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If I consider myself to be a European, it does not mean at all I cease being a Czech. It is really the other way round. As a Czech, I am also a European. Somewhat poetically I say that Europe is the mother of all fatherlands Václav Havel, A Speech to the European Parliament, November 11, 2009

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Club / News / Program

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THE WINNER OF THE 2018 VÁCLAV HAVEL HUMAN RIGHTS PRIZE  08/10/18

Today, on Monday 8 October, 2018, Oyub Titiev was ceremonially announced as laureate of the 2018 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The award is presented by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library and the Charter 77 Foundation. For more information about the Prize visit us here.

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The Unbearable Lightness of Evil – registration open!  30/08/18

Dear friends, please allow us to inform you that we have just launched registration for the sixth annual conference in honour of the laureate of the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, which is entitled The Unbearable Lightness of Evil, and the subsequent concert A Tribute to the Brave. You will find more information here.

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Three candidates shortlisted for the 2018 Václav Havel Prize  28/08/18

The selection panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, comprising independent figures from the world of human rights and chaired by the President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Liliane Maury Pasquier, drew up the shortlist of candidatures in Prague today. The shortlisted nominees, in alphabetical order, are: More

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Have a great summer!  02/07/18

Dear visitors, though our club programme ended over a week ago, we’re still here for you: From Tuesday to Friday you can visit our permanent exhibition Havel in a Nutshell (always from 12:00 to 17:00) and, in the case of prior agreement, also our reading room. At any time you can access our digital archive and YouTube channel, where you will find close to 900 videos from our events… Have a wonderful summer and see you again in September!

Program for November 2018<>

Daniel Kroupa: Masaryk – Patočka – Havel

Daniel Kroupa: Masaryk – Patočka – Havel

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 1, 2018, 19:00 – 21:00

Masaryk – Patočka – Havel will be introduced by Jiří Chotaš (Institute of Philosophy at the Czech Academy of Sciences, Faculty of Arts at J. E. Purkyně University) and Rudolf Kardoš (J.E.Purkyně University).

Tomáš Halík and Martin C. Putna will helm a discussion with the author.

Psí vojáci: Music on the Canvas

Psí vojáci: Music on the Canvas

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 3, 2018, 12:00 – November 4, 2018, 17:00
Věra Jirousová: Tweets 1956–1963

Věra Jirousová: Tweets 1956–1963

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 5, 2018, 17:00 – 19:00

Tobiáš Jirous and the creator of the original illustrations, Matěj Lipavský, will present a book by Věra Jirousová from a time before she bore that name. Her diaries from the 1950s, an unexpected find, depict a nascent personality whose attitudes later influenced others. A deeply subterranean text, which preceded the underground, has come to the surface.

Lost in Translation III: Editing is Essential!

Lost in Translation III: Editing is Essential!

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 5, 2018, 19:00 – 21:00

The process by which books in translation are produced, from purchase of publishing rights to sale in bookshops, will be discussed at a forum for editors and publishers focused this time on the translator-editor-publisher relationship.

Organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the Czech Literary Translators’ Guild.

Taking part in the discussion will be Jan Zelenka, English Studies expert and former editor at publishers Odeon; Jitka Jindřišková, Nordic Studies specialist and editor; Petr Eliáš, English Studies expert and editor-in-chief of the Albatros Media publishing house; and Filip Tomáš, bohemist and publisher (Akropolis).

Anežka Charvátová, who is a Hispanic Studies expert, translator and editor in one, will chair the debate.

Republic Café: Lost and Found Post 1918 – The Provincial Nobility

Republic Café: Lost and Found Post 1918 – The Provincial Nobility

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 6, 2018, 19:00 – 21:00

Guests: František Kinský, descendant of the Kinský noble family, local politician, mayor and administrator of the family chateau, and Zdeněk Hazdra, historian and director of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.

Chaired by Renata Kalenská.

This debate series marking the centenary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia has been prepared for the 2018–2019 season by the Václav Havel Library and the theatre Divadlo Husa na provázku. Debates will take place in parallel in Prague and Brno once a month.

