Even though the 1950s weren’t the most carefree times in Hungary’s history, happiness still found its way to Lake Balaton – as these archive photos from the Fortepan collection testify.
The 1950s were very turbulent in Hungary. Still, amid it all, another world also existed, one with girls doing their make-up, writers on holiday and proud sailors smiling on their boats. This world can be viewed thanks to archive photographs from the public resource Fortepan, all of which were taken around Lake Balaton between 1950 and 1959.
A class on a trip to Balatonfüred in 1950.
1951, the dock at Balatonfüred – a girl does her make-up.
1951, Balatonfüred, sailing champion and Olympian Dr Miklós Tuss, who designed famous Balaton sailboats.
Pioneer camp in Balatonlelle, in 1952, with a banner in the background supporting Mátyás Rákosi, Hungary’s authoritarian leader.
A delicatessen in Balatonfüred in 1953.
Politicians at the opening ceremony of a radio station in Balatonszabadi in 1953.
The promenade at Balatonalmádi in 1954.
A couple photographed at the foot of Badacsony, on the way to Kisfaludy-ház, in 1954.
Badacsonytomaj from Badacsony, an aerial shot from 1954.
A screw steamer on the lake in 1955.
Back in 1955, the narrow-gauge railway was mostly used by workers and not tourists.
Vásártér utca in Balatonfüred looked very different back in 1955.
Also taken at Balatonfüred's Vásártér utca in 1955, this photo shows tractor drivers in what appears to be space suits.
1955, Tihany, the party’s summer resort.
Summer camp in Balatonberény in 1956.
1956, politician Imre Nagy on the terrace of Zabó-ház. According to the database, the photo was taken a day before the 1956 Uprising he led, but that’s probably not the case given the summery clothes.
Building Socialism with comrades from the Far East in 1957 at the party’s summer resort in Balatonőszöd.
The construction of a row of buffets in Siófok in 1957.
A convertible at the Szántód ferry in 1957.
Cameraman György Illés and his cousin, film editor Éva Kármentő, filming a movie in 1958.
Inflatable toys were integral to Lake Balaton even in 1958.
Sunglasses were also in fashion – this photo was taken in Tihany in 1958.
Római út in Badacsonytomaj saw the emergence of new hairstyles in 1959.
Motel in Glatz Henrik utca in Siófok with an advertisement from 1959.
Writer László Németh in his Tihany holiday home in 1959.
Fun times in Badacsonytomaj in 1959.