Awards and prizes:
Hungary has traditionally had a complex system of state awards and scholarships. The basic structure dates back to the previous (communist) regime; in addition to the existing list, each minister adds at least one new award. On the last 15 March national holiday, 16 awards were allocated to 63 people (or ensembles in a couple of cases). Most of these bear the name of a renowned Hungarian artist: e.g., the Liszt Award is given to 8 musicians each year. Monetary prizes and various lifetime advantages accompany these awards.
Nearly as many state awards are also given to personalities in the cultural life of the country, from the Knight’s Cross to the Kossuth Prize. The latter is given to around 20 people each year, usually including several artists, with a financial bonus that is equivalent to half a months’ average income (as stipulated by law).
Five artists are awarded the title of Excellent Artist each year, and ten become Worthy Artists, rewarded with a half and one third of the amount of the Kossuth Prize (all these awards are tax free).
The top distinctions are the Order of St. Stephen (originally founded by Maria Theresa in 1764) as well as the Corvin Chain. This latter is held by twelve people at a time, about half of whom are usually from the cultural sector. This award was originally founded by Admiral Horthy in 1930, renewed by the first Orbán-government (1998-2002), and again in 2012.
Twelve people can enjoy the benefits of the title of Actor (or Actress, the Hungarian language does not use gender) of the Nation at one time.
Holders of all the above recognitions can be promoted to the Artist of the Nation award. At any one time 70 people over 65 – or in the case of dance and circus art, over the age of 50 – can bear this title, in ten categories:
- 12 literature
- 10 theatre
- 10 visual arts
- 10 music
- 7 crafts & design
- 6 architecture
- 6 film
- 3 folklore
- 3 dance
- 2 photography
- 1 circus
Artists of the Nation receive life annuity, the amount of which is 23 times the current minimum amount of the old-age pension, currently HUF 655 thousand 500.
Grants and scholarships:
The system of one-year (renewable) state grants has been developing and expanding since 1955. Scholarships are available for nearly 100 people, under 35 years, in each of the following fields: fine arts, photography, design, applied arts, art criticism, literature, play writing, composition, musicology, music criticism, jazz and classical musicianship. MMA annually bestows 3-year cultural grants to another 100 people annually with no age restriction. Recipients of these grants get 200 000 HUF a month (ca. €550).
In 2020, the Petőfi Literary Museum launched the Térey Grant, for 45 writers between 35-65 years of age, for up to 5 years, for a monthly grant of around the average salary in the country.
These schemes have been crowned by the regimes operated by MMA, presented in chapter 4.1: the allowances that the members of the Academy and the Artists of the Nation receive.
Artists and cultural operators can also apply for scholarships and grants in the general schemes operated by the Hungarian Scholarship Board Office (Magyar Ösztöndíj Bizottság). Senior experts, artists and researchers may seek opportunities to study and work in various countries all over the world through the Hungarian National Eötvös Scholarship (Magyar Állami Eötvös Ösztöndíj). There are also scholarships available to artists from the Collegium Hungaricum in Rome.