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Simple Garden


The opening of Szimpla Garden 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.

Our district Erzsébetváros has got onto the cognitive map of young people - living mostly out of the district back in these days. People, energies and desires had been focused in Szimpla Kert, aiming a new attitude towards the everyday usage of public and semi-public places in the city.

With the alternative utilisation of an old building – sentenced to demolition – we managed to direct some attention to hidden and forgotten values and potentials of the city. The 2003-2004 boom of ’ruin-pubs’ has proved the validity of our concept (see: ’Living captives of kertdom’, L.A. Times 03/05/2007).

Beside hosting cultural products and events, Szimpla established its own film distribution profile and had been running an open-air art house cinema (the only one in Budapest in 2002-2004). SzimplaFilm organises the AniLogue, a yearly animation film festival well known in Europe. Since 2009 the AniLogue screening venues are divided between Budapest and Vienna.

Szimpla Berlin has been running since 2009 in Friedrichshain/Berlin, with the aim of exporting Eastern-European alternative culture and importing intriguing cultural phenomenons from Berlin to Budapest. The opening of a second concert hall as the ’bigger brother’ of the Szimpla in Berlin in September this year shows the viability of this idea.

Meanwhile, Szimpla seeks to lead by example in canalising local civil efforts: an ’Information Bar’ was opened by the AZÉRT7 association and Szimpla Kert in June 2011 with the purpose of bringing the neighboorhoud, the public of the local pubs, the kerts, the companies and the local government of Erzsébetváros closer to each other. Our goal is to create and support a system which is based on common responsibility and aim to take action and help to make the city better to live in. We are organising house meetings to create a new forum of the direct change of opinions. We have a petition to make Kazinczy street (the street of Szimpla Kert) a pedestrian street. The office intends to continue the tradition of Szimpla Kert, that we give place to civil associations and co-working.

As a novel profile, a new, small Szimpla is to be opened in October this year in Vác/Hungary, with special focus on the products of local producers and the possibilities of connecting the urban consumers with organic producers in the country directly.

"Szimpla Kert (Simple Garden) is the pioneer of our ruinpubs. It is really a cult place giving new trends. Undoubtedly the best known ruinpub among the locals and the tourists, as well.

A little Szimpla-history: 2001: the beginning, the heroic age of ruinpubs; after the ’Little Szimpla’ in Kertész street, Szimpla Kert opens in Király street. Little Szimpla later moved to another place (where Iskola can be found today), while Szimpla Kert has been in Kazinczy street 14 since 2004.

Well, it can be anywhere, its atmosphere will always charm you (our favourite piece now is the table made from an old Trabant car). Its programs are as wide and unique as its atmosphere; there is place for the open-air cinema (which is the distributor of its films), for the film festivals and exhibitions, just like for the bicycle fairs, or for the houseplants left there for keep and care. If you want another round, we draw your attention to the other members of the Szimpla-nerwork: the Szimpla Café or its unit in Berlin in Gärtnerstrassen"

14 Kazinczy Street, 1075 Budapest
+36 20 261 8669
Simple Garden