In this paper the authoress deals with the image of the Habsburg Monarchy in Hungary at the time of its existence as well as with the memory the society of today keeps of it. On the contrary to what is generally assumed confrontation is not necessarily the main feature of this image. During its domination over Hungary, the Monarchy was felt alternatively as an oppressive power to which responded the 'kuruc' tradition of opposition and as a partner to achieve superior goals to which responded the 'labanc' tradition of collaboration. These patterns of political behaviour are still obvious today. The experience of the two totalitarianisms have brought a re-evaluation of the Habsburgs as benevolent sovereigns and even 1848 looks pale compared to 1956. Towards the end of the communist regime, the re-discovery of the Habsburg heritage went beyond the historical sciences and became after 1989 a cliché of the tourist discourse.