Budapest, Hungary – There are many ways to determine the most consequential and decisive events of the past year. One of them is simply to look at the most trending Google search terms over the past 12 months.
According to Google’s annual report, these were the top and most popular search terms in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in 2019.
Hungary – Politics & cinema
1. Local elections – Although Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party came out on top nation-wide in October’s municipal elections, the ballot also marked strong gains for the opposition, which conquered the mayoral seat of Budapest and other large countryside cities following a campaign mired in controversies, personal attacks and sex-tape scandals.
2. Andy Vajna – Hungarian-American film producer Andy Vajna – responsible for bringing to screens worldwide franchises like The Terminator, Die Hard or Rambo – passed away last January at the age of 74. Appointed at the helm of the National Film Fund, Vajna was one of the main architect’s of Hungary’s film industry rebirth in recent years.
3. Notre Dame – Pictures from the fire at the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral in April circulated all around the world, and Hungary was no exception. Dozens of Hungarian cities sent donations to Paris to repay a 140-year-old favour, when France was among the majors donors to fund the restoration of the city of Szeged, almost entirely destroyed by a devastating flood in 1879.
In more specific categories, HBO’s Chernobyl was the most searched series in Hungary, while Game of Thrones topped the rankings for books and the Joker was the movie that attracted the most attention. The famous Sziget was only the third most searched festival in Hungary, behind the Strand and Volt Festivals.
Czech Republic – Music & TV shows
1. Karel Gott – The Golden Voice of Prague, king of Czech pop and among the most beloved public figures in the country, passed away in October at the age of 80. Considering the popular fervor surrounding the singer and memorial events, including a national day of mourning held in his honour, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Karel Gott was the most googled search term in the Czech Republic in 2019.
2. Most – Nope, neither ‘bridge’ nor the beautiful eponymous north-Bohemian town. It’s the Czech TV mini-series of eight episodes ‘Most!’ that made its way on the podium to become the second-highest Google trending term in the Czech Republic in 2019. Produced by Czech Television, its first season premiered last January.
3. Notre Dame – As in Hungary, Notre-Dame was the third most googled term in the Czech Republic last year, as the entire world watched with despair the Paris Cathedral, one of the most famous architectural and religious landmarks in Europe, go up in flames.
Other popular search terms in the Czech Republic last year include the iPhone 11, the Chernobyl mini-series, the Joker movie and Oscar selection The Painted Bird, as well as Jan Palach (2019 marking the 50th anniversary of the student’s tragic suicide).
Poland – Strikes & tragic deaths
1. Teachers’ strike – In March, tens of thousands of Polish teachers took to the streets and went on strike – at the height of the school exams period – to demand higher salaries and better working conditions. The protests, seen as a significant challenge to the government’s social policies, was the fastest-growing search term on Google in Poland last year.
2. Piotr Woźniak-Starak – A prominent Polish film producer, co-owner of Watchout Studio and stepson of billionaire and one of Poland’s richest man Jerzy Starak, Piotr Woźniak-Starak tragically died in a boating accident in August at the age of 39.
3. Paweł Adamowicz – The mayor of Gdansk (pictured above) was stabbed and killed during a public charity event in January by a man who blamed Adamowicz’s former Civic Platform (PO) party for his jailing years ago. The murder sent shockwaves through Poland and reignited a debate on the spread of hate speech which, according to many observers, fueled the tragic murder.
Slovakia – Championships & elections
1. Karel Gott – He may have been born in Plzen and nicknamed the Golden Voice of Prague, Karel Gott was also a beloved figure in neighbouring Slovakia, where it became the most searched term on Google in 2019 following his death in October.
2. Hockey World Championship – In May, Slovakia hosted the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship for the second time in its history as an independent country. After finishing fifth of group A, the host country sadly failed to qualify, while neighbouring Czech Republic, nominated to host the 2024 championship, finished fourth of the competition after Finland, Canada and Russia.
3. Presidential elections – One of the most decisive events in Slovakia’s modern history, the March 2019 presidential ballot saw the election of Zuzana Caputova, the youngest and first woman to take the helm of the Central European country going through an unprecedented political crisis since the murder of Jan Kuciak, in 2018.