archives created since 1526 (Supreme Court, Personalis, the Protonotary of Palatine and the Lord Chief Justice, the Tavernicus as well as the archives of the District Courts and the fragments remained from the archives of the Transylvanian Royal Court of Appeal) mean a vital source base for the research on legal history. The Archives of the Ministry of 1848-49 includes the records related to the central authorities operated during the Revolution and War of Independence, 1848-49. The documents concerned with the governmental bodies of the age of Austrian absolutism (after the defeat of the Hungarian freedom fighters) as well as the records of the Hungarian and Transylvanian Chancellery (re-established in 1860-61), the Locotential Council, Gubernium can be found in the said archives. It is necessary to note the so called Archivum Regnicolaris which is formed by the records of Archivum Regni (Archives of the Protonotary of Palatine, 1555-1848, the archives of the feudal county, parliamentary records and documents of adjustment the frontiers as well as the national censuses of 1715 and 1720) concerned with the period preceded the reorganisation carried out in 1874. The family archives, moreover the documents of several bodies, associations and masonic organisations are incredibly valuable. The collections housed in the Archives are popular among the researchers. For instance the Collection of Seals which consists of mostly the squeeze mouldings of the seals created before 1526. The seal mouldings of the post-1526 period are preserved there as well. Among them the documents belonging to two important figures of the history of Hungary in the 19th century: Lajos Kossuth and György Klapka, are the most valuable ones. The parliamentary papers and documents related to the administrative and legal organisations can be found among the records of parliament and the central governmental bodies of the late modern period (1867-1944) succeeded the Compromise of 1867. According to their importance, the Archives of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (since 1918), Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Agriculture are highlighted. The records of the Archives concerned with the post-1945 decades are steadily growing. The records of the Hungarian Workers’ Party (MDP) and the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (MSZMP) preserved among the documents of the period, 1948-1989 which were transferred to the Archives in 1992. The records of the political parties’ central, regional bodies and their units in Budapest and Pest County are one of the most crucial sources of that age. The collection of the documents dealing with the top organisations, such as the Board, the Central and Political Committee, the Secretariat and the papers of Kádár János (kept separately) are remarkable. Records (preserved by the National Archives of Hungary) concerned with economics are essential in case of researching the economic history of Hungary. Documents created from the 17th century up to present days can be found among them. It is necessary to highlight in that category the fonds of the Hungarian National Bank, the Central Corporation of Banking Companies, and the banks which were nationalised after the World War II (for instance the Hungarian General Credit Bank Co., Hungarian Commercial Bank of Pest Co.) other banking institutions, moreover mining and industrial companies. The National Archives possesses rich microfilm collection. The particular Hungarian history (Turkish rule for 150 years after 1526; the isolation of Transylvania in the 16-19th centuries; Hungary was part of the Habsburg Empire, then the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy till 1918) makes important the collection of the copies of records related to Hungary but kept in foreign archives. As the result of research carried out in the neighbouring and other European countries as well as in the United States, documents belonging to several foreign fonds are available in microfilms in the Archives.
The National Archives of Hungary performs extensive publication, the issues of the institution: http://www.mnl.gov.hu/bal_menusor/hasznalat/kiadvanyok.html
I Central Building Address: 1014 Budapest, Bécsi kapu tér 2-4.
Postal address: 1250 Budapest, Pf. 3.
Telephone: (+36 1) 225-2800 (central), (+36 1) 225-2840 (researchers’ room) Fax: (+36 1) 225-2817
Building II Address: 1014 Budapest, Hess András tér 5.
Postal address: 1250 Budapest, Pf. 3.
Telephone: 225-2860 (central), 225-2887 (researchers’ room) Fax: 225-2892
Building III Address: Budapest, Lángliliom u. 4.
Postal address: 1250 Budapest, Pf. 3.
Telephone: 437-0660 Fax: 437-0695
Building IV Address: Budapest, Úri u. 54-56.
Postal address: 1250 Budapest, Pf. 3
Telephone: (+36 1) 355-6857 (restoration lab), (+36 1) 356-1249 (bookbindery)