Valyo – City and River Association: River Baths in Budapest
– Swimming in the Danube in the Past and Future


Jane Haining Quayside (Vigadó)


Fővám Sq. (Near the Pest side of Szabadság Bridge)

Raoul Wallenberg Quayside (Near the Buda side of Szabadság Bridge)

Friedrich Born Quayside (Near the Buda side of Erzsébet Bridge)

Várkert Quayside (Near the Várkert Bazár boat station)

Friedrich Born Quayside (Clark Ádám station of tram 19/41)

Sztehlo Gábor Quayside (Near the Buda side of Széchenyi Chain Bridge)

Bem Qayside (Batthyány Sq.)

The Buda side of Margit Bridge (between Angelo Rotta Quayside and Árpád Fejedelem St.)

Id. Antall József Qayside (South side of Jászai Mari Sq.)

22 September – 23 October 2023

Exhibiting artists:

Valyo – City and River Association (creative manager: Miklós Tömör, coordinator: Lilla Kammermann, creator: Flóra Madácsi)


FabLab Budapest, Hybrid Dessous, Decorative and Public Lighting Budapest (BDK) Ltd.

Bathing in the Danube in the area of the capital has always raised important issues regarding the use of urban space. The first so-called wooden pools in the 1810s-20s were small enclosed areas of the Danube, which made open water bathing safely available until the Second World War, when it was later banned by decree due to pollution and budget shortage. It was not until the late 2010s that a turn came for bathing in Budapest: thanks to improved water quality and continuous monitoring, a free public beach on the Római-part riverbank was opened for a single day in 2019 and 2020, and from 2021 it is open every summer as the only designated Danube beach in the city.
The idea for the project, which tells the story of wooden pools, was conceived and will be implemented by the Valyo – City and River Association. Valyo’s main mission is to make the river accessible to everyone in Budapest and to make the Danube a (liquid) public space for the city dwellers.
Within the framework of the Biennale, peep-boxes, so-called GOGGLEs, developed by the association, will be placed on the Buda and Pest quays, marking the sites of former wooden pools, while a contemporary wooden pool structure will be set up next to the Vigadó on the Jane Haining quay. Not only will the public space objects and the related events recall the history of the wooden pools, but also reflect on how urban bathing could be reintroduced into the public consciousness and demonstrate contemporary examples of it in major cities across Western Europe.

Photos: Ákos Keppel