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Celebrate Scotland’s national day with dancing and whisky at the Marriott

To celebrate Scotland’s national day of St Andrew’s this year, the Marriott Hotel is hosting a lavish ball this Saturday, overlooking Chain Bridge. Completed by Scot Adam Clark, this iconic crossing is one of a number of ties between Budapest and Scotland. Apart from the talented engineer himself, Jane Haining Quay and St Columba’s Church are all pay tribute to the Scottish presence here. Thanks to ball organisers, the St Andrew’s Association, Scottish culture is kept alive in Budapest – and all are welcome to link arms once more in the grand hall of the Marriott, with kilts, dancing and whisky aplenty.

When the Chain Bridge is usually dressed in blue lights, it marks a special occasion. Although the landmark is closed for renovation in 2021, in previous years, on 30 November, the St Andrew’s Association has organised these illuminations in the colours of the Scottish flag.

The Scots’ national day is named after one of the disciples, St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland. As well as celebrating their namesake apostle, the St Andrew’s Association also supports children’s charities in Hungary. Promotion of Scottish culture includes events such as this Saturday's authentic Scottish ceilidh.

But the occasion involves more than just whisky and dancing. It also showcases the long-lasting relationship between Scotland and Budapest. Not every capital is fortunate enough to say that its most beautiful bridge was completed by Edinburgh-born engineer Adam Clark, who settled in Budapest after his great work was finished.

Clark married a Hungarian and raised his family here. A plaque at Ybl Miklós tér 6 near the Semmelweis Museum of Medical History shows where they lived, and marks the date when Clark died, 23 June 1866.

The inscription also details that the Scot built the Tunnel behind the Chain Bridge. This provides the inspiration for a legend told to Hungarian children, that the lions on the bridge are towed inside the tunnel when it’s raining.

As well as being a respected figure in Hungary, taught at history lessons in school and honoured with a bust on Városligeti körút, Adam Clark is also the name of the square by Chain Bridge.

Moving to the Pest side, the embankment there carries the name of Jane Haining, Scotland’s only Holocaust hero. Matron of the girls’ home at the Scottish Mission Church, Haining saved many lives as the war took its terrible course.

And lastly, the Church of Scotland is also present here and they run St Columba’s Scottish Presbyterian Church on Vörösmarty utca. The Scots mission set up here in 1841 and has continued to serve as a welcoming community that gathers for English-speaking worships in the Presbyterian/Reformed tradition every Sunday.

So, the Scottish presence is alive and well here in Budapest today, the city full of memories inspired by Scots. Hungarians are also partial to whisky and dancing, so a ceilidh might just be the best tonic to seal the deal.

Event information

St Andrew's Ball
Budapest Marriott Hotel
1052 Budapest, Apáczai Csere János utca 4 
Saturday, 27 November, from 6pm 
Register at 


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