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“It was a time of continuous and glorious surprises, a time of great improvisation, a time of collective imagination. Suddenly people were once again able to be together” Václav Havel, November 21, 2016

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Club / News / Program

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Support Hong Kong with 5 fingers raised!  10/12/19

On 10 December 2019, Human Rights Day, the Vaclav Havel Library is launching a Facebook happening to support the protesters in Hong Kong. We call upon everyone to upload their photographs with their 5 fingers raised under this Facebook event. More

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It’s here again – the Velvet Weekend is coming!  06/11/19

Do you recall that time of euphoria? Thirty years ago when the Czech and Slovak nation united and said a clear NO to the Communist government? Let’s celebrate this round anniversary together and remember Václav Havel, the first democratically elected president of Czechoslovakia after 1989. More

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Ilham Tohti wins Sakharov Prize  25/10/19

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, bestowed by the European Parliament, has gone to Ilham Tohti, a professor of mathematics at a Beijing university. He received the award for his long-term efforts to improve the situation of China’s Uyghur minority. The announcement was made by the president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, at its plenary session. Ilham Tohti is also the laureate of this year’s Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, though he was unable to collect it in person as he has been in jail for five years. He received a life sentence for separatism in 2014 and his family have had no direct contact with him for three years.

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VHL launches donations site  05/10/19

Today, on the 83rd anniversary of Václav Havel’s birth, we are launching the Václav Havel Library donations website, www.havelnavzdy.cz (the title means “Havel forever”).  More

Program for December 2019<>

Krzysztof Miller: Breakthroughs and Conflicts

Krzysztof Miller: Breakthroughs and Conflicts

  • Where: Leica Gallery, Školská 28, Praha 1
  • When: November 8, 2019, 19:00 – January 5, 2020, 21:00

Work by the Polish photo reporter from the Velvet Revolution and around the world.

1989. The Eastern Bloc is falling apart. Krzysztof Miller, then a fledgling Polish reporter, captures in his pictures demonstrations and changes in Poland, the Velvet Revolution in Prague and the bloody fall of the regime in Romania.

Between 1990 and 2008 he documented a series of military conflicts and victims of massacres and famines. Miller, who is today famous, has undertaken almost 60 international trips, returning to a number of places several times. Among other spots, he has taken pictures in Romania, Iran, Georgia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Bosnia, Croatia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Burundi, Zaire, Kosovo, Congo, Iraq, Uganda, Southern Sudan and Kenya.

Miller immortalised key moments and central conflicts of the 20th century, as this exhibition bears out. The images on show deliver not just a picture of the contemporary world but also of a perceptive and exceptional photo reporter who, thanks to his perceptive eye, has managed to capture ordinary people in their everyday reality.

The exhibition is an accompanying event to Festival of Freedom, celebrating the anniversary of 17 November 1989.

Co-organisers: Polish Institute in Prague, Václav Havel Library, Leica Gallery Prague, Dom Spotkań z Historią and Agencja Gazeta. The project has been supported by the Czech-Polish Forum of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Civil Society Under Threat? Its Current Role, 30 Years After

Civil Society Under Threat? Its Current Role, 30 Years After

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: December 2, 2019, 17:00 – 19:00

From the Central European perspective, 1989 is viewed as a “year of miracles” when freedom and democracy were gradually established in the countries of the decaying Eastern Bloc. Newly acquired freedom also brought previously unimagined opportunities, and a group of former dissidents were involved in the birth of a nascent civil society. But after 30 years’ actual experience of liberal-democratic rule, what really remains of that miracle?

The current role of civil society and its status today will be discussed by Bishop Václav Malý, a member of the board of directors of the Committee of Goodwill – Olga Havlová Foundation, and Robert Basch, executive director of the Open Society Fund Prague. Paulina Tabery, head of the Public Opinion Research Centre at the Czech Academy of Sciences, will present new findings from the study Opinions of the Czech public on the Velvet Revolution and on changes to the political and economic system.

Chaired by Martin Churavý.

Organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the Committee of Goodwill – Olga Havlová Foundation.

Interviews From a Time of Tumult

Interviews From a Time of Tumult

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: December 2, 2019, 20:00 – 22:00

How has the arena of freedom in our country changed over the last 30 years? In what state is freedom both social and personal? 

Rozhovory přes rozbouřené doby (Interviews From a Time of Tumult), a book of interviews with eminent figures in public life, offers reflections on the “arena of freedom” in contemporary Czech society. Each of the interviewees has a close relationship to our state’s process of democratisation and a number were personally involved. 

They include dissident and politician Luboš Dobrovský, former student activist and co-founder of humanitarian organisation People in Need Šimon Pánek, dissident and politician Petr Pithart, constitutional lawyer Jan Kysela, historian Igor Lukeš, journalist and writer Aleš Palán, political commentator Jiří Pehe, writerMark Slouka, historian Timothy Snyder, documentarian Olga Sommerová, scientist and Roman Catholic priest Marek Orko Vácha and translator and journalist Michael Žantovský.

The interviews, with a foreword by publisher Aleš Lederer, were conducted in connection with the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the foundation of the PROSTOR publishing house, which was the direct successor of the samizdat series Prostor and a review of the same name, which began in 1982. 

The interviews were conducted by journalists Eva Bobůrková, Jiří Leschtina, Petr Placák and Petr Vizina while the book also boasts a wealth of photographs.

Denisa Novotná will chair the evening.

Evenings with Reporters: Poles and Czechs 30 Years Later / Beyond Borders

Evenings with Reporters: Poles and Czechs 30 Years Later / Beyond Borders

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: December 3, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

The fall of the Iron Curtain opened up borders. But do we actually observe the world, or do we travel merely for experiences? The media, internet and social networks deliver thousands of images a minute from far-flung parts. We are overwhelmed by reports about refugees, military conflicts and revolutions and photos of natural disasters. How close is solidarity to indifference? Thirty years after our countries won their freedom back, two photo reporters will discuss their experiences of regions that are still awaiting that happy moment.   

Guests: Alžběta Jungrová and Kuba Kamiński, winner of the National Geographic Photo Contest and Grand Press Photo, who has worked in Belarus, China and Crimea following Russian annexation. 

The debate will take place in Polish and Czech with interpretation from and into both languages.

Organised by the Václav Havel Library and the Polish Institute in Prague with the support of the Czech-Polish Forum at the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Daniel Hradecký: Approaching Wood

Daniel Hradecký: Approaching Wood

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: December 5, 2019, 20:00 – 22:00

On the occasion of the publication of his new collection Přibližování dřeva (Approaching Wood), poet Daniel Hradecký presents his own poems as well as works by other writers linked to Litvínov, such as Josef Jedlička and Pavel Růžek.

The owner of the Perplex publishing house, Martin Kubík, and its editor-in-chief (and the book’s editor) Dan Jedlička will speak with the author.

Organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the Perplex publishing house.

What is Coming from Moscow?

What is Coming from Moscow?

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: December 6, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

In what direction is Russian politics headed? What is the state of civil society? Is there any room for independent media? Do the opposition have a chance to communicate with their voters? And where has senator Smoljak’s coat disappeared to? 

A debate with senators David Smoljak and Marek Hilšer, who recently spent time in Russia with government and opposition figures, whose experiences will be complemented by Alexandr Mitrofanov, journalists who are very familiar with the region.

The Other Europe

The Other Europe

  • Where: Ponrepo, Bartolomějská 11, 110 00 Praha 1
  • When: December 9, 2019, 18:00 – 20:00

In 1987 Jacques Rupnik and director Tom Roberts crossed the Iron Curtain to shoot a film about daily life in the Eastern Bloc for UK viewers. What impression did late socialism make? 

A unique selection of original, previously unpublished footage from the five-hour serial has been prepared by the National Film Archive in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library. The documentary includes hundreds of minutes of hitherto unexplored interviews with dissidents, politicians, artists, scientists and ordinary people recorded at the end of the 1980s.

From next year materials from The Other Europe will become part of an extensive on-line database.

Jacques Rupnik will introduce the screening and provide commentary.

The project is carried out with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the CR, the Europe for Citizens programme and the International Visegrad Fund.

Debate with Respekt

Debate with Respekt

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: December 9, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

Discussion with editors from the weekly Respekt and their guests on a topical issue. For more details visit www.vaclavhavel.cz

Czechoslovaks in the Gulag III: Book Presentation

Czechoslovaks in the Gulag III: Book Presentation

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: December 10, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

On Human Rights Day this year we mark the 80th anniversary of the start of waves of refugees from Czechoslovakia to the Soviet Union. The majority of the 8,000 refugees ended up in the Gulag, where 1,000 of them died. Selected stories of those refugees are the focus of the third edition of the successful series Czechoslovaks in the Gulag, which is being published in a co-edition by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes and Czech Television. 

During the evening, as in the book, the fates of Czechoslovak citizens persecuted and executed in the USSR from the Bolshevik revolution to the end of Stalin’s era will be explored. The evening is dedicated to the memory of Heliodor Píka and Jakub Koutný, who saved thousands of their compatriots from Gulag camps and themselves met their deaths in Communist prisons in Czechoslovakia.

Among those in attendance will be the publication’s authors, Jan Dvořák, Jaroslav Formánek and Adam Hradilek, as well as relatives of the victims, who contributed to the preparation of the book.

Dana Huňátová: Velvet Diplomacy

Dana Huňátová: Velvet Diplomacy

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: December 11, 2019, 18:00 – 20:00

From 11 December 1989 Dana Huňátová served as head of the office of the freshly appointed minister of foreign affairs, Jiří Dienstbier. In a book of memoirs aptly entitled Sametová diplomacie (Velvet Diplomacy) she lifts the lid on Czechoslovak diplomacy between December 1989 and the elections of June 1992, as well as casting light on the roots of a number of political disputes.

The book’s foreword was penned by former foreign minister Jaroslav Šedivý, who will help launch it, while the afterword was written by Madeleine Albright, who was a great admirer of Jiří Dienstbier and Václav Havel.

The evening will be moderated by the book’s editor Irena Tatíčková and writer Marek Toman will read excerpts. 

The group Tata Bojs will provide musical accompaniment.

Jiří Sozanský: AMNESIA

Jiří Sozanský: AMNESIA

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: December 12, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

Discussion with the authors of the publication AMNÉZIE (AMNESIA), issued in connection with an exhibition of work by Jiří Sozanský at the Municipal House (15.10.2019–17.1.2020).

Both the publication and the exhibition recall important figures such as Josef Čapek, Emil Filla, Milada Horáková, Záviš Kalandr, Jan Zahradníček, Jiří Stránský, Jan Zajíc, Jan Palach, Ivan Martin Jirous and Václav Havel. These personalities – distinguished artists, scientists, journalists, politicians, civic activists and citizens unknown in their time – represent a set of people who shared a similar destiny: they displayed courage and stood up to the two totalitarian systems of the 20th century, Nazism and communism. 

Alongside the project’s creator Jiří Sozanský, the discussion will involve philosopher Martin Palouš, journalist Vlastimil Ježek and historian Petr Koura, as well as Libuše Heczková, Josef Vojvodík and Jan Wiendl, who are Bohemists and literary scientists at Charles University’s Faculty of Arts.

The evening will also feature the presentation of the publication SYMPOSION 27 and an autograph signing session.

Olga Housková: Family Album

Olga Housková: Family Album

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: December 16, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

In short texts, photographic portraits and family snaps, the book Rodinné album (Family Album) maps the 20th century from the perspective of photographer Olga Housková (1919–2015), who together with her twin sister grew up in the milieu of the First Republic avant garde. Housková came of age in the circle surrounding the magazine Mladá kultura and during the war ran a photo studio with her sister where alongside children’s and portrait photography they were involved in the resistance and helped Jewish friends, many of whom died in concentration camps. She later worked for many years as the photographer at the Divadlo na Vinohrady theatre.

All of this is the subject of a succinct, even laconic, memoir and 120 photographs from the albums Housková created during her life.

Episodes from everyday life feature well-known names from her close circle, while major historical events are scarcely touched on.

Memoirs, memory, photography, the phenomenon of the family album and “big” history will be discussed by Vlasta Dufková, Anna Housková, Mariana Machová and Josef Moucha.

Táňa Fischerová will read excerpts from the book while Jan Šulc will moderate the event.

T. G. Masaryk: The Hilsner Affair: Texts from 1898–1900

T. G. Masaryk: The Hilsner Affair: Texts from 1898–1900

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: December 17, 2019, 17:00 – 19:00

“I will not allow myself to be violated by anybody and I will not retreat in the face of lies and misunderstood slogans. Are thinking independently and working scientifically forbidden? My criticism of the Polná trial is the same scientific work as my other scientific work. The intelligentsia are those who think. Those who think also have an obligation against every injustice and must stand up and combat superstition in a thoroughgoing manner! Don’t lie! That would be the first law of a modern code of ethics. Not to lie to people but neither to lie to oneself. Let us not forget that he who lies to another lies to himself. He deceives himself in his imagination by allowing the lower instincts and feelings – unjustified, unconsidered, blind, unfelt.” (Masaryk 1899–1900)

The 24th edition of Works of TGM includes two volumes of Masaryk’s published works from 1898–1900 focused primarily on sociological, educational and political themes. More than 30 pieces document the author’s opposition to ritual superstition and anti-Semitism and his brave polemical stance during the so-called Hilsner Affair.

His focus was the issues of mass education, the relationship between journalism, the intelligentsia and the nature of the nation as a whole, the need for the orientation of the public and each “only slightly thinking person” and the effort to transform the Czech public sphere. 

The presentation will be helmed by Marie Bahenská and Jan Zouhar while the chief editor of the Works of TGM Jiří Brabec and the publication’s editor Luboš Merhaut will also speak. Excerpts from Masaryk’s texts will be read.

In cooperation with the publishers of the Works of TGM: the Masaryk Institute, the Archive of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the T. G. Masaryk Institute.

Young Czechs in Multinational Institutions

Young Czechs in Multinational Institutions

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: December 19, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

The Mladá politika association extends an invitation to another of its discussions held in cooperation with the VHL. This time the focus is on the experience of working for the European Central Bank, NATO and the European Union, how the Czech Republic and its representatives are viewed at such institutions and whether nationality plays any role whatever in them. We will discuss the real working of multinational institutions and the myths commonly associated with them, while we will also ask ourpanellists about their perceptions of the global role of these organisations in the context of recent news stories such as the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, the renewal of quantitative easing by the ECB and Brexit. 

Guests: Vojtěch Hons of DG NEAR at the European Commission, Jakub Červenka, who works on stress tests at the European Central Bank and a TBC third speaker from NATO.

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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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Year of Revolution

The year of the Velvet Revolution from the perspective of young YouTubers. A series of seven video lessons aimed at elementary and secondary schools mapping the revolutionary year from January to December 1989 and introducing viewers to key moments in totalitarian Czechoslovakia’s transformation into a democratic country.

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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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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”.

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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.

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.

Depository

Za dobu svého trvání Knihovna Václava Havla připravila a uspořádala desítky výstav. Část z nich – přibližující nejen život a dílo Václava Havla, ale též nejrůznější kulturní, historické a společenské fenomény českých zemí 2. poloviny 20. století – se stala součástí jejího archivu. Nyní bychom je rádi prostřednictvím tohoto digitálního depozitáře nabídli dalším vzdělávacím a kulturním institucím (školám, knihovnám, klubům…) k bezplatnému využití.  

  • 03/09/19 – 30/09/19foyer knihovny Petra Bezruče v Opavě, 1. patro
  • 03/09/19 – 26/10/19Opava, Galerie Hřivnáč
  • 09/2019Štěpánek Netolický House, Třeboň
  • 01/10/19 – 30/10/19
  • 21/10/19 – 31/12/19Městská knihovna, Žamberk
  • 30/10/19 – 30/11/19Kinský Château, Valašské Meziříčí
  • 10/2019Vysoké Mýto
  • 01/11/19 – 31/12/19Městská knihovna Písek
  • 01/11/19 – 30/11/19
  • 01/11/19 – 02/12/19
  • 01/11/19 – 30/11/19
  • 01/11/19 – 29/11/19Městské kulturní středisko, Dobřany
  • 01/11/19 – 30/11/19SSJS, Tábor
  • 01/11/19 – 30/11/19SSJS, Tábor
  • 01/11/19 – 30/11/19Gymnázium a Střední odborná škola ekonomická, Sedlčany
  • 01/11/19 – 30/11/19Gymnázium a Střední odborná škola ekonomická, Sedlčany
  • 01/11/19 – 29/11/19Základní umělecká škola, Teplice
  • 01/11/19 – 30/11/19Střední průmyslová škola na Proseku, Praha
  • 01/11/19 – 30/11/19Střední průmyslová škola na Proseku, Praha
  • 01/11/19 – 31/12/20České centrum v Sofii, Bulharsko
  • 01/11/19 – 02/12/19Pečky
  • 01/11/19 – 29/02/20OA a SOSŽE v Žatci
  • 04/11/19 – 10/01/20Municipal Library, Ústí nad Orlicí
  • 10/11/19 – 17/11/19Pětašedesátka, Úvaly
  • 11/11/19 – 08/12/19
  • 11/11/19 – 29/11/19Střední škola letecké a výpočetní techniky, Odolena Voda
  • 11/11/19 – 30/06/20Gymnázuim, základní škola a mateřská škola Hello, Ostrava
  • 11/11/19 – 30/11/19ZŠ a MŠ Velký Újezd
  • 14/11/19 – 19/11/19SŠŽTS, Šumperk
  • 15/11/19 – 01/02/201st International School of Ostrava
  • 15/11/19 – 30/11/19Nadační fond ZUŠ Alfréda Radoka, Valašské Meziříčí
  • 17/11/19
  • 17/11/19TJ Sokol, Brozany
  • 11/2019
  • 11/2019
  • 03/01/20 – 21/01/201. Základní škola Hořovice
  • 01/2020Gymnázium Jana Palacha, Mělník
  • 01/2020 – 02/2020
  • 01/2020
  • 02/03/20 – 31/03/20SPŠ akademika Heyrovského, Ostrava
  • 02/11/20 – 02/12/202.11. – 2. 12. 2020
  • 30/11/21 – 05/01/22
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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.

Illustration

Pavel Juráček Archive

The Pavel Juráček Archive arose in February 2014 when his son Marek Juráček handed over six banana boxes and a typewriter case from his father’s estate to the Václav Havel Library. Thousands of pages of manuscripts, typescripts, photographs, documents and personal and official correspondence are gradually being classified and digitalised. The result of this work should be not only to map the life and work of one of the key figures of the New Wave of Czechoslovak film in the 1960s, but also to make his literary works accessible in the book series The Works of Pavel Juráček.

The aim of the Václav Havel Library is to ensure that Pavel Juráček finds a place in the broader cultural consciousness and to notionally build on the deep friendship he shared with Václav Havel. Soon after Juráček’s death in 1989 Havel said of him: “Pavel was a friend of mine whom I liked very much. He was one of the most sensitive and gentle people I have known – that’s why I cannot write more about him.”  

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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.  

Bakala PhilanthropyRockefeller Brothers FundJan BartaAsiana GroupMoneta Money BankThe Vaclav Havel Library FoundationNadace Charty 77Sekyra FoudationVŠEMRicohP3chemTechsoup ČRNewton MediaHlavní město PrahaMinisterstvo kultury ČRMinisterstvo zahraničních věcí ČRUS EmbassyStátní fond kultury