Siposné Kecskeméthy, K. (2015). Ludovika Academy and the officer training at the National University of Public Service. Hungarian Educational Research Journal, 5(4), 54-66, DOI :10.14413/herj.2015.04.05.
Ludovika Academy and the officer training at the National University of Public Service
Klára Siposné Kecskeméthy
The national officer training and education has centuries-old tradition. Ludovika Academy was a real stronghold of the Hungarian military culture, an educational institution of paramount importance. This tradition and spirit was continued by the successor military academies and universities. The spirituality and values of the academy have been carried by the Faculty of Military Sciences and Officer Training of the National University of Public Service.
Keywords: military higher education, Ludovika Academy, National University of Public Service, Faculty of Military Sciences and Officer Training, military BSc and MSc degree programs
Ludovika Academy historical background
The army officer training has centuries-old traditions. The Ludovika name synonymous with national officer training was connected to the Hungarian national aspirations as well as to the establishment and the need for the modernization of an independent Hungarian army.
A number of educational institutions have contributed decisively to the national officer training, but above all, we must underline the Ludovika Academy, not undervaluing the merits of War Academy, Zrínyi Miklós Military Academy and the Zrínyi Miklós National Defence University.
Throughout the history of the Ludovika Academy many Acts have been passed, which decisively influenced and affected the spirit, morality, education and training by the institution. They also represent certain stages of development of the institution.
The Parliament enacted the establishment of the Ludovika Military Academy by Act VII of 1808. The objective was the creation of well-trained, quality officers, according to which the country's defence policy was important not only in their time, but in the future, too. Accordingly, their sons could fight for their homeland by military force and military science, too. The main purpose of the academy was that youth receive an education, to be able to usefully defend the homeland, serve in the event of military uprisings and in the public service.
Maria Ludovika of Austria-Este, third spouse of Francis I, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary donated 50,000 Forints
for the construction of the Academy. As a salute to her generosity, the institution was named after the Austrian Empress. However, it took almost seven decades until education could begin at the Ludovika Academy. With additional public donations and patriotic contributions like that of Count Buttler János, who personally contributed 12,000 Forints, a sufficient amount was collected. The Hungarian nobles donated 800,000 Forints.
Francis I donated the building of Collegium Theresianum in Vác to the future academy, but education did not start. Act XVII of 1827 described the sale of the Theresianum building and set up a military academy in Budapest.
Money from the sale of the Vác real estate as well as available collected grants for the purpose of a military academy allowed the purchase of the Orczy Garden from the Orczy family. The free royal city of Pest and chamberlain Festetics Antal donated territory and garden to the academy, too. The foundation stone of the academy was laid by Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary in 1831.
The construction work led by famous neoclassical architect Pollack Mihály was completed in 1836. The officer training did not start, because the court, the imperial government and the war council posed obstacles to the operation of the Pest Ludoviceum. The building stood empty for years.
In 1838, after the Great Flood of Pest, flood victims were accommodated in it. The high-value collection of the National Museum was placed there as well. When the National Museum was built, the Ludovika building was again unused and empty. Kossuth Lajos and Széchenyi István raised the idea of utilizing the building.
Kossuth wrote articles in the Pesti Hírlap complaining that 35 years had passed since the idea of an independent military academy and it had still not opened its doors.
In the same issue of the journal he suggested that the building, which was mostly empty, could be temporarily utilized for the Hungarian engineer training.
The organization of military education began forty years later at the Ludovika, during the 1848/1849 Revolution and Freedom Fight.
One of the most important tasks of Mészáros Lázár, the Minister of Defence, was the organization and launch of the Hungarian War Academy. The academy was solemnly inaugurated on January 7, 1849. The Pest-Buda occupying Austrian military authorities banned the operation of the institution on January 17.
The real start of the Hungarian national officer training was allowed only after the 1867 Austro-Hungarian Compromise. For the Royal Hungarian Army created by the Act of 1868 officers had to be trained.
The existence, reorganization and regulation of the academy were enshrined in Act XVI of 1872 to function as the Royal Hungarian Ludovika Military Academy, and it opened its doors on November 21, 1872.
