Jonathan Knott

Former British ambassador to Hungary, Budapest

Part of UK in Hungary

28th November 2014 Budapest, Hungary

Là Naomh Aindrea!

Guest blog by Douglas Arnott, Chairman of the Robert Burns International Foundation in Hungary.

Before you reach for a handy online dictionary, this is what Scots around the world celebrate each year on 30 November, St. Andrew’s Day!

Named not surprisingly after the patron saint of Scotland, you may nevertheless be surprised to learn that St. Andrew has more than one country on his patronage bow, including several close to Hungary: Romania, Russia, Poland and Ukraine, all of which celebrate in different ways.

A bank holiday in Scotland, St. Andrew’s Day is a time for people to celebrate all things Scottish. Schools and local organisations hold “ceilidhs”, which used to mean any kind of social gathering, but modern ceilidhs are a time for people to get their dancing shoes on and practise traditional Scottish country dancing. Often involving groups of 6 and 8 people the dances are easy to learn and extremely popular events.


But you don’t need to travel to Scotland, ceilidhs are held all over the world, including Budapest, and anyone is welcome to join in the fun at the traditional annual St Andrew’s Ceilidh held at the Scottish Mission (Vörösmarty utca 51, District VI) on Friday 28 November from 7:30-9:30pm. Admission is just HUF 1000 and it is free for children.

Where there’s a party in Scotland then food and drink will not be far away, and many take the opportunity to cook various dishes like Cullen Skink, Smoked Haddock Bake and Scotch lamb. Travel to Scotland around the end of November and you’ll find it hard to miss a whisky tasting too. There is a website full of information about St. Andrew’s Day and indeed Scottish cultural events in general, with a handy app for your mobile phone. You can check it out here.


St. Andrew’s Day is also traditionally the start of the winter festival season, comprising Hogmanay on 31 December and Burns Night on 25 January, celebrating the life and works of Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns. Again Budapest is no exception, and this year the Robert Burns International Foundation will be holding the 18th Annual Burns Supper at the Corinthia Hotel on Saturday 24 January 2015. The event is a firm fixture on the social calendar with the added incentive of raising money for sick and underprivileged children in Hungary. Tickets are now available, but don’t dally, the event is heading towards another sell-out! More information is available on the Robert Burns International Foundation’s website and Facebook page.

As for St. Andrews Day here in Hungary, Scots gather together every year to celebrate their patron saint, and this year the event will be held at Domus Vinorum on Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 18 on Saturday 29 November 2014. The evening includes a 4-course dinner with wine, beer and whisky, music and dancing. Entertainment guaranteed! There are a few tickets still available, please contact Duncan Graham at for more information.

But wherever you end up celebrating St. Andrews Day, have a good one!


Douglas Arnott
Chairman of the Robert Burns International Foundation

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the British government.

About Jonathan Knott

Jonathan Knott was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Hungary in March 2011 and arrived in Budapest in February 2012 to take up his post. He left this post on April…

Jonathan Knott was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to
Hungary in March 2011 and arrived in Budapest in February 2012 to take
up his post. He left this post on April 2015.
He has previously held a variety of diplomatic posts at home and
abroad, several with a particular focus on commercial and corporate
finance issues. Jonathan has served in a number of positions in the
British Diplomatic Service since joining in 1988:
Before his appointment was Deputy Head of Mission and Director for Trade and Investment in South Korea from 2008 to 2011.Between 2005 and 2008 he held the post of Deputy Finance Director in the FCO.From 2000 to 2005 he served as First Secretary (Trade, Corporate Affairs and Finance Negotiator) in UKDel OECD Paris.From 1996 to 2000 he was First Secretary (Head of Political/Economic/Aid Section) in Mexico.From 1995 to 1996 he worked in the FCO as Deputy European Correspondent at the EU Directorate.Between 1991 and 1995 he served as Third later Second Secretary (Political / Press and Public Affairs) in Havana.From 1990 to 1991 he was Desk Officer in the FCO’s First Gulf War Emergency Unit.Between 1988 and 1990 he worked as Desk Officer in the FCO in the Anti Drugs Cooperation Department.
Jonathan holds an MA in law from Oxford University, and he is a
member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. He speaks
English, French, Spanish and Hungarian. He is married to Angela Susan
Knott and has one daughter and two sons.

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