Zoltán Csipke was born and raised in Los Angeles. After starting his PhD in History at the University of Liverpool in 2006, he moved to Budapest in 2007 for his research, where he has lived ever since. Zoltán’s research focused specifically on the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and collective memory, with a wider interest in the Cold War. He formerly lectured at Eötvös Loránd University and the Balassi Institute, having also been a senior editor at the All Hungary Media Group, where he focused on Hungarian politics and Budapest nightlife. He can frequently be found wandering the streets of Budapest with his camera as he indulges in his hobby of cityscape photography or providing impromptu history lessons at a table with friends in one of the city’s cafés or ruin pubs.
Runa Hellinga is a freelance journalist, writing for Dutch newspapers. She came to Hungary in 1989 when communism was just collapsing and the century’s most exciting political, economical and social changes were unfolding. From 1994, she spent a number of years in South Africa, covering the end of Apartheid in that country for the Dutch press. In 1998 she returned to Hungary as a freelancer, and has been living in the country ever since, first in Budapest and the last couple of years in the small Baroque town of Vác. In 2008 she wrote a book about Budapest, covering the city’s history and culture, but also the social and political developments from the times of the Romans until today. Together with her husband Henk Hirs (also a journalist) she organizes themed tours, covering subjects from Jugendstil architecture and the remnants of the Turkish occupation to the communist past. As a correspondent, she can also offer a lot of insight in recent Hungarian political and cultural developments. On request, she also organizes tours around special subjects like Hungarian literature or current social issues.
Henk Hirs is a Dutch radio and newspaper journalist who first came to Hungary in the summer of 1989, when the country was in the midst of pulling down the Iron Curtain. He has been reporting on its many ups and downs ever since,getting to know the people, their turbulent history, their various cultures and their impossible language in the process. Between 2006 and 2010, he was editor in chief of Business Hungary, the monthly magazine of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary. After living in Budapest for many years, in 2008 he moved with his wife, Runa (also a distinguished journalist), to the lovely little Baroque town of Vác close to the Hungarian capital. Suddenly, he got to know “the other Hungary” of gracious suburban town life. He has published several books on the country, among them a tourist guide which he updates yearly. He is also the co-author of various Dutch-language blogs on current events and tourism developments.
Csaba Tibor Tóth
Born and raised in Szeged, Csaba acquired a distinguished interest in the history of his country quite early on, finishing his BA studies in 2010 at the University of Szeged, with a double major in history and cultural anthropology. On the cultural anthropology track, he finished a thesis on the beginnings of Hungarian Jewish Folklore in the 1890’s, then he expanded on with this topic at Central European University, where he achieved a MA with Honors in 2011. In order to study Jewish history and culture in a broader context, Csaba went through a second Masters program at the University of Southampton, UK in 2012. He currently works at Budapest’s Holocaust Memorial Center in as a guide and educator, while regularly blogging in Hungarian about the country’s history and daily politics.
Hélène Bienvenu is a photojournalist, travel-writer and documentary filmmaker based in Budapest, focused on telling about the unknown and the little known in Central Europe and Eastern Europe, sometimes even stretching to Detroit, MI (where she produced a documentary). Though born French, next to Paris in 1985, she moved to Budapest in 2010 on a guidebook writing mission to Hungary for a French publisher and followed her instinct and passion for tricky languages. She has a master’s degree in international relations as well as a BA in Hungarian culture and language. She speaks Polish additionally and despite her love for Warsaw, she couldn’t resist Budapest’s calling. Passionate about the city’s “Age d’or”, Helene relishes Budapest’s contemporary underground, hip and alternative cultures. She’s a four-season urban biker in the Hungarian capital, too happy to check new ruin bars and alternative theaters, try out the latest Hungarian cuisine or barista’s achievements and dance to the sound of a traditional Táncház orchestra. She blogs and tweets all about it on Spotted By Locals Budapest.
After taking a Bachelor of Arts in History at the University of Miskolc, Hungary, Anett studied international communication at the College of Foreign Trade. She is a licensed tour guide in Budapest and specialized in introducing visitors to from the US and Canada to the complex, intriguing history of Budapest. Besides her fascination with researching Hungarian literature and and the cosmopolitan cafe scene of turn-of-century Budapest, Anett loves learning about foreign cultures and languages. In addition to her excellent English, she studies Russian and German and has recently started learning Spanish. Before deciding to guide full-time, she spent several years working for the Canadian and British Chambers of Commerce in Hungary, and also as an advertising professional at Bates Saatchi.