Constitution of North Rhine-Westphalia
The Constitution of North Rhine-Westphalia in the constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

al document that governs the responsibilities and rights of various offices and the Landtag
A Landtag is a representative assembly or parliament in German-speaking countries with some legislative authority.- Name :...

 (State Parliament) of North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state of Germany, with four of the country's ten largest cities. The state was formed in 1946 as a merger of the northern Rhineland and Westphalia, both formerly part of Prussia. Its capital is Düsseldorf. The state is currently run by a coalition of the...

, in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...



After the collapse of the Third Reich after the Second World War, the area now covered by North Rhine-Westphalia was administered by Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 as part of the Allied occupation of Germany. The British unified the former Prussian province of Westphalia (Westfalen in German) and the northern part of the Prussian Rhine province
Rhine Province
The Rhine Province , also known as Rhenish Prussia or synonymous to the Rhineland , was the westernmost province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia, within the German Reich, from 1822-1946. It was created from the provinces of the Lower Rhine and Jülich-Cleves-Berg...

 (Rheinprovinz) on August 23, 1946. The duchy of Lippe-Detmold was combined with these around six months later, in January 1947.

On June 6, 1950, after three years of discussion, the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia by a narrow vote enacted a permanent constitution. This was ratified by the public in a pleblecite of 18 June 1950, with a majority of 57% voting for. This was in accordance with Article 90 of the constitution itself, which demanded such a vote.

Articles 1, 2 and 3: Fundamental Principles

Article 1 establishes North Rhine-Westphalia as a member state of the Federal Republic of Germany, with its own subdivisions, and its own right to chose a flag
Flag of North Rhine-Westphalia
The flag of North-Rhine Westphalia is the flag of the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia.After the establishment of North-Rhine Westphalia in 1946, this flag had been in use since 1948 although it was not formally established until 1953. The plain tricolour is the state's civil flag...

 and coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 (the coat of arms of North Rhine-Westphalia
Coat of arms of North Rhine-Westphalia
The Coat of Arms of North Rhine-Westphalia is the official coat of arms of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.After World War II on August 23, 1946 the British military administration in Germany established the new state of North Rhine-Westphalia with the merger of the Province of...

). Article 2 establishes the principle of a plebiscite, and article 3 the separation of powers
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

 between parliament and the courts.

Articles 4–29: Fundamental Rights and the Organisation of Community Life

Together, the section covers basic human rights (Article 4), the rights of the family (Articles 5 and 6), education (Articles 7–17), religion and the churches (Articles 18–23), work, the economy and the environment (Articles 24–29).

Articles 30–88: The Bodies and Tasks of the Land

This section of the constitution focussed mostly on the operation of the government of North Rhine-Westphalia. The first sub-section cover the actions and organisation of the Landtag (Parliament), with Articles 30–50. Articles 51–64 cover the Landesregiergung (State cabinet, similar to the Bundesregierung), its interections with the Landtag and some details of the role of the minister-president; articles 65–71 legislation within North Rhine-Westphalia; and articles 72–76 the law courts. Administration is also covered in this section (Articles 77–80), along with financial provisions (Articles 81–88).

Articles 88–92 finished the constitution and its institution, along with the transition to the new system.
It is then signed by:
  • The Minister-President
    A minister-president is the head of government in a number of European countries or subnational governments, in which a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government prevails, who presides over the council of ministers...

    , Mr Arnold
  • The Interior Minister, Dr Menzel
  • The Minister for Food, Agriculture and Forestry Mr Lübke
  • The Culture Minister, Mr Teusch
  • The Finance Minister, Dr Weitz
  • The Labour Minister, Mr Halbfell
  • The Minister for Reconstruction, Mr Steinhoff
  • The Economics Minister, Dr Nölting
  • The Social Minister, Dr Amelunxen
  • The Justice Minister, Dr Sträter
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