In an analysis of the 200-year history of flood management in Hungary, I use the advocacy coalition framework and the focusing event literature to examine what policy change occurs and what is learned as a result of experiencing extreme and damaging flood events. By analyzing the policy response to a series of extreme floods (1998–2001) in this newly democratizing nation, I attempt to identify the factors that influenced the occurrence of policy change and policy-oriented learning. In 2003, Hungary enacted a comprehensive flood management program that included economic development and environmental protection goals, a distinct departure from Hungary's historical structural approach to flood management. However, it is less clear that long-lasting changes in belief systems about how floods should be managed have occurred. In this analysis, I argue that processes external to the flood policy subsystem (e.g., process of democratization and Hungary's accession to the European Union), along with the occurrence of the extreme flood events, enabled a coalition of individuals and organizations to press for policy change.