Diary

Memorable programs, memorable people

20 February 2019

A Day in the Imperial City

Austria and Hungary are linked together by close ties of history, countless cultural connections, intertwined lives and events. Thus, the day of the presidential encounter in Vienna promised to be a special one. While János met with the President of the Republic of Austria, also committed to the environment, together with Doris Schmidauer, the Austrian First Lady, I visited the wonderful collections of the Albertina Museum. The special wing of the imperial palace has for centuries been the treasure house of Austrian fine arts and of the art history of the whole of Europe. The recently opened exhibition entitled “From Rubens to Makart” comes from the collection of Count Liechtenstein and features magnificent paintings and perfectly formed sculptures. During the day spent in the Austrian capital, János and I had the chance to explore countless relics of Hungarian history. At the premises of the Hungarian Archives in Vienna, under the guidance of András Oross we marvelled at the seal of King Béla the 4th, the famous Rákos decree, as well as at the appointment of Ignác Semmelweis, professor of obstetrics, signed by Franz Joseph. We also attended the inauguration of the statue of Semmelweis, on the campus of the Vienna Medical University. The statue of the “saviour of mothers” was erected by the Budapest Semmelweis University for the people of Vienna to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Semmelweis’ birthday. With this present, the memory of the world-famous Hungarian obstetrician is at last duly recognised at his former university, in the city where he began his medical practice. Through him, Vienna and Budapest were once again joined in the courtyard of the medical university.