The Constitution of 3 May (1791)

Date :
10/05/2017 to 14/05/2017
Place :
Public :
Price :

The first modern democratic constitution in Europe

Like the Mundaneum, the Constitution of 3 May 1791 has been awarded the European Heritage Label (EHL). This exhibition delineates the milestones in the creation of this document and its dissemination on a European and worldwide scale.

Adopted by the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania, this Constitution reflected the influences of the Enlightenment: reason, law and freedom. A major legislative act, it was adopted by democratic means and symbolized the peaceful mutation of a political system. It was also the second constitution in the whole world, after the American constitution. Written during the "Sjem (Parliament) of 4 years" by nobles, under the reign of the last king of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Stanislaus II Augustus, it restored the hereditary monarchy but also contained several important points:

• The bourgeois are now represented in the Sjem (parliament), and can make a career in the administration;
• A poor nobleman or bourgeois cannot assume the role of representative, for he might be tempted to serve the interests of the powerful;
• Peasants are subjected to the jurisdiction of the State and no longer to that of the lords;
• The army is set at 100,000 soldiers; • Local committees are established to ensure compliance with laws;
• To ensure the maintenance of the executive power, the "Guard of the Laws of the Nation" is assured by the king, the Primate of Poland and 5 ministers.

May 3 is the day of the national holiday in Poland.

(Source: Central Records Archives of Warsaw - Wikipedia)


On Tuesday 9 May 2017, the Mundaneum and its partners invite you to discover the exhibition after a conference on Polish-Belgian relations.

Program of the European Week here

When ?

from 10 till 14 May 2017

from 1st July till 27 August 2017