Budapest pub fined for planting trees on barren downtown street

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The opposition district mayor of Budapest’s downtown 7th district, Péter Niedermüller, came under fire recently because his office fined a district pub for planting trees outside its location on an otherwise barren street, news portal Mandiner reports.

The Szimpla Kert on Kazinczy street, in the heart of the Hungarian capital’s former Jewish district, is on a street otherwise completely lacking trees or any other greenery. Ten years ago, the owners of the hugely popular pub planted a couple of saplings in barrels, saying this was all they could do until the district decided to plant trees there. Now, however, the district administration fined the pub 15,000 forints (€41) for putting the trees on a public sidewalk without authorization.

While the fine is largely symbolic, every forint now counts for restaurateurs who had been closed for months. According to the district’s Facebook page, pub owner Ábel Zsendovits is dismayed by the decision, especially because the district made public its plan to eventually plant trees there.


“Péter Niedermüller, who has been hailed by the environmental, climate-conscious, freedom and youth party political forces demanding extra help from businesses, is ruthlessly crushing timber crime. The local Schutzstaffel fines the restaurant, which has been closed for months and has become one of Budapest’s trademarks for keeping a tree in a tub in front of its own entrance (for years) at its own expense,” HVG columnist András Hont wrote. 

The Schutzstaffel that Hont refers to is the German SS, the Nazi Party’s paramilitary organization.

Title image: Saplings in barrels outside the Szimpla Kert pub in Budapest’s 7th district.

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