TRH Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine officially opened today an exhibition “Prince Alexander Karađorđević, founder of civil Serbia”, for the 180th anniversary of the adoption of the first Serbian Civil Code, at the Royal Palace in Belgrade, Serbia.

The promotion of an exclusive edition of commemorative stamps of the Post of Serbia named “180 years of the Serbian Civil Code” was also held at the Palace on this occasion. Mr. Zoran Djordjevic, Director of the Post of Serbia presented the edition to the public and spoke about its symbolism and significance.

Тhe Serbian Civil Code was adopted on 6 April (25 March according to old calendar) 1844, and it was the first and only comprehensive civil code in Serbia, one of the earliest and most significant modern codifications of civil law adopted in Europe during the 19th century

The opening ceremony was attended by HE Prof. Dr. Danica Grujicic, Minister of Health of Serbia, HE Mr. Nikola Selakovic, Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs of Serbia, and other representatives of the Governmental bodies, numerous Ambassadors together with other representatives of the diplomatic corps, members of the Advisory Bodies of the Crown, Mrs. Betty Roumeliotis, the Crown Princess’ sister with her family, representatives of cultural institutions, as well as many other distinguished guests from the spheres of business, art, culture, and the public life of Serbia.

“My great-great-grandfather, HSH Prince Alexander, the youngest child of the founder of the Royal Dynasty, Supreme Leader Karadjordje, was for too many years “in the shadow” of our national history, as it was beautifully said by his biographer, historian Nebojsa Jovanovic. He was set aside and not even nearly remembered as much as his father, or his descendants, who were all great statesmen, but also great military leaders at the same time.

Although he did not achieve fame on the combat field like other Karadjordjevic’s, Prince Alexander was leading a different battle, a battle for the establishment of civil society, progress and modernisation of the Principality of Serbia which was still part of the Ottoman Empire. During his reign, which was the first rule in our history where a monarch respected the Constitution, a great number of reforms were started, and numerous new institutions were founded. It was all done to skip centuries of backlogging and move our country closer to modern society, to improve the progress of the Serbian state. It is important to keep the memory of our nation’s statesmen, honouring their role in our past, and this exhibition is another contribution to our national culture of remembrance”, stated the Crown Prince on this occasion.

Director Djordjevic emphasized: “Our idea with this unique philatelic project was to contribute to marking an exceptional moment in the creation of modern civil Serbia. I am sure that this commemorative post stamp, envelope and paper with vignettes, with its beauty and symbolism, will stand out among the testimonies for the future and remind new generations of an important historical moment and two great men, Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic and Jovan Hadzic, who were responsible for the comprehensive codification of civil legislation and contribution to the general reform of society and the state”.

Mr. Djordjevic thanked the “Svetozar Markovic” University Library for the professional cooperation in publishing this edition, as well as for the artwork to Miroslav Nikolic and Nadezda Skocajic, who designed the Post of Serbia stamps.

The visitors of the exhibition had a unique chance to see the original copy of the First Serbian Civil Code, selected portraits, graphics, and photos of Prince Alexander, as well as copies of numerous legal acts that were adopted during his reign, images of his family members, and other items. The authors of the exhibition are Mr. Dušan Babac, member of the Privy Council and Chairman of the Advisory Bodies of the Crown, and Mr. Uroš Parezanović, Head of Public Relations and Protocol of the Royal Palace.

Dr. Milan Parivodic, member of the Crown Council, addressed the gathered as author of the text explaining the importance of this legal act: ”The Serbian Civil Code is unique in that it is the longest-lived law in the entire Serbian law, and at the same time it represented the supporting legal pillar of the entire Serbian economy in the second half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, when, relative to the time, the Serbian economy underwent the fastest modernization, as well as did the whole society. During its lifetime, the Serbian Civil Code survived seven constitutions of Serbia and Yugoslavia, but did not survive the communist coup with the shutdown of the entire legal system of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

Passing the Civil Code was an urgent need of Serbia at the time, which was trying to distance itself from the Ottoman legacy and assert itself as a modern European country, by rapidly building state and social institutions modelled on the developed European countries.”

The exhibition “Prince Alexander Karađorđević, founder of civil Serbia” will be open to visitors on weekdays until 19 April, between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, with the prior announcement to HRH Crown Prince Alexander’s Office, by phone +38111 306 4000 or via e-mail: [email protected].

We are grateful to the Post of Serbia for honouring this important anniversary with beautiful jubilee stamps. We are also extending our gratitude to Mr. Dragomir Acović, Privy Council Member, as well as the Military Museum Belgrade, Historical Archive of the City of Belgrade, Historical Museum of Serbia, Museum of the City of Belgrade, and National Museum of Serbia for their great support in the realisation of this exhibition.