Border: Austria-Hungary

Date(s) of establishment: Current demarcation in 1921
Length of border: 366 km
Regions concerned: Austria – Burgenland
Hungary – Counties of Zala, Vas and Győr-Moson-Sopron, forming the statistical region of Western Transdanubia

European programme(s):


The border between Austria and Hungary is 366 km long, and begins on the river Danube, opposite the Slovakian town of Šamorin. The border has a mostly north-south orientation, but includes a significant westward deviation at the level of the village of Tárnokréti (Hungary) creating a protruding portion of Hungarian territory into Austrian land. The border comes to an end near the village of Felsőszölnök at the Austria-Hungary-Slovenia tripoint.


This border was established for the first time in 1921, after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Austrians and Hungarians, fraternal rivals over the previous four centuries, ended up being the two big losing parties of the war. Austria wished to compensate its losses (Bohemia-Moravia, Galicia, Slovenia, Southern Tyrol) at the expense of Hungary, and the latter was unwilling to cede territory (the future Burgenland) even to its western neighbour, after having lost more than two thirds of its territory.

In the end, Hungary managed to conduct a plebiscite on the area surrounding the town of Sopron, where a majority (despite being Germanophone) voted for Hungary in December 1921. The outcome of this referendum with the historic town of Sopron staying in Hungary calmed down both parties, and there has been no dispute over the border since. This has strengthened relations between the two countries and their historic conflicts have come to a definitive end.

The integration of the “People’s Republic of Hungary’ into the Eastern Bloc in 1949 turned this border into a section of the Iron Curtain. From this point onwards, the border was essentially materialised by barbed wire and watchtowers. In 1989, this was the first border to be dismantled.

Cross-border cooperation

This cross-border region is enjoying dynamic growth. Rich in natural resources, it benefits from its numerous ecosystems and thermal springs for the development of a flourishing tourism industry. However, these orientations have a negative impact on the environment and the programme centred on the region aims to reduce this. The programme also hopes to reduce inequalities between the regions of the two countries with the aim of creating a more balanced cross-border space, and it is also observing the demographic evolution of the south of the region, whose population is in decline.

The strong growth of tourism in the region is seen in a very positive light for continued cross-border cooperation, and the programme intends to support it, by facilitating innovation in order to give new economic momentum to the region. Eco-mobility and improvement of the transport network are also priorities for the cross-border region. Indeed, the creation of structural links is the best way to bolster cross-border governance.

There are many cross-border cooperation bodies in this part of Europe, and in this context Austria and Hungary work together locally in the Euroregions West/Nyugat Pannonia and Centrope.

Photo copyright : VARGA Zoltán

Territory projects and institutional bodies for cooperation

Cross-border cooperation at the regional level

Région Centrope (Vienne-Bratislava-Brno-Győr)
Communauté de travail Alpe-Adria