In Act XXXIV of 1883, due to the reorganization of the academy's educational system, the building already proved to be too small. Classrooms, dormitories, a mess hall, a parlour, a music and dance lounge, a drawing room, a gymnastics and fencing hall, medical facilities, warehouses, specialized classrooms, a bath, teaching rooms, offices for teachers and service personnel were needed. In autumn 1886, the side building was completed at the Üllõi Road side. For the cultured, high quality, healthy and useful spending of leisure time the academic casino with a games room, a reading room and lounge was available for cadets. The Orczy Garden, the lake and the athletic field for outdoor entertainment offered additional opportunity. In the building there were music rooms, where a piano and a dulcimer were available. The institute had a rich library.
Due to the increase in the number of students building extension became necessary. A fencing hall was built in 1893.
Academic accreditation, with the required level of curriculum, was introduced in 1897. By then the Ludovika Academy became a higher educational institution equal with the Theresian Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt.
Since then the Ludovika Academy was held to be one of the first academic institutions of higher education in the country, where prospective officers were taught and raised by modern/advanced knowledge and practical training. The best Hungarian army officers, most of them with battlefield experience and long service record served as instructors and teachers at the Academy.
After the First World War, the reopening of the Ludovika Academy was ordered by the Minister of Defence on 18 September 1919.
Based on the Treaty of Trianon signed on June 4, 1920, only one military educational institution could stay within the framework of the Hungarian army. Military restrictions were imposed on the country losing the war; military officer training institutions except for the Ludovika Academy had to be wound up.
Education started on September 27, 1920. Act X of 1922 on the Hungarian royal army officer training served as a unified system for the army officer training in post-Trianon Hungary.
In the 1931/32 school year, the defence minister ordered the setting up of the Ludovika Academy I and II. At the Ludovika I infantry, cavalry and artillery cadets, while at the Ludovika II engineering, flotilla, aviation, signalling, train troop cadets training went on. In autumn 1939 the Ludovika II split into two institutions, the Royal Hungarian Bolyai János Technical Academy in Budapest-Hûvösvölgy, and, in Kassa, the Royal Hungarian Horthy Miklós (from 1942 Horthy István) Air Force Academy.
At the academy, in the beginning, cadets (1903 onwards academics
) were trained only for infantry and cavalry service. Compared with the initial two branches, in 1940 the academy provided the education and training of future officers for more than ten branches and services. In the academic year of 1912/1913 began the training of artillerymen, in 1918 of the engineer officers, and in 1922 of the signalling officers.
The traditionally performed last spectacular commissioning of lieutenants took place on 20 August 1943, at the Ludovika Academy Orczy Garden. The commissioning ceremony was held on 20 August 1944, at the Bolyai Academy. The last officer commissioning ceremony of the Ludovika Academy was held on 15 November 1944 in Körmend Batthyányi Castle Garden and Hajmáskér, and then the institution moved to Germany. On April 25, 1945, the Academy ceased operating.
At the Ludovika Academy the officers training had triple function: education, training and socialization. During 72 years of operation it provided special professional knowledge, civil and national ideology, moral and behavioural norms. It had a national character, traditional values and expectations were included in military education, which fostered patriotism, and created the modern Hungarian officer training.
After World War II, the Communist regime left the Academy building in damaged condition.
The former Ludovika building complex was used for different purposes. The horse riding school building housed the Alfa cinema, which, in the early 1990s, was completely destroyed by fire. The thoroughly damaged main building was used by some departments of the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Eötvös Loránd University. The physical conditions of the Ludovika Academy steadily worsened; the former monumental building complex was in miserable status, and neglected.
The establishment of the National University of Public Service 2010-2012
The creation of the National University of Public Service (NUPS) began in 2010.
The Defence Minister appointed a ministerial commissioner with effect from July 1, 2010, to the Zrínyi Miklós National Defence University (further NDU). He was responsible for the modernization of the system of officer training, modification of some organizations of the university, transformation of the Ludovika Student Battalion into an independent military organization, and the supervision of the functioning of the university. Moreover, he oversaw the modernization of the university operation and screened its management.
The commissioner made proposals regarding the tasks, operation and the structure of the single, government-type public service institution of higher education. He developed a theoretical concept. On July 1, 2010, a Secretary-General, acting under the authority of the President of the University was appointed to the university, who was responsible for the legitimate operation of the university, and also for education and research.
Within the framework of the modernization of the system of officer training, on February 1, 2011, from the former Ludovika Student Battalion a HDF Ludovika Battalion as self-deployed element was created.
During the pre-integration process from September 1, 2011, the Bolyai János Military Engineer Faculty and the Kossuth Lajos Military Science Faculty of the Zrínyi Miklós National Defence University were unified under the name of Faculty of Military Science.