Jiří Gruša – Writer and Politician

Jiří Gruša – Writer and Politician

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 9, 2018, 19:00 – 21:00

Jiří Gruša will be remembered by, among others, writer Eda Kriseová, journalist Karel Hvížďala and diplomat and former Czech ambassador to Austria Jan Sechter.

The evening will be hosted by Dalibor Dobiáš from the Institute for Czech Literature at the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Ivana Ryčlová: They Chose Freedom

Ivana Ryčlová: They Chose Freedom

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 12, 2018, 17:00 – 19:00

Writer Milan Uhde will discuss the book, published by the Centre for the Study of Democracy, while Ondřej Černý, director general of the Czech Centres network, will chair a talk with the author.

Andriy Lyubka: Your View, Cio-Cio San

Andriy Lyubka: Your View, Cio-Cio San

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 12, 2018, 20:00 – 22:00

The author will introduce his novel and Rostislav Prokopjuk will moderate.

Interpretation into Czech provided.

Debate with Respekt

Debate with Respekt

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 13, 2018, 19:00 – 21:00
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Home

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Home

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 14, 2018, 19:00 – 21:00

These issues and more are in focus in Neboj se vrátit domů (Don’t be Afraid to Go Home), a book of interviews with the founder of the Czech hospice movement,Marie Svatošová. The discussion with her will be helmed by writer and journalist Aleš Palán. The new book was issued by publishers Kalich in connection with the autumn Big Book Thursday.

It was Svatošová some years ago who put forward the idea of hospice palliative care. It was she who initiated the opening of the first Czech hospice. And it is she who continues to tirelessly cross the country giving lectures on hospice care and serving as an advisor to new hospices. In the book Svatošová also discusses her own family and medicine studies, how Fr. Ladislav Kubíček influenced her and her Trappist fan club.

In many hospices we find the quotation “Our aim is to fill days with life, not life with days.” The author of those words, Marie Svatošová, has succeeded in filling her own life with life, as well as meaning and incredible service. 

Dr. Marie Svatošová and Aleš Palán will answer readers’ questions at the VHL.

Film Series: Jan Palach

Film Series: Jan Palach

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 15, 2018, 18:00 – 20:00

/Film evening with guest/

The film Jan Palach (2018, 124 min.) focuses on the final months of the student who laid down his life to make an emphatic statement to a submissive Czechoslovakia. He refused to accept repression and 20 years later his action resulted in freedom for all his compatriots.

The guest in the second part of the evening will be actor Viktor Zavadil, who followed the changing atmosphere “through Palach’s eyes” and captured his thinking and decision on screen. 

Final evening on the theme “Famous Evangelists: Masaryk, Horáková, Palach” taking place in connection with the centenary of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren.

Czech Radio journalist Magdaléna Trusinová will moderate.

Theatre Night 2018 – The Power of the Powerless

Theatre Night 2018 – The Power of the Powerless

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 17, 2018, 19:00 – 24:00

We have drawn on this connection and invited Brno’s Divadlo Feste theatre company to bring a theatrical collage of The Power of the Powerlessto the VHL. “The text is very topical in a highly unpleasant way. I’m stunned at how deeply the atmosphere of normalisation is again palpable in an every day manner…,” says director Jiří Honzírek.

The production is not staged indoors but in public spaces in cities and towns, with each new and original performance informed by the character of the place in question. Many such spots are to be found around the Václav Havel Library in Ostrovní St. 

Theatre Night, part of the international European Theatre Night project, is coordinated in the Czech Republic by the Arts and Theatre Institute in Prague and aims to present theatre in a creative and non-traditional form.

If Sorrow Smouldered

If Sorrow Smouldered

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 19, 2018, 19:00 – 21:00

Anxiety, despair, the arrival of Barbarians, spent shells. The invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops in August 1968 shocked the entire world and also found a response in international literature. The major Finnish modernist poet Eeva-Liisa Manner addressed the tragic event in intensely lyrical form in the collection If Sorrow Smouldered (Jos suru savuaisi) published in 1968. She dedicated it to her friend Václav Havel, whose plays she had translated into Finnish in the 1960s and about whose fate she received only fragmentary, unverified reports in the first days of the occupation. The context in which the collection was written and reactions to it in Finland, Eeva-Liisa Manner’s unique relationship to Czech and Slovak culture and Finnish political, social and cultural responses to the occupation of Czechoslovakia will be discussed by translator Michal Švec and historian Barbora Skálová. The evening will be complemented by readings from the collection If Sorrow Smouldered, which will be heard in Czech for the first time, 50 years after their publication.

