The opening of Szimpla Kert in 2002 has been literally and also symbolically a milestone in the alternative life of Budapest. Converting an old factory into a huge open-air cinema and pub, we were able to create a unique framework for hosting concerts, theatre shows and many different cultural events. Szimpla defines itself as a ’cultural reception space’, indicating our intention to embrace genres and performers off the mainstream, presenting them in an informal atmosphere. Moreover, with constantly supporting initiatives for urban sustainability, Szimpla has been serving as an ultimate incubation house of green ideas from the very beginning.
The Szimpla lifestyle is brought to life by culture, creativity and constant change day by day, everybody can make themselves at home, have a rest or have fun either in Budapest or in Berlin. Right from the beginning, our main mission is to shape our environment, making it more liveable and human friendly by searching for the cultural treasures of Hungary and the world, by introducing and managing creative talents and their products and by implementing and operating models that help sustainable development in many walks of life.
The best known of these activities is the Farmers' Market in Szimpla Kert. Besides promoting sustainable eating, probably one of the most popular markets provides an opportunity for the society from the city and the country to make conversation, and an opportunity to non-profit organisations to raise funds and promote their activities. The Common Cauldron Project, that takes place at the market, has already raised more than 15 million HUF donations for non-profit organisations and associations. This backyard attitude does not stop on the market, the Szimpla Háztáji Shop, which opened in 2013, has become a volunteer in its category, where the breakfasts, lunches and other delicacies are made from mostly first producers' products. It can be found at 7. Kazinczy Street and it is also a zöldségkosár (vegetable basket) pick up point. It also hosts free coffee, wine and pálinka courses, these are promoting civilised alcohol consumption. The kitchen of Szimpla Kert has been using ingredients mostly from the farmers' market since 2015, it is worth mentioning that every bakery product you see on the tables is made without additives in our own bakery.
The ruin pub is the post-modern culture centre. Our musical activities are surrounded by attention and love, we are way above the standards of an average club. You can visit at least three concerts for free weekly, you can see young talents very often but you can also meet world-class musicians, also. Our main focus is on finding and helping young talents, that's why we started our Szimpla Lemming Program in 2013, which have provided different forms of support to almost 40 bands.
But music does not stop at the concerts, we are very proud of Szimpla Studio, many records have started their world-conquering journeys, and of our music channels, where you can find more than a thousand music videos, music mixes and mp3s to download. Although music is the most significant art form that is represented in Szimpla Kert, you can constantly see the exhibitions of contemporary artists on the rooms upstairs, you can take part in our art workshops, you can see theatre plays, theme based film screenings, you can join the Super8 screening club or the self-awareness disco.
Civic life in Szimpla Kert
The ruin pub is a civic base. Apart from providing space every week for non-profit organisations to introduce themselves and to raise funds, we are active participants of civic life. We focus on two main areas. One of them is actively making our street, area, district more human centred, making Kazinczy Street a pedestrian area, validating more rational urban planning principles, promoting green trends and improving sustainability. Our other aim is – as a result of our composition of audience – the youth activities.
We are committed to non-formal study methods in several areas, our association, the Élő Erzsébetvárosért Egyesület, has been the coordinating organisation of the Erasmus + project since 2014 October.
Our main aim with this is to provide an opportunity to young people to actively participate in social life, to get involved in projects based on volunteer work making them involved in socially useful activities. More and more young people are discovering the learning and the networking opportunities and values due to the work of our European volunteers. Budapest Katalógus has entered the house officially also in 2016, it is to support contemporary socio-graphic research and documentation.
Our presently active civic efforts and activities:
Human-friendly, pedestrian Kazinczy Street
Zebra crossing between Kazinczy Street and Szentkirályi Street
Kazinczy Living Library (Erasmus +)
Kazinczy Open Theatre (Erasmus +)
Kazinczy Connect Café (Erasmus +)