The one-faculty organization later integrated into the National University of Public Service as Faculty of Military Science and Officer Training.
Zrínyi Miklós National Defence University responsible for military higher education, Police College in charge of law enforcement and police higher education and Faculty of Public Administration responsible for public administration education merged into the National University of Public Service. Preserving the traditions of the three institutions, closer cooperation in research and education, as well as effective operation have been achieved.
The objective of the transformation of the predecessor institutions was the enhancement of professional knowledge and skills of the personnel of the public service of national defence, civilian administration, the police and the national security services, the co-ordinated and planned recruitment policy, and the creation of a single institutional base for higher education and professional training.
The National Assembly adopted Act XXXVI of 2011 on the establishment of the National University of Public Service on March 16, 2011.
Act XXXVI of 2011 established the National University of Public Service as the legal successor of the Zrínyi Miklós National Defence University, the Police College and the Faculty of Public Administration of Corvinus University of Budapest.
This Act regulated the establishment of the basic rules of the university, the timetable, the tasks of the participating institutions, functions and operations of the implementing bodies. The mission of the university is to serve as an effective educational and academic base for state-building and public service development. Through its educational and further training programs, the university supports the development of highly trained and efficient personnel in the fields of public administration, law enforcement, defence and other areas of public service.
In the Advisory Board the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Public Administration, Minister of Law Enforcement and the Minister of Interior are exercising the supervision of the university.
In 2014 the number of the Advisory Board has increased, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Economy got permanent consultation rights.
New university, new era
The new university founding ceremony was held in the Parliament on 11 January 2012. During the educational development, the educational portfolios inherited from the predecessor university faculties and institutions were renewed. They developed and introduced a common public service training module, which is the basis of the interoperable public education.
The Faculty of Law Enforcement, the Faculty of Public Administration, the Doctoral School of Public Administration Sciences, the Institute of Disaster Management, the Institute of National Security, the Institute of Leadership and Further Training were established.
The Faculty of Military Science and Officer Training is led by the dean; his tasks are supported by the Deputy Dean for Education, and by the Deputy Dean for International Relations and Scientific Affairs. The Faculty has three institutions: the Institute of Military Leadership Training, the Institute of Military Logistics, the Institute of Military Maintenance. There are specific centers at the Faculty: the Foreign Language Training Centre, the Foreign Language Examination Centre, the Military Training and Development Centre, the Military Physical Education and Sport Centre and the Military Examination Centre.
The Faculty's main tasks are: the education and training of professional military officers and research and development in the various fields of military science like infantry, armour, artillery, reconnaissance, maintenance, logistics, military engineering, signalling, NBC-protection and air defence.
Act CXXXII of 2011 regulates the Bachelor and Master Degree programs of public administration, law enforcement and military higher education.
The educational and output requirements of public administration, law enforcement and military education areas degree programs were modernized, and redesigned according to the customer's expectations. Within the military-police educational area, defence and military, law enforcement, public administration, law enforcement and national security educational branches were distinguished.
In 2013, three new degree programs: Military Maintenance BSc, Military Logistics BSc and Military Leadership BSc began at the Faculty. On these courses basic military training and competency requirements became part of the curriculum.
According to the Ministry of Defence's decision a number of bachelors (penitentiary officer, transport engineer, mechanical engineer, military and security engineer, military management, finance and accounting) and master's degree programs (military logistics, safety engineer, disaster management engineer) were terminated.
The Institute of National Security took over National Security Bachelor and Master degree programs. The International Institute became responsible for Security and Defence, and International Studies Bachelor and Master degree programs. The Institute of Disaster Management carried on the Defence Management Master degree program.
Within the Defence and Military Educational Branch, three Bachelors degree programs (Military Leadership, Military Logistics, and Military Maintenance) and three Masters degree programs (Military Leadership, Logistics of Military Operations, Military Maintenance) run (see Table 1). In addition, the Faculty is also engaged in the Defence Info-communication System Management Master's degree program.
Table 1. Bachelor's and Masters Degree Programs of the Defence and Military Educational Branch
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Master's Degree Program
Defence and Military Educational Branch
Security and Defence Policy
Security and Defence Policy
Logistics of Military Operations
Edited: Prof. Col. Klára Siposné Kecskeméthy
The Faculty educates professional military officers in the fields of infantry, armour, artillery, reconnaissance, maintenance, logistics, military engineering, signalling, nuclear, biological chemical, and air defence (see Table 2).