During the evening there will also be a presentation of the Czech novel V domě básnířky (In the Poet’s Home)in which author Helena Sinervo takes on Eeva-Liisa Manner’s life story in a poetic manner. 

Event organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the Finnish Embassy in Prague as part of the year-long Scandinavian House project Northern Literature in the Heart of Europe 2018, which has been supported by the Czech Ministry of Culture and the City of Prague.

Dear Mum / Dear Alice

Dear Mum / Dear Alice

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 20, 2018, 19:00 – 21:00

The programme’s dramaturgy was inspired by a book of the same title compiled by D. Hájková and J. Soukup (published by the Masaryk Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences, 2001).

Cast: Daniela Kolářová and Marie Málková, dramaturge: Lucie Němečková, director: Zuzana Burianová

Organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the American Spring festival.

Evenings with Polish Reporters: Volhynia –Polish and Czech Memories

Evenings with Polish Reporters: Volhynia –Polish and Czech Memories

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 21, 2018, 19:00 – 21:00

“When some kill others come with help” is the motto of Sprawiedliwi zdrajcy (Righteous Traitors) by the Polish journalist Witold Szabłowski (published in Czech by Pant in 2018, translated by Michala Benešová). In the book the author sets off on the trail of the what is known as the Volhynia Massacre, ethnic cleansing of Polish inhabitants in Ukraine in 1943–1944. He also spoke to pastor Jan Jelínek, who during WWII gave shelter at his parochial house to all facing persecution. How do Polish and Czech memories of Volhynia differ?

Taking part in a discussion with the Polish journalist will be the poet and translator Josef Mlejnek, author of the book Volyň tam v dáli (Volhynia in the Distance) (2015) and the descendant of people from Volhynia, and the painter Rostislav Zárybnický, who was born in 1936 in Sklíň and repatriated to Czechoslovakia with his family in 1947.

The debate is part of a discussion series introducing contemporary Polish reporters run by the Polish Institute in Prague and the Václav Havel Library. The event will take place in Polish with simultaneous interpretation provided.

The Low-Carbon Revolution: The Future of Green Energy

The Low-Carbon Revolution: The Future of Green Energy

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 22, 2018, 19:00 – 21:00

Chaired by Lucie Tungul, political scientist and analyst at the TOPAZ think tank.

Organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with TOPAZ.

Simon Mawer: Prague Spring

Simon Mawer: Prague Spring

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 23, 2018, 18:00 – 20:00

The author will take part in the presentation of the book and Petr Vizina will moderate.

The reading and discussion will take place in English with interpretation into Czech provided.

Ivan Martin Jirous – Mága

Ivan Martin Jirous – Mága

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 26, 2018, 19:00 – 21:00

The main subject of Mága (The Wizard) is the poet Ivan Martin Jirous. The book is an unusual combination of diary entries by Jirous’s daughter Františka Jirousová and her friend Jana Bauerová. They called Jirous Mág (meaning wizard or magician), a play on his nickname Magor (madman), and the book records events in Prostřední Vydří, Prague and Stará říše between 1997 and 2011.

The diaries map moments of Jirous’s life that other media were unable to capture, in particular everyday trifles and habits, such as his relationship to animals or how music moved him. The entries show the Jirous of the 1990s in a different light from how he was then seen by the public – as a drunk and provocateur. Both writers will take part in the presentation. 

In the second part of the evening we will introduce a project of the Municipal Library in Prague under which it is issuing all of Jirous’s poetry as e-books. Richard Olehla will outline its discuss plans and prospects. 

Aleš Palán will moderate.

When Will it Go Off? Tomorrow!

When Will it Go Off? Tomorrow!

  • Where: Divadlo v Dlouhé, Dlouhá 39, Prague 1
  • When: November 27, 2018, 12:00 – 16:00

Václav Havel’s play Tomorrow! is focused on Alois Rašín and the dramatic events of the night of 27 to 28 October 1918 preceding the declaration of the independent Czechoslovak Republic.

