As the crow flies, Debrecen lies at more than 1200 kilometres from the Netherlands. Despite this distance, our forefathers left their traces there as well. Those who visit Debrecen will therefore meet a few old friends…
After Budapest, Debrecen is the second city of Hungary. It has more than 200,000 inhabitants who mainly work in the textile, pharmaceutical and food industry. Traditional crafts (ceramics, shoes) are alive and kicking. It is typical for a city that develops and yet has been able to retain a convivial village atmosphere.
The centre is easily accessible. From the station you will walk more or less automatically through the main street to the Nagytemplom, the Great Church. It is a well-chosen name, because this church in classicist style offers place to no less than 3,000 Calvinists. Debrecen is home to the Hungarian Reformed Church and is known as the ‘Rome of Calvinism’. It is therefore not surprising that the city accommodates the Reformed Theological University. This is where we find the portrait of Johannes Calvijn.
Further on, we meet another Dutchman: Admiral Michiel de Ruyter. It was he who freed 26 reformed pastors from Neapolitan galleys (1676). As a token of gratitude for this heroic act, a memorial was erected. A cast of the wreath that Pope John Paul II laid down as an apology for the persecution of Protestants in the 16th and 17th century lies at the foot of the monument.
Debrecen is located many kilometres away but is easy to reach. The airport is situated only 5 kilometres south of the city. The atmosphere is relaxed, partly due to the absence of large hordes of tourists. It is an original destination.
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