Besides gaining the highest standard of professional education, students learn about the traditions and the commitment required, enabling them to deal with the greatest challenges of our decade. Our university is the only one entitled to provide BSc and MSc in military sciences and to educate military officers in Hungary. Owing to the special nature of these professions, education is tailored according to the needs of the Ministry of Defence and of the Hungarian Defence Forces. However, the Faculty has done a great job in improving the quality of training according to common European standards of military education.
Table 2. Military Bachelor's Degree Programs
Bachelors degree programs
military intelligence, field artillery, air defence artillery, military and combat engineering, infantry, CBRN defence
military-technical, military supply, military transport
signalling, military informatics, military aircraft engineering, radio electronics, reconnaissance and electronic warfare, flight control
Edited: Prof. Col. Klára Siposné Kecskeméthy
The Faculty is also responsible for educating civilian experts in the national and international defence spheres and security policy. The highest level of in-service further training is also incorporated into the Faculty. Graduates of the General Staff Course regularly fulfil the highest positions in military services.
The officers training and education is carried out with the all-round support provided by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as a customer. The Faculty personnel includes professional and contract soldiers, civil servants, part-time workers, and volunteer operational reservists.
Bachelor's degree programs of the Faculty are state-funded and education is conducted in the form of 8 semesters. To army officer education only Hungarian citizens between the ages of 18-25 can be admitted. The candidates must comply with health, mental and physical fitness requirements, and, as part of the admission procedure, they have to attend an orientation interview. The Admission Committee examines the applicant's general awareness, commitment to military career, communication skills, behavioural culture, as well as appearance.
The national officer training traditions and values, the military regime and discipline are important. The officer cadets acquire knowledge in military science, military engineering, security, a wide range of social and natural sciences, mathematics, information technology and legal knowledge, and management, leadership and organizational skills.
As a consequence of our Hungarys NATO and EU membership, as well as of its participation in international peace operations professional foreign language training is a top priority. An important part of military training is the cadets physical fitness and continuous exercise, particularly, self-defence and military sports.
On the Facultys Bachelor degree programs only officer cadets are to be taught, their status is governed by specific Acts.
An Army officer cadet is a student who chooses the professional military career, after a successful admission signs a scholarship contract with the Hungarian Defence Forces, and has an officer cadet military service status. Officer cadets of the military higher education get clothing, food, housing, medical care, a regular monthly basic salary, educational supplements and other allowances, as well as textbooks, and teaching-tool support. For officer cadets living in the dormitory is mandatory.
A basic requirement of the admission to the Facultys Bachelor degree programs is the state-recognized level B2 (formerly Intermediate) complex (formerly type C) language certificate or an equivalent document of an English language exam.
Military Leadership BSc
In the BSc degree program, different specializations are available: infantry armour, reconnaissance, artillery, military engineering, air defence missiles and NBC-protection. Graduates of this program are entitled to lead and to organise the work of different subunits. All students conduct a professional training at different levels of the Hungarian Defence Forces.
With the acquired military, professional leadership skills and their qualifications they have the ability to lead and control the military subunits, and fill respective positions. During the training, students learn how to plan, organize and manage daily activities and the training of subunits. The cadets possess modern information and military technical expertise, professional, pedagogical, theoretical knowledge of management.
The educational criteria requirement to be met is the professional practice/ training for a period of 8-16 weeks outside the institution. Officer cadets get language training and are prepared for intermediate or advanced special language examinations in accordance with the training and education requirements. In order to obtain the diploma the cadets have to poses at least one medium-level, state-approved foreign language examination or NATO STANAG 6001 188.8.131.52. monolingual type of military language exam in English.
After the completion of the Bachelor degree program students can continue their Master studies, or can start a military career in the Hungarian Defence Forces.
The three Master Degree Programs Military Leadership, Military Maintenance, Logistics of Military Operations - are state-financed; the education lasts for 4 semesters. Only officers with a rank of captain and/or major can apply. The candidate must have prior admission procedure permission by the Chief of Defence Staff, as well as a basic examination of public service. As part of the master's degree admission procedure, an interview takes place.
The HVG magazine in the Diploma special issue ranked the Hungarian universities and colleges. The Faculty of Military Science and Officer Training was classified by certain indicators shown in Table 3. 
Table 3. National faculty ranking place of the Faculty of Military Sciences and Officer Training
Student Excellence ranking place
Teaching Excellence ranking place
National Faculty ranking place
Edited: Prof. Col. Klára Siposné Kecskeméthy
According to the schedule of the Hungarian Higher Education Accreditation Committee the institutional accreditation of the university will be held in the year 2015. The university, and the Faculty of Military Sciences and Officer Training is taking into account the experience of former 2000 and 2009 institution and program accreditations and higher education quality awards (Zrínyi Miklós National Defence University received the bronze awards in 2009 and 2010), and has already started to prepare for the procedure.
In recent decades, the predecessor educational institutions Zrínyi Miklós Military Academy, Zrínyi Miklós National Defence University - have established a wide range of domestic and international relations.
The following academies and universities are to be mentioned: University of Debrecen, Kaposvár University, University of Miskolc, University of Pécs, University of Szeged, Szent István University, Kodolányi János University of Applied Sciences, Dennis Gabor College, University of Applied Sciences Budapest, Theresian Military Academy Wiener Neustadt, Bundeswehr Command and Staff College, Royal Military Academy Breda, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Virginia Military Institute, National Defence University Washington DC, Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr Hamburg, Universität der Bundeswehr München, The Joint Services Staff College - Instituto di Stato Maggiore Interforze (ISSMI), Italian Defense Higher Studies Institute (IASD), Armed Forces Academy of General Milan Rastislav tefánik, and University of Defence Brno.
The successor NUPS has more than 100 international partners. Erasmus partners of the Faculty of Military Sciences and Officer Training are shown in Table 4.
Table 4. ERASMUS cooperation agreements
Theresian Military Academy
Vasil Levski National Military University
University of Defence
Special Military School of Saint-Cyr
National Defence University
Military University of Technology
The General Tadeusz Kosciuszko Military Academy of Land Forces
Nicolae Balcescu Land Forces Academy
Armed Forces Academy of General Milan Rastislav tefánik
Edited: Prof. Col. Klára Siposné Kecskeméthy
The objective of the Faculty is to launch the Defence Education Enhancement Program (DEEP)
and participation in the Allied Command Transformations programs based on existing knowledge, capacity, and experience. The Faculty has competent and credible teachers and trainers. Active involvement in these programs promotes the improvement of the international credibility and prestige of Hungary, the Hungarian Armed Forces and also the National University of Public Service. The Faculty plans the strengthening of co-operation with organizations like the International Military Academies Forum (iMAF) and with the Central European Forum on Military Education (CEFME).
In order to accommodate the National University of Public Service, the Ludovika main building was renovated, the Ceremonial Hall, the Hall of Heroes were restored, an ecumenical chapel was constructed, the Orczy Garden and its surroundings were renewed.
The renovated building of the Ludovika Academy was handed over to the National University of Public Service on March 31, 2014. The university's leadership, administration agencies and the International Institute moved into the central building. The International Institute transformed, the Faculty of International and European Studies was created on February 1 2015.
Based upon the university initiative, according to the National Memorial and Piety Commissions proposal to Government Regulation No.104/2014, the former building of the Ludovika Academy was declared a historical place on March 25, 2014.
The tradition and spirit of the Ludovika Academy continues to live in the twenty-first century, too. Throughout its long history, the Alma Mater of officer training with great traditions was a real stronghold of the Hungarian military culture. The Academy's ethos and values are carried on by the successors.
The Ludovika building was returned to its original function envisioned by the founders, again, education moved to the old walls. According to the plans the Military Science and Military Officer Training Faculty will also move to the building complex of the Orczy Garden.
Academic Report 2014, NKE Szolgáltató Kft., Budapest, 2014. p. 173
Bachó László, dezséri (1930). A magyar királyi honvéd Ludovika Akadémia története, Budapest, p. 1001
Faculty of Military Sciences and Officer Training Deans 2014 Academic Report, Budapest, 2014. p. 17
NUPS Deputy President for Educational Affairs 2012 Report to Senate, February 22, 2013, Manuscript p. 13
Rada Tibor (1998). A Magyar Királyi Honvéd Ludovika Akadémia és a testvérintézetek összefoglalt története (1830-1945) I. kötet. Calgary-Budapest, p. 810
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Siposné Kecskeméthy Klára (2014). A Ludoviceum: A Ludovika Akadémia története, Bonum Publikum, 3. szám p. 14-19.