Tens of schools have responded to a call from the Václav Havel Library for students and pupils to mark the centenary of Czechoslovakia by staging Tomorrow!

They will record the performances they are putting on in their villages, towns and cities and the project will culminate with a theatre event at the Prague theatre Divadlo v Dlouhé where the producers of the best school productions will come together. 

The project has been carried out with the support of the Czech Ministry of Culture as part of the Společné století initiative.

Boris Khersonsky – Family Archive: Vanished Eastern Europe

Boris Khersonsky – Family Archive: Vanished Eastern Europe

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 28, 2018, 19:00 – 21:00

It tells the story of his Slav-Jewish family, which plays out against the backdrop of the 20thcentury and primarily in the area of Central and Eastern Europe. The book takes us to Odessa, Lvov and Karlovy Vary but also Kolyma, Jersalem and Brooklyn. 

With the detachment of a sober observer and careful documentarian, the author outlines the story of four generations of members of his own – at one time very spread out – family in the context of dramatic historical turns and disasters. These include WWI, the Bolshevik revolution, the years of Stalin’s terror, WWII, the Holocaust and the post-war totalitarian period. The book paints a complete picture of the period with the help of captions about those photographed and their appearances and attributes, as well as drawing attention to apparently inconsequential details about their environments. From these fragments it gradually burrows beneath the surface of events into the tragic fates of family members and the disappearing world of East European Jewry, as well as Orthodox Christianity as an ethos beneath the façade of Soviet reality. 

Also taking part in a discussion of the book will be its translator and the poet Ludmila Khersonsky, creator of the collages in Family Archive.

Interpretation into Czech provided.

Josef Topol: Seasons of the Heart

Josef Topol: Seasons of the Heart

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 29, 2018, 17:00 – 19:00

The book will be introduced by Marie Tomášová, while Topol’s oeuvre will be discussed by Milan Uhde and Lenka Jungmannová. 

Jan Šulc will host the evening. 

Recollections of Natalya Gorbanevskaya

Recollections of Natalya Gorbanevskaya

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: November 29, 2018, 20:00 – 22:00

Five years have passed since the death of Natalya Gorbanevskaya. This evening is dedicated to her and to all who wish to remember her together. We will remember her as a poet, with her poetry to be read in both the original and Czech translations, but also as a journalist and translator. 

We will recall how she was during her last few visits to Prague in the 2016 documentary Natalya Gorbanevskaya: “I’m Not a Hero” by Ksenia and Kirill Sacharnov. The film will be introduced by Ksenia Sacharnov, who will also share recollections of her encounters with its subject. 

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Publications / E-shop

The central focus of the Library’s publishing programme is the life and work of Václav Havel, his family and close collaborators and friends. For clarity, the programme is divided into six series: Václav Havel Library Notebooks, Václav Havel Library Editions, Student Line, Talks from Lány, Václav Havel Documents, Works of Pavel Juráček and Václav Havel Library Conferences. Titles that cannot be incorporated into any of the given series but which are nonetheless important for the Library’s publishing activities are issued independently, outside the series framework.

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Conferences

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Václav Havel European Dialogues

The Václav Havel European Dialogues is an international project that aims to initiate and stimulate a discussion about issues determining the direction of contemporary Europe while referring to the European spiritual legacy of Václav Havel. This idea takes its main inspiration from Václav Havel’s essay “Power of the Powerless”. More than other similarly focused projects, the Václav Havel European Dialogues aims to offer the “powerless” a platform to express themselves and in so doing to boost their position within Europe.

The Václav Havel European Dialogues is planned as a long-term project and involves cooperation with other organisations in various European cities. Individual meetings, which take the form of a conference, are targeted primarily at secondary and third-level students, as well as specialists and members of the public interested in European issues.

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Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize is awarded each year by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation to reward outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe and beyond.

