Ministates - Pressburg

This is a (hopefully) mini series of miniposts about ministates, in somewhat Wikipedia-like form.

Previous installments are here, here and here.

Pressburg City State

  • Name: Pressburg (German), Pozsony (Hungarian), Prešporok (Slovak), Wilsonstadt (de iure still official)
  • Official languages: German, Hungarian, Slovak
  • Religion: Roman Catholic
  • Government: City state led by a City Council, represented by a Mayor
  • Mayor: Andreas Scheibner
  • Preceded by: Otto Habsburg-Lothringen
  • Independence:
    • from Astria-Hungary, League of Nations mandate: 1919
    • Independent city state: 1925
  • Area: Total 176.69 km²
  • Population: 340 thousand (2011 census)
  • Currency: Euro (EUR), currency union with Austria
  • Time zone: CET
  • Drives on the: right
  • Calling code: +422
  • ISO 3166 code: PB
  • Internet TLD: .pb

Pressburg is a city state occupying both banks of the River Danube and the left bank of the River Morava. It borders Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.

Pressburg is a member of European Union (it joined the EU on 1 January 1995, together with Austria), however it delegates much of its activities to Austria, inherited from the previous custom and monetary union. Thus in [relation to the EU stands somewhere between other European microstates and "real" EU members.

Modern History

Before World War I, the city had a population that was 42% ethnic German, 41% Hungarian and 15% Slovak (1910 census). After World War I and the formation of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918, it was briefly considered to incorporate the city was incorporated into the new state. However, the reluctance of city representatives (the city even renamed itself Wilsonstadt, to appeal to Woodrow Wilson) was accepted at the Spa Conference in 1920, during which it was decided to leave the city under the mandate of the League of Nations for 10 years, followed by the referendum on the city future, where the inhabitants overwhelmingly decided for the independence.

During WWII, the city remained neutral, mostly thanks to the existence of three major fascist political parties that seldom agreed on anything. These were Pressburger Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, a party that sought annexation by Nazi Germany; Pressburger Nazionale Partei, a party that emphasised the Pressburg independence and organization of the country along fascist lines; and Pozsonyi Mozgalom, a party that sought annexation by Hungary.

WWII period also saw increasing marginalization and discrimination of Pressburg Jews, who were slowly stripped out of their civil rights and eventually confined to the Jewish Ghetto.

During Operation Margarethe, Germany occupied Pressburg and placed the city under military administration; the city was formally annexed by the Germany in August 1944. The Germans promptly destroyed the Jewish ghetto and deported its about 2000 inhabitants to extermination concentration camps - only few of them survived the war.

After WWII, Pressburg has been restored as an independent country, under a condition of maintaining strict military and diplomatic neutrality. The city state established monetary and custom union with Austria in 1956 and continued its existence during the cold war in close collaboration with Austria.

Given its origin and history, Pressburg is often called "the last true remnant of Austria-Hungary“.

Media Broadcasting In Pressburg

Radio broadcasting in Pressburg started in 1926. Originally a modest local broadcasting, its German language content and good reception possibilities made the station an attractive listening target in Austria as well.

After WWII, Österreichischer Rundfunk held monopoly for radio broadcasting in Austria. German language radio station Pressburger Runfunk III oriented on popular music has been immensely popular in eastern Austria. This prompted the establishment of Radio Karoline, the first private radio station broadcasting for Austrian audience in 1962 (originally on medium wave), followed by other radio and TV stations. The location of the city provides good coverage of east Austria and Vienna.

Pressburg is the only country with regular FM radio broadcasting in both OIRT and CCIR bands. It was also the first country to start regular broadcasting in DVB-T (in 1998), but also the last country in the European Union to stop free-to-air analogue PAL broadcasting (in 2016).

Pressburg was noted for its indiscriminating leasing of radio frequencies - most notably, during much of the 1970s, both Radio Free Europe and Radio Moscow were broadcasting on medium wave from the same radio mast.

Lax licensing policy created a truly European giant in television industry - as of 2015, there were more than 260 active TV licenses, broadcasting to many European countries. This lead to rather congested radio spectrum and numerous complains and lawsuits from neighbouring countries. Pressburg is the seat of the headquarters of SES AG, global telecommunication company operating a fleet of DTH broadcasting satellites. The first paid pan-European satellite porn TV channel also started broadcasting from Pressburg (an achievement that the Pressburgers are not particularly fond of).


That's fantastic, and interesting. I had no idea the city was like that at one time. In our past that is..
That's fantastic, and interesting. I had no idea the city was like that at one time. In our past that is..

An Austro-Hungarian city in a Czechoslovak sea is an apt way of putting it. As with much of the population changes throughout the 20th Century, Pressburg turned into Bratislava with the twisting fortunes of war.

Great wikibox, in all. :3
Language Development

Before World War I, the city had a population that was 42% ethnic German, 41% Hungarian and 15% Slovak (1910 census). From the beginning, German has been the prestigious language, with Hungarian having a distinct second position. Hungarians have been usually bilingual in German, but the opposite was more often not the case. Slovak has been the language of countryside and of the poor city quarters.

In 1929, Slovak has been officially recognized as a third official language, equal to German and Hungarian (the local language policy was within the prerogatives of the city council). Obviously this has been done in the light of the incoming plebiscite of the city future, with the aim to win some Slovak votes, This was also aimed at several surrounding villages that were subject to a separate referendum about their future (and it might have actually made a difference in the case of Ratschdorf). Slovak still remained a third rate language.

By the beginning of WWII, situation has been already skewed in favour of German - at the 1938 census, about 64% of inhabitants claimed to use German as their primary language.

After WWII, it is estimated that at least 10% of ethnic Germans fled from the city, and another 10% preferred to be considered Hungarians or even Slovaks (fearing repressions).

Following the custom union with Austria, German language again regained its prestigious status, and the use of Hungarian and Slovak declined. Many Pressburgers also moved to live in Wolfstal (commuting to Pressburg), and after Hungary joined the EU, also to Dunacsún in Hungary.

After 1989 (and especially after Slovakia joined the EU), Pressburg experienced significant surge of Slovak immigrants, but German still remains the primary language of administration, commerce and everyday life.