The picturesque Nyírbátor lies between the gentle hills and beautiful forests of Nyírség. The town's rich historical traditions are due to the Báthori, Bethlen, Rákóczi and Károlyi families, making Nyírbátor one of the region’s richest settlements in historical monuments. The legend of Báthori Vid who defeated a dragon in the nearby Ecsedi marsh permeates the whole city – the story has been preserved for centuries by the local citizens.
The problems of a declining population – that concern a lot of small and medium-sized European towns – are also prevalent here: between 2001 and 2018 the population decreased by 8%. Due to the characteristics of the people leaving (mostly a young and highly educated workforce), this process has also brought about significant changes in the demographic structure of the city: the proportion of people over 60 is increasingly growing. Some of the major causes of population loss are the pulling effect of two county seats located within a 50 km radius, the housing problems within the city, the conflicts caused by the presence of a significant number of Roma people and the contradiction between the residents’ perception of Nyírbátor and the city’s real situation.
Since the early 2000s, a number of efforts has been made to stop and reverse the effects of these factors:
- An Industrial Park (and a Business Incubator Centre) has been created where – as a result of an exceptional investment incentive programme – a number of large companies have settled down, creating approximately 5,000 new jobs.
- There are several community-led local development projects in progress – their most important element is the involvement of local communities/residents in sustainable urban development.
- To develop and sustain acceptable and attractive living conditions in Nyírbátor, other infrastructure investments (providing new housing locations; constructing cycling paths and sidewalks) and soft interventions (organizing intergenerational programmes; cultivating a positive city image based on the local historical legends) have been implemented.
The city is involved in the Re-growCity transfer network: by adapting the pop-up shop method from Altena, Nyírbátor hopes to encourage arts and crafts, music and theatre groups, and talented local citizens to organize short-term projects in empty buildings to showcase their talents, promote their activities (which could lead to business activity in the creative industry) and liven up the city’s community life.