Augustinian Monastery > Constitution Convention Museum

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Augustinian Monastery (Old Palace)


Picture: Constitution Convention Room
Picture: Constitution Convention Museum
Picture: Plenary session of the Constitution Convention, August 1948, 
photo: Foto Berger, Prien
Picture: Constitution Convention Museum
Picture: Constitution Convention Room, detail, Foto: Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung
Picture: Constitution Convention Museum
Picture: Constitution Convention Museum, detail
Picture: Constitution Convention Museum
Picture: Discussions often also took place outdoors, photo: Foto Berger, Prien
Picture: Constitution Convention Museum
Picture: Constitution Convention Museum, detail

Paving the way for freedom and democracy – the 1948 Constitution Convention of Herrenchiemsee

From 10 to 23 August 1948 around 30 authorized representatives and experts from the three western occupation zones met in Herrenchiemsee. On behalf of the Prime Ministers of the eleven German federal states they discussed what kind of constitution Germany should have in the wake of the Second World War. In the process they established and formulated the main aspects of the constitution that is still valid in Germany today. Their results were incorporated in the discussion of the Basic Law in the Parliamentary Council in Bonn that began on 1 September 1948.


Picture: Signet of the Constitution Convention Museum

The permanent exhibition that was devised jointly with the Bavarian Centre for Political Education to mark the occasion of the Convention’s 75th anniversary covers not only the historical situation and events. Many of the issues that were discussed here in 1948 are just as topical and important today. Visitors not only inform themselves but are stimulated to think more deeply about what the German constitution involves.

Central aspects of the constitution’s content that affect us on a daily basis were established at the Convention. The idea of putting human dignity in a prominent position in the constitution was generated in Herrenchiemsee, the distribution of federal and state powers was heatedly discussed and the flexibility of the constitution weighed against its stabilization. Where does everyone stand on these issues today? What has changed since 1948/49?


Picture: Detail of the exhibition

The museum in the former Augustinian monastery, the authentic location of the Convention, looks at the various perspectives of the time up until 1948, bridges the following period right up to the present day and explores leading issues of the post-war period that influenced the discussions. Who for example has the right to decide on the constitution? What is the best way of dealing with a division of country and continent, what lessons can be learned from the evils of the recent past?

Visitors have many opportunities to participate by studying certain aspects in more detail or by expressing express an opinion, according to their particular interests. The principles and values of Germany’s democracy are addressed during their tour of the museum and they are encouraged to think for themselves about the issues.

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