It was called the ‘picnic that changed the world’ and visitors to Sopron, Hungary are here to celebrate the 25th anniversary.
On August 19th 1989, the border with Austria was opened up allowing more than 600 East Germans under Communist rule to flee to the West.
“The events brought Germany and Hungary together in 1989,” said euronews correspondent Attila Magyar reporting from the picnic, “because it was the beginning of the end of the Iron Curtain in Europe. Nowadays relations between the West and Budapest are colder, but the world will never forget what happened here.”
How times have changed. The Hungarian Prime Minister has been an outspoken critic of the EU, which has equally questioned some of his policies.
Despite the present tensions, many visitors were more interested in remembering the past.
“It’s only the Hungarians who deserve to be applauded,” said one man who attended the original picnic in 1989, “It’s unbelievable. This place is history. No question, it’s absolutely history.”
No one could have predicted that the Iron Curtain would be brought down by al fresco dining.
However, the picnic set in motion a chain of events that would in the space of three months lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall.