Menu Search VHL web CS
Václav Havel
Zpět na začátek

Club / News / Program


Three candidates shortlisted for the 2023 Václav Havel Prize  05/09/23

The selection panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, which rewards outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights in Europe and beyond, has today announced the shortlist for the 2023 Award. Meeting in Prague today, the panel – made up of independent figures from the world of human rights and chaired by the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Tiny Kox – decided to shortlist the following three nominees, in alphabetical order: More


Three candidates shortlisted for the 2022 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize  06/09/22

The discussion among the seven-member jury helmed by the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe centred on the importance of the issue of human rights during this tense period. The finalists include Vladimir Kara-Murza, a political prisoner and leading Russian democracy campaigner; Ukraine’s 5 AM Coalition, which gathers evidence of human rights abuses stemming from Russia’s invasion of the country; and Hungary’s Rainbow Coalition defending LGBTQIA+ rights. “This year’s selection reflects the central role that human rights play in the current European crisis,” says Michael Žantovský, jury member and executive director of the Václav Havel Library, which bestows the prize in cooperation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Nadace Charty 77.


The Other Europe  27/04/22

Dear Friends, After three years we have completed the international project The Other Europe, during which, in cooperation with partner institutions, we have processed and made public recordings of interviews shot in 1987 and 1988 behind the Iron Curtain, and in exile, with important representatives of the opposition and the arts, as well as random citizens. Over those three years we have prepared video, audio and text of 106 interviews in speakers’ native languages and English translation. Despite public health restrictions in the Covid period, we have jointly prepared 16 international conferences and public presentations in six Central and Eastern European states. More


From Schuman to Havel – what next?  16/02/22

The Václav Havel Library is a proud partner of the project Beyond Robert Schuman’s Europe More

Program for February 2024<>


Full-On Decade: Launch of Book on 1990s Czech Pop

Full-On Decade: Launch of Book on 1990s Czech Pop

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: February 1, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

Freedom, euphoria, the whole world opening up. The 1990s represented an extraordinary time in the Czech Republic. And, perhaps for the last time ever, popular music played a major role. Dekáda naplno (Full-On Decade), the first comprehensive book on the Czech music scene in the wake of the Velvet Revolution, tells the story of the Czech music scene post-1989. Radek Diestler, a music historian who experienced those times at first hand, describes with erudition, insight and wit the creation of a club and festival network, the building of a record industry and concert agencies, changes in the perception and sale of music, the fate of metal and folk and the emergence of Czech indie and dance scenes. “We’ve already got the necessary time gap. And, unfortunately, the first protagonists of those times are slowly beginning to pass into the hereafter,” he comments, explaining why the time is now ripe to evaluate a period characterised by freedom, courage and improvised rules.  The book contains unique photographs and interviews with important figures of that period.

The book’s author, Radek Diestler, film producer Petr Koza, director and presenter of music programmes Radim Špaček, journalist Honza Dědek, writer Jáchym Topol, contemporary media and pop culture eminence grise Josef Podstata and publisher Tomáš Brandejs will take part... while further names cannot be ruled out.

Hosted by Denisa Novotná.

Tomáš Etzler: Journalist in China 2 – Don’t Lose Your Mind!

Tomáš Etzler: Journalist in China 2 – Don’t Lose Your Mind!

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: February 5, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

Tomáš Etzler served as Czech Television’s correspondent in China for many years and also worked in Hong Kong. He is now bringing out Nezešílet! (Don’t Lose Your Mind!), the follow-up to his famous “Asian book” Co jsem to proboha udělal? (What on Earth Have I Done?), mapping the respected journalist and reporter’s intense experiences during more than a decade in China. How did the one-child policy affect China’s development? What is the status of women there? What was the most famous Chinese dissident and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo like? Should we be concerned by Chinese expansionism? ​Get insights into the lives of ordinary Chinese people and into the life of a journalist reporting from a totalitarian state. The discussion with Tomáš Etzler will be moderated by Jáchym Topol.

Václav Havel: Temptation – An Andrej Krob Video Evening

Václav Havel: Temptation – An Andrej Krob Video Evening

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: February 12, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

An evening of archival film. Appearing on screen will be Ivan M. Havel, Petruska Šustrová, Jarmilka Bělíková, Dasha Ilkovičová-Havlova, Jirka Mrázek, Petr Tat'oun and Divadlo na tahu actors Lukáš Hrabětá, Jana Sekyrová, Sylva Krobová, Karel Bureš, Aleš Duda and Jan Kašpar. In 1985 Václav Havel wrote his own take on the Faust myth, titling it Pokoušení (Temptation). In the play the hero also faces vain seductive offers – here too a pact with the devil is central. However, this Faust is set in the present day and he is fighting primarily against himself, his own slyness, his own pride, the devil within him.

The play was banned, meaning the only way to get it to an audience was via video. Theatre director Andrej Krob learned to handle the camera “on the fly”, capturing situations in one take. Jan Kašpar and David Schmoranz took turns behind the camera alongside him, also playing the role of soundman.

Anna Freimanová will host the evening.

In Conversation With... Matt Field

In Conversation With... Matt Field

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: February 13, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

In little over a year, the UK’s ambassador to Prague, Matt Field, has become perhaps the most recognisable foreign diplomat in the Czech Republic. But what does he regard as the most important aspects of his mission in the country? How does he view Czech-British relations in 2024? And what are the values he is most keen to promote in his position? Matt Field will discuss these questions and more with Tereza Willoughby, head of arts news at public broadcaster Czech Television.

In Conversation With... is a series of occasional talks in English at the Václav Havel Library.

Ukraine as Task

Ukraine as Task

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: February 14, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

A discussion forum with Rostislav Prokopjuk on Ukraine’s past, present and future.

The Free Academy: Ivan Foletti

The Free Academy: Ivan Foletti

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: February 15, 2024, 19:00 – 20:00

Russia, Empire and the Middle Ages: A Simple Equation?

Russia, empire and the Middle Ages. These are words that don’t tend to evoke positive emotions in the present-day Czech Republic. If they appear in the same title, and even if they are genuinely linked, the equation seems clear: the lecture will concern a dark side of human history. But is it really that simple? By studying the architecture, art and scientific texts of the last two centuries, we will attempt to consider how (and why) Russian imperial identity has evolved from Tsar Nicholas I to Vladimir Putin. At the same time, however, we will also ask, provocatively, whether there was any other possibility, and whether it is possible to view the whole situation in a more complex manner and from a global perspective.

Professor Ivan Foletti lectures in art history at Masaryk University in Brno, where he is the head of the Centre for Early Medieval Studies. He has also taught at the universities of Lausanne, Venice, Fribourg, Padua and Poitiers. His research focuses on the art of the Byzantine Empire, Milan, Rome, Constantinople and the Caucasus in the late ancient and early medieval periods.

The Garden Party Belongs to All! For No Fewer Than 60 Years

The Garden Party Belongs to All! For No Fewer Than 60 Years

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: February 19, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

Václav Havel: The Garden Party. A stage reading by students from the Department of Dramatic Theatre at DAMU

In December we marked the 60th anniversary of the world premiere of Václav Havel's debut play, The Garden Party. Its hero, Hugo Pludek, is not so different from many of today's young people. Intelligent, but in a vague, sort of generic way and without a clear goal or desire to fight for anything. The stage reading maps his moves on the career chessboard, one by one, and his ascent: smooth, discreet and essentially a matter of indifference to him.

Featuring: Jan Roháč, Jan Šmíd, Anastázie Dobrodinská, Martin Mlčouch and Michaela Krylová

Directed by Mykhailo Fedorov, dramaturgy by Adéla Krausová, set and costumes by Štěpánka Vaškevič

Debate with Respekt

Debate with Respekt

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: February 20, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

Discussion featuring editors from the weekly Respekt and their guess. For more details and the names of guests visit prior to the event.

Book Presentation: Paramisa – Fairytales and Tales of Romany Storytellers from the Former Czechoslovakia

Book Presentation: Paramisa – Fairytales and Tales of Romany Storytellers from the Former Czechoslovakia

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: February 21, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

Until a few decades ago, tales were handed down among the Roma in the former Czechoslovakia. They were recounted mainly by men, and the audience was made up chiefly of adults, not children. Before storytelling sessions were overtaken by television and other forms of entertainment, the Romani artist Milena Hübschmannová (1933–2005) recorded hundreds of such stories on tape. She published some of them herself in the 1973 book Romské pohádky (Romani Fairy Tales), while others, recorded after the publication of the first collection, have only now been published in Czech. The launch of the book Paramisa. Pohádky a příběhy romských vypravěčů z bývalého Československa (Paramisa: Fairytales and Tales of Romany Storytellers from the Former Czechoslovakia) will be accompanied by a presentation of illustrations by Ladislava Gažiová and readings by a number of Romani authors from their own adaptations of folk tales. The book will be “christened” by Tereza Hrabovská, daughter of Milena Hübschmann, and Josef Goroľ, the son of one of the storytellers.


Karel Hubáček 100

Karel Hubáček 100

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: February 22, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

This evening dedicated to the architect Karel Hubáček, winner of international awards, founder of the legendary SIAL studio, is being held on the centenary of his birth. Examples of the studio’s most notable projects will be presented by Miroslav Masák, architect, university professor and former advisor to President Václav Havel, while Petr Kratochvíl, an architectural theorist and university teacher, will discuss Karel Hubáček the man.

Bohdan Holomíček: Album

Bohdan Holomíček: Album

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: February 29, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

As its 700th publication, the TORST publishing house is issuing a photography book by Bohdan Holomíček entitled Album 1958-1977 bringing together 238 photographs from the first 20 years of Holomíček’s career. It is the second in a series of books with the unifying title Album that maps his photographic work. The first, Album Václav (The Václav Album), was published in 2016 and captures Václav Havel from 1974 until his death, among his closest friends, with writers, theatre artists and his wife Olga, as well as Czech and international politicians. For more than 60 years, Bohdan Holomíček’s images have been not only a unique document of historical events, but above all an intimate chronicle of the lives of the people he has encountered. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that Bohdan Holomíček can be described as a singular natural phenomenon.

“The unbelievable has come to pass and after seven years we are publishing this Holomíček book. I am happy that it will look just the same as I imagined. Specifically, that for the first time ever, Bohdan Holomíček’s photographs are arranged chronologically, making it possible to also read the author's life story from the photographs,” says publisher Viktor Stoilov.

Bohdan Holomíček will present a projection of his photos while a debate with him and Viktor Stoilov will be moderated by Jáchy Topol.

Havel Channel

Havel Channel je audiovizuální projekt Knihovny Václava Havla, jehož cílem je šířit myšlenkový, literární a politický odkaz Václava Havla, bez ohledu na vzdálenost, zeměpisné hranice či nouzové stavy. Jeho páteř tvoří debaty, vzdělávací projekty a rozhovory. Velký prostor je věnován též konferencím, autorským čtením, záznamům divadelních inscenací a koncertům. Audiovizuální projekt Knihovny Václava Havla Havel Channel se uskutečňuje díky laskavé podpoře Karel Komárek Family Foundation.

Zpět na začátek

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.

Zpět na začátek

Conferences & prizes


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.


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.


Havel - Albright Transatlantic Dialogues

Since the first Václav Havel Transatlantic Dialogues at GLOBSEC and FORUM 2000 conferences last year, we have lost another stalwart advocate of the transatlantic bond and of the need to face threats to democracy and international order together on both sides of the Atlantic, the former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In view of the close bond between Václav Havel and Madeleine Albright and, after Havel's death, between the Secretary and the Library, the Václav Havel Library, with the approval of Madeleine Albright's family, renamed and rebranded the program as The Havel-Albright Transatlantic Dialogues (HATD), after the two major figures with roots in Central Europe who have personified the bond. Together, Václav Havel and Madeleine Albright symbolize the transatlantic relationship and the fundamental values underpinning it perhaps better than any other two people in recent history. The upcoming Dialogues “The Indispensable Woman: The Legacy of Madeleine K. Albright”, at the FORUM 2000 conference on September 1, and at the “Havel and our Crisis” conference at Colby College, ME, on September 28, will thus become venues for a well-deserved tribute to the pair we all respected and admired.

Zpět na začátek

Václav Havel

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

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

Educational projects

Zpět na začátek

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.

  • 69397 records in total
  • 26449 of events in the VH's life
  • 2831 of VH's texts
  • 2125 of photos 
  • 403of videos
  • 568of audios
  • 6604of letters
  • 15101of texts about VH
  • 8169 of books
  • 39726of 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


Havel in a nutshell

The virtual exhibition Václav Havel in a Nutshell places the life story of Václav Havel in the broader cultural and historic context in four chronologically distinct chapters with rich visual accompaniment. The exhibition is supplemented by the interactive map Flying the World with Václav Havel, which captures in physical form Havel’s global “footprint”.


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.


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.


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.”  

Zpět na začátek

All about Library

The Václav Havel Library works to preserve the legacy of Václav Havel, literary, theatrical and also political, in particular his struggle for freedom, democracy and the defence of human rights. It supports research and education on the life, values and times of Václav Havel as well as the enduring significance of his ideas for both the present and future.

The Václav Havel Library also strives to develop civil society and active civic life, serving as a platform for discussion on issues related to the support and defence of liberty and democracy, both in the Czech Republic and internationally.

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
Zpět na začátek

Staňte se členy Klubu přátel Knihovny Václava Havla

We believe that we are succeeding in fulfilling the vision of Václav Havel, who, when he founded the Library, declared that it only makes sense as a living organism that occupies an unmissable place in the whole of public and political life. We see this as a commitment and inspiration for the future. We would like to use the footage of our hundreds of events in our own internet TV channel, expand our publication programme, develop more e-learning series, start organising workshops for teachers... But all this will require considerable financial resources. That's why we decided to turn to our visitors and supporters for support.

Pomozte nám inspirovat své okolí i Vy!
Přijdete se k nám a staňte se členem Klubu přátel Knihovny VH!


Podpořte nás


1000 KČ / měsíc

Váš příspěvek nám pomůže s organizací pravidelných akcí pro veřejnost.


10000 KČ / měsíc

Váš příspěvek nám pomůže rozvíjet náš ediční plán a publikační činnost


? Kontaktujte nás
pro další informace

Váš příspěvek nám pomůže s vývojem vzdělávacích miniserií, audivizuálních projektů, přípravou mezinárodních konferencí...

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.


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.


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

Česká centraBakala FoundationRockefeller 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