Borders I.

Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia 2013. 6x6 medium format on colour negative film

A part of Hungary’s borders, those with Slovakia, Austria and Slovenia were opened on the 21st of December, 2007, as part of the Schengen treaty. It meant that Hungarians could, from that moment on, cross the country without any passport or any control. It was Freedom again. Freedom after such a long time, after the iron-curtain, the cold war decades with the west, after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Hungary joined the European Union, along with 9 other new members from the former Eastern Block countries, in May 2004. This was a big step for these countries; becoming finally members of the elite team and thus ending the 50-year old sovietique condemnation. For us, Hungarians, this was really a big step.

Previously to the opening of the borders, each side of the border crossing would have restaurants, money changing offices, cafes. The parking lots would be filled with cars and people, long lines of cars and passengers waiting to pass the border, have their passports and the contents of the car booth be controlled by the border-patrols, along such lines as: NON-EU, EU, car, lorry.

These days are gone. The borders are now open, and border control buildings are standing empty, closed off, the flat roofs of the 60’s designed buildings slowinly growing over with grass and bushes. The areas around the borders are deserted.

Hungary has in total 2246 km of borders, from which the Schengen borders are 1137 km.