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Václav Havel

Václav Havel
* 5. 10. 1936 Praha
† 18. 12. 2011 Hrádeček u Trutnova

1936
Foto
Václav Havel grew up
in a well-known, wealthy entrepreneurial
and intellectual family.
1951
Foto
Václav Havel completed primary schooling. Because
of his "bourgeois" background, options for
higher education were limited.
1951
Foto
Václav Havel worked as a chemical laboratory technician
while attending evening classes at a high school
from which he graduated in 1954.
1955
Foto
Václav Havel studied at the
Economics Faculty of the Czech
Technical University in Prague.
1960
Foto
Václav Havel began working at Prague's Theatre on
the Balustrade, first as a stagehand and later as
an assistant director and literary manager.
1963
Foto
Havel´s first play The Garden
Party was staged at Prague's
Theatre on the Balustrade.
1964
Foto
Václav Havel
married Olga
Splichalova.
1966
Foto
VH finished studies at at the
Theatre Faculty of the Academy of
Performing Arts in Prague .
1968
Foto
Václav Havel played an active role in
democratization and renewal of culture during the
era of reforms, known as Prague Spring.
1969
Foto
Havel's work were banned in Czechoslovakia. He
moved from Prague to the country, continued
his activities against the Communist regime.
1974
Foto
Václav Havel worked as a manual laborer
at a local brewery near Hrádeček in
the north of the Czech Republic.
1975
Foto
Václav Havel wrote an open
letter to President Gustav Husak,
criticizing the government.
1977
Foto
Václav Havel co-founded the Charter 77
human rights initiative and was one
of its first spokesmen.
1978
Foto
Václav Havel co-founded The
Committee for the Defense
of the Unjustly Prosecuted.
1979
Foto
Václav Havel was imprisoned several times
for his beliefs, his longest prison
term lasting from 1979 to 1983.
1989
Foto
Václav Havel emerged as one of the
leaders of the November opposition movement, also
known as the Velvet Revolution.
1990
Foto
Václav Havel is elected
President of Czechoslovakia on
December 29.
1993
Foto
Václav Havel is elected, after the
dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the first President
of the Czech Republic.
1996
Foto
On January
27, Olga
Havlova died.
1997
Foto
Václav Havel married Dagmar Veskrnova,
a popular and acclaimed Czech theatrical,
television and movie actress.
1999
Foto
Václav Havel enabled the entry of
the Czech Republic into the North
Atlantic Treat Organisation (NATO).
2003
Foto
Václav Havel left office after
his second term as Czech
president ended on 2 February 2003.
2004
Foto
Foundation of Václav
Havel Library in
Prague.
2004
Foto
The Czech Republic became the 35th
member State of the Council of
Europe on 30 June 1993.
2010
Foto
Václav Havel directed
a film adaptation of
his play Leaving.
2011
Foto
Václav Havel died at his
summer house Hrádeček in the
north of the Czech Republic.
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Educational projects

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Man of inspiration

This six-part series of educational videos introduces young viewers to the most important events in Czechoslovak history in the second half of the 20th century, with an accent on the human rights struggle. It is presented by singer and TV moderator Emma Smetana and choreographer and producer Yemi. The presenters of the English versions are native speakers.

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Read Havel

A collection of short videos in which well-known young people in Czech public life present iconic and lesser-known texts by Václav Havel.

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Václav Havel here and now

A travelling series of discussions about VH and more with Michael Žantovský, intended for secondary school students, libraries and arts centres.

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Best Student Essay Competition

One of the key genres of Václav Havel’s work is essays – on literary, artistic, social, political, and spiritual topics. His essays, such as the The Power of the Powerless and A Word About Words, have become classic texts of Czech literature; they have been translated into tens of languages, and are among the few truly world-famous works of Czech culture. This is also why it is necessary to keep cultivating the essay genre in the Czech language – not in the sense of imitating Václav Havel’s writing, but in the spirit of his courage to name unpleasant problems and search for unconventional solutions to them. For this reason, the Václav Havel Library is announcing the next year of the literary competition for secondary students: the Václav Havel Library Prize for Best Student Essay.

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Václav Havel´s Bookshelves

The Václav Havel Little Libraries are a key new Václav Havel Library project aimed at establishing a nationwide network of elementary and secondary schools that, with the support of the VHL, will spread the legacy of Václav Havel among their pupils and students. The aim of the Little Libraries is to create in schools (on the model of the existing Václav Havel’s Places) book shelves on which the schools will gather both texts by Václav Havel and texts closely linked to him. They may also contain other written materials, audio and video recordings and photographs.

