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Václav Havel Prize awarded to Belarusian opposition leader Maria Kalesnikava  27/09/21

The ninth Václav Havel Human Rights Prize – which honours outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights – has been awarded to Belarusian opposition leader and activist Maria Kalesnikava, the PACE press service reported. The 60,000-euro prize was presented at a special ceremony on the opening day of the autumn plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg. Maria Kalesnikava is one of the opposition leaders in Belarus and a member of the Co-ordination Council. She was the head of the campaign headquarters of former presidential nominee Viktar Babaryka, and has become one of the three female symbols of the Belarusian opposition and the struggle of the people of Belarus for civil and political liberties and fundamental rights. Accepting the award on her behalf, Maria’s sister Tatsiana Khomich thanked the award committee and said her sister would want to dedicate her win to all those in Belarus fighting for their rights: “This award is a sign of solidarity of the entire democratic world with the people of Belarus. It is also a sign to us, Belarusians, that the international community supports us, and that we are on the right track.”


Three candidates shortlisted for the 2021 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize  31/08/21

The selection panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, which rewards outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe and beyond, has today announced the shortlist for the 2021 Prize. More


Czech and Slovak Transatlantic Prize to be presented to Václav Havel in memoriam  14/06/21

The Czech and Slovak Transatlantic Prize, which goes to a personality who has contributed greatly to freedom and democracy in Central European, will be presented to VáclavHavel in memoriam in Bratislava on 15.6. The award, jointly bestowed by the organisations Jagello 2000 and GLOBSEC,will be collected at a gala evening of the GLOBSEC 2021 conference by the director of the Václav Havel Library, Michael Žantovský.  More


Václav Havel European Dialogues 2021 – recording available now  15/05/21

Did you miss out on our conference entitled The Other Europe, which was held on 11 and 12 May 2021? Are you interested to know what His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Youtuber Karel “Kovy” Kovář talked about? What the former Polish president Lech Walesa appealed for? What the current president of the Slovak Republic, Zuzana Čaputová, spoke about? Would you like to listen to the thoughts of Timothy Garton Ash, Marianne Kneuer, Olga Richterová and other prominent European intellectuals and politicians? Simply sign in or register at and view a recording of the conference. It will be available until 31 May 2021, after which your personal data will be deleted.

Program for September 2021<>

A Musical Evening: Sisa Fehér

A Musical Evening: Sisa Fehér

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 1, 2021, 19:00 – 20:00

Sisa Fehér is a young singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist who lives alternately in Prague and Denmark, where she is currently studying. As early as 2009 she took part in the Jazz Talent competition and since then she has been in numerous groups, including the funk band Pitch Bender, the London-based outfit Myo and The Spankers. Shehas also made a splash with her authorial projects: FeheroRoche with the album Cirrus (2016), Bardo with the album Bardo (2018) and most recently Used to be a Sofa – Chasing serotonin (2021).

When it comes to genre she mixes jazz, funk, blues, electronica, alternative and swing with a lightness all of herown.

At the Václav Havel Library Sisa will deliver an intimate, genre-hopping performance with guitar and loops. 

The evening will be presented by Hana Slívová, editor of the Czech Radio programme Vizitka.

Alena Wagnerová: The Double Chapel

Alena Wagnerová: The Double Chapel

  • Where:
  • When: September 2, 2021, 19:00 – 19:30

Alena Wagnerová is a writer, oral historian, translator and editor whose works focus on the lives and works of major personalities, such as Milena Jesenská, Sidonie Nádherná and Franz Kafka. She has produced a number of books looking at the coexistence of Czechs and Germans in the border areas, including their forced and voluntary departures, and was one of the first to explore the stories of German anti-fascists. On the Havel Channel Alena Wagnerová will introduce her slim volume of introspective prose Dvojitá kaple (The Double Chapel) (Maraton), “an intimate testimony about the childhood, adolescence and maturing of a young woman, while relationships between parents and children make up the axis of the narrative.” German Studies expert Šárka Krtková will conduct the interview with the author.

The VH Library at Tabook

The VH Library at Tabook

  • Where: Tábor, Czech Republic
  • When: September 3, 2021, 12:00 – September 4, 2021, 18:00

The first September event at which you will encounter a Václav Havel Library stand offering its own new books and proven titles is a traditional gathering of selected small publishers in Tábor, South Bohemia. As every year, Tabook also offers a rich accompanying programme, this time on the subject of Family Business.

Afghanistan – The End of a Nightmare or the Start of a New One?

Afghanistan – The End of a Nightmare or the Start of a New One?

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 7, 2021, 19:00 – 20:00

After 20 years the Taliban are back in power in Afghanistan. Though such a conclusion could have been predicted after a deal last year between the US and representatives of this radical Islamic organisation under which American and allied forces were to leave the country, the speed with which this has become reality has surprised most observers and many direct participants, sparking several questions: Was it an armed victory of one side, or an arranged handover of power? Did background deals facilitate such rapid change? What impact will the capitulation of the Afghan government and the international alliance that supported it have on the credibility of the US and NATO, whose forces made up the core of that coalition? What guarantees did the US and the international coalition stipulate with regard to respect for human rights in the newly created Islamic emirate, and how do they aim to enforce adherence? What will be the geographical impact of the change of regime in Afghanistan when it comes to the standing of powers such as the US, China, Russia and other states?

In a debate chaired by Tereza Engelova, these issues will be considered by Deník N reporter Petra Procházková, Cameron Munter, a former US ambassador in Pakistan and Serbia, and Jiří Baloun, the Czech ambassador to Afghanistan.

Disturbing the Peace

Disturbing the Peace

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 8, 2021, 19:00 – 20:00

Václav Havel’s Disturbing the Peace is our former president’s most personal, but at the same time most successful, book. It is an account of his relationship to people, art and politics butis also his biography. By giving this book-length interview to Karel Hvížďala, he relieved himself of the obligation to penhis memoirs one day. The book first came out in Czech in London in 1986. A modified edition, supplemented by unique photographs and a foreword by Petr Pithart, is coming out for the 85th anniversary of his birth.

Petr Fischer will host the evening while Vladimír Merta will provide musical accompaniment. 

Guests: Karel Hvížďala, Petr Pithart, Tereza Matějčková, Jacques Rupnik.

The book will be “baptised” by Lenka Bradáčová.

Rudolf Battěk: Diary 1989

Rudolf Battěk: Diary 1989

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 13, 2021, 18:00 – 19:00

How did the “laboratory of civic society” function?

The 1989 diary entries of Rudolf Battěk, a sociologist, philosopher, politician and former Charter 77 spokesperson, offer a unique view behind the scenes of the Czechoslovak opposition milieu, which in the late 1980s underwent extraordinarily dynamic development. They also provide insights into the specific transformation of the dissent into a political opposition and deliver a lot of information about 1989, the “year of miracles”. Rudolf Battěk was a key figure in the Czechoslovak dissent, whose optimism, principled nature and personal courage were an inspiration to many. The discussion evening will not just offer an opportunity to remember the activities of this born democrat; it will also go over, for instance, the Movement for a Civic Society, preparations for the establishment of the Coordinating Committee of the Czechoslovak Political Opposition and, last but not least, numerous humorous episodes and knife-edge events that Battěk carefully and systematically recorded.

Speakers will include Kamila Bendová, Jana Chržová and Miloš Rejchrt.

Hosted by Jáchym Topol.

Debate with Respekt

Debate with Respekt

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 14, 2021, 19:00 – 20:00

Discussion of editors from the weekly Respekt and their guests on a topical issue. For more details and the names of guests, visit before the event.

What is the Three Seas Initiative?

What is the Three Seas Initiative?

