Budapest XIII. kerületi
Berzsenyi Dániel Gimnázium

Berzsenyi Dániel Gimnázium
A Short Story of the School
Looking back on the almost 150 years since Berzsenyi Dániel Gimnázium was founded, we could mention many events. Such a long period is very important even in the history of an institution. It begins with the germanizing efforts in the years after the Hungarian War of Independence was suppressed in 1849, and spans the ideologically renewing currents of the turn of the century, rebellions and two World Wars that tilt the events of the latest times.
It can't be our aim to write a full school history within these narrow boundaries, therefore we grouped the events around the most important and outstanding years in the life of our school.
The legal predecessor of Berzsenyi was founded in the spirit of the germanizing efforts on Oct. 4th, 1858 under the name of K.K. Gymnasium in Pesth as the first state-run secondary school of the Capital. The institute got a part of the Redoubt once standing on the place of the Vigadó in ruined condition as its first building. Education began according to the rules of the teaching programme called Entwurf; that is the school had an eight-form system and studies were finished by school-leaving exams.
At first the language of education was German, but later during the years of consolidation the desire to use Hungarian in the school became stronger and stronger. So four teachers, on behalf of the staff, addressed a memorandum to the Representative of the Governing Board in the interests of the usage of Hungarian. Both the memorandum and the commentary were published in the newspaper Pesti Napló on Jan 1st, 1861. The mouthpiece of the teachers who supported German education was the Pesten Lloyd, they published their counter-statements there.
The result was that from the second term the language of education was Hungarian in the spirit of the decision of the Council. (Feb. 2nd, 1861.)
This is an important date in the life of the school because for the first time durung its existence, it had a separate building to itself. The building, which stood in Mankó street in the fifth district, was built based on the plans of Kolbenheyer and its beauty was shown by the fact that many foreign tourists came to admire it .its Chapel and ceremonial hall were decorated with famous paintings and statues by famous artists. Three of the fresco-style paintings were painted by Lotz Károly, the other three by Than Mór.
1920 is also an important date. According to a ministerial decree of that year all secondary schools were supposed to choose a patron whose name was to be included in the official name of the school. So our school became Berzsenyi Dániel Főgimnázium of the fifth district.
During the years 1941-42 two schools in Markó street, Berzsenyi and Bolyai Secondary schools specialized in sciences merged according to a VKM decree of June, 1941. From that time on, Berzsenyi functioned in the building of Bolyai school.
After the academic year of 1951-52 following a high-level party decision, Berzsenyi was moved to the XIIIth district as a slightly disguised punishment. It had to leave its building, equipment, furniture and library behind. The education-policy had two main goals with this measure: they wanted the school representing civil values to modify its profile and at the same time, they wanted to develop the district into a cultural centre by placing a high-level school into it.
After a long time - for the second time during its existence - the school moved into a new building. Although the building in Kárpát street is not so elegant as the one in Markó street used to be, now we have a place of our own, a spacious school where we can work in good conditions.
Our Traditions and Results
An ex-student of the school. Rónai Mihály András, the famous poet called his school "the oldest and best grammar school of Budapest" at the 100 year anniversary ceremony. It has always been typical of the school to employ scientists, artists and other outstanding figures of our social and cultural life as teachers who could and can spread progressive thoughts among young people who are always responsive to new things. (e. g. Ady Lajos, Benedek Marcell, Borzsák István, Cherven Flóris, Kempf József, Luttor Ignác, Marót Károly, Rómer Flóris, Vajthó László and many others.)
A great number of our students have become famous representatives of artistic, cultural and public life. Some of them even surpassed the results of their teachers. (Some examples: Alexander Bernát, Bálint György, Carelli Gábor, Gellért Endre, Károlyi Mihály, Tom Lantos, Soros György, Réz Pál, Szepesi György, Chrudinák Alajos, Vas István, Hegedus Géza, Sárközi György, Heltai Jeno, Herskó János, Klein György, Tétényi Pál, Szabad György, Koncz Zsuzsa stb.)
Hard work and high standards have always been of primary importance at our school. BDG has been on the top list of secondary schools for decades regarding their national and international competition results, the entrance exam results and the number of successfully passed language exams.
Good results continue, thanks to the excellent teachers' staff that work here. Our colleagues boast of different prizes like the Prize for outstanding work, Excellent Teacher Prize, Apáczai Csere János Prize etc. Four years ago the whole staff received the Pro Urbe Prize from the Local Council.
Our school has built up extensive international connections with Transsylvania, Italy, Germany and France. Our students have the opportunity to travel to these countries and receive guests from these countries every year.
Why do students love to attend Berzsenyi?
Because the ones who come here, find a frank, healthy, friendly atmosphere. Teacher and student are partners in the mutual job, they respect each other and rely on each other. To prove this, we could mention that many Berzsenyi students return to their Alma Mater as teachers and enjoy their work here, just as they enjoyed being a student here. We also have a so-called "Society of Old Berzsenyi Students". During the past decades we have created a new tradition with the organization of Berzsenyi Days. We have our usual summer camps for our new students every year.