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Lets rock!

Are your students (whether at elementary, arts-focused elementary or secondary schools) interested in history? Do you have a theatre or film club at your school, or are you teaching young people who “just” like to act? If so, we cordially invite you to join the Václav Havel Library in celebrating in a creative manner the centenary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia with the theatre-education project Tomorrow!

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Václav Havel – a Czech myth, or Havel in a Nutshell

This interactive workshop lasting for about 180 minutes takes place in the “Havel in a Nutshell” exhibition hall. Primary and secondary school students are divided into groups within which they deal with various “research” projects. Students work with selected texts and are provided with particular books. The workshop is related not only to the teaching of Czech history, but also to personal, literary, artistic and media training, and increasing student’s democratic consciousness as citizens.

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Guided tour – Havel In A Nutshell

The Václav Havel Library’s permanent exhibition Havel In A Nutshell introduces pupils and students the life of Václav Havel through a collage of photographs and quotations. Touch screens make use of detailed information and sound recordings to place individual chapters – family, theatre, dissent and presidency – in a broad cultural-historical context, while a large interactive map creates a tangible sense of Václav Havel’s global “footsteps”.

Exhibitions

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Havel in a nutshell

The Václav Havel Library’s permanent exhibition brings Václav Havel’s story to life via a collage of photographs and quotations. Touchscreens place individual chapters of his life in the broader cultural and historical context, while a large-scale interactive map allows visitors to gain a tangible sense of Václav Havel’s global “footsteps”.  

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Oldřich Škácha – Occupation 1968

A collection of photographs by Oldřich Škácha from the Václav Havel Library’s collection.

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The Faces of Resistance

Pavel Hroch’s online photographic exhibition captures the stories of those who, across several decades of Czechoslovak history, stood up to evil, inhumanity, oppression and coarseness and who at certain moments displayed courage, will to freedom, love of those around them and common sense.

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Via the East to the West

In autumn 1989, Prague was flooded with citizens from the German Democratic Republic. For them, the Czechoslovak capital was to be a transfer station on the journey to freedom, to the western part of their country, whose division was symbolised by the Berlin Wall. One of the main reasons for the sudden growth in the number of refugees was the fear that the GDR would close its borders with Czechoslovakia, the only country East German citizens could enter without a visa, ahead of 40th anniversary celebrations of its foundation.

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With a Passion for Freedom

Pavel Hroch’s photographs capture the revolutionary period springing from November 1989 as well as the era of transformation, the start of the 1990s, when things happened in Czechoslovakia that had previously been impossible and unimaginable, a period of joy and carnivalesque festivity, a period of visions, hopes and a great and perhaps somewhat naïve belief in the future. Twenty-five years later, the photographs hold a mirror up to the manner in which those dreams and visions have been realised and to where we find ourselves today.

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Leaving

Story of Václav Havel’s final play and first film (1988–2011)

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August invasion of Hrádeček

A meeting of the children of dissidents and others who shared recollections of Václav Havel. The exhibition is a colourful collage of photographs, audio recordings – from talks by individual participants on the subject “My life with Václav Havel”, to a concert by Monika Načeva and Michal Pavlíček – and unique archival materials.

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Archive / Documentation centre / Research projects

Dokumentační centrum

The Václav Havel Library is gradually gathering, digitizing, and making accessible written materials, photographs, sound recordings and other materials linked to the person of Václav Havel.

  • 50587 records in total
  • 15290 of events in the VH's life
  • 2994 of VH's texts
  • 1784 of photos 
  • 275 of videos
  • 555 of audios
  • 5625 of letters
  • 14718 of texts about VH
  • 5451 of books
  • 15274 of bibliography records

Access to the database of the VHL’s archives is free and possible after registering as a user. Accessing archival materials that exist in an unreadable form is only possible at the reading room of the Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, 110 00 Prague 1, every Tuesday (except state holidays) from 9:00 to 17:00, or by prior appointment.

We will be glad to answer your queries at archiv@vaclavhavel-library.org.

Illustration

Vladimir Hanzel's revolution

Collage of recollections, images and sound recordings from Vladimír Hanzel, President Václav Havel’s personal secretary, bringing the feverish atmosphere of the Velvet Revolution to life.

Illustration

Václav Havel Interviews

A database of all accessible interviews given to print media outlets by the dramatist, writer and political activist Václav Havel between the 1960s and 1989. The resulting collection documents the extraordinary life story of an individual, as well as capturing a specific picture of modern Czechoslovak history at a time when being a free-thinker was more likely to lead to jail than an official public post.

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All about Library

The Václav Havel Library collects, researches, disseminates, promotes and advocates the spiritual, literary and political legacy of a great figure of modern Czech history - the author, playwright, thinker, human rights defender and Czechoslovak and Czech president. It also focuses on people, events and phenomena related to the legacy of Václav Havel and strives to place them in the context of the times and of the present.

From August 2014, the Václav Havel Library is located at the address Ostrovní 13, Prague 1. The building’s ground-floor spaces is dedicated to an exhibition "Václav Havel or Havel in a nutshell" and used for VHL club events – all kinds of seminars, readings, exhibitions, lectures, concerts and theatre performances. The Library’s offices, archive, constantly expanding library, and reading room are located on the first floor.

The main aims of the Václav Havel Library include

  • Organizing archival, archival-research, documentary, museum and library activities focused on the work of Vaclav Havel and documents or objects related to his activities, and carries out professional analysis of their influence on the life and self-reflection of society
  • Serving, in a suitable manner, such as through exhibitions, the purpose of education and popularisation functions, thus presenting to the public the historical significance of the fight for human rights and freedoms in the totalitarian period and the formation of civil society during the establishment of democracy
  • Organizing scientific research and publication activities in its areas of interest
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Support us

Financial donations

If you would like to support the work of the Václav Havel Library or its specific activities or projects by means of a financial donation you can do so via the VHL’s PayPal account

Or by bank transfer to:

ČSOB a. s., Na Poříčí 24, 115 20 Praha 1

  • Crown account number 7077 7077 / 0300 CZK
  • Euro account number 7755 7755 / 0300 EUR
  • Dollar account number 7747 7747 / 0300 USD

If an individual makes a donation of over CZK 1,000, or if a company makes a donation of over CZK 2,000, in one calendar year we will create for you a donation contract confirming the amount of the donation involved; the donor can use this to reduce their tax base in compliance with the law on taxation. For more information, contact us.

Donors with US citizenship can support us through the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation New York.

Donations and loans to the VHL archive

The Václav Havel Library administers an archive of written materials, documents, photographs, video recordings and other materials related to the life and work of Václav Havel. The archive is predominantly digital in form. If you or somebody close to you is the owner of original texts, photographs, speeches or other works produced by Václav Havel we would appreciate it greatly if you contacted us. We will oversee the digitalisation of these documents and place them in our digital archive. If you would like to keep possession of such documents or items, we will return them in perfect condition.  

If a copy or original is donated to the Václav Havel Library, the terms of donation and use will in all cases be agreed with the owner. The names of all donors or owners will be listed alongside the documentary materials in question.

Internships

We offer short and long-term internships at the Václav Havel Library to Czech and foreign students. Interns are particularly welcomed in the fields of library studies and archival science, arts management, journalism, Czech Studies and other areas of the humanities.

We welcome knowledge of English (German and French are also a plus), while knowledge of Czech is an advantage for foreign interns.

Internships range in duration from six weeks to one year, while it is possible to agree on individual duration depending on the requirements of schools. On completion of the internship, the participant receives a certificate with an appraisal. Internships take place on the basis of prior agreement with applicants and dates must be agreed around two months in advance. Václav Havel Library internships are unpaid and we do not cover transport or accommodation costs.

If you are interested in an internship at the Václav Havel Library, contact us at the email address:

Media and promotion cooperation with the VHL

The Václav Havel Library welcomes the mutual exchange of links and the publication of our banners and information about our events. For more information, contact us directly.

Volunteers

The Václav Havel Library welcomes volunteers who would like to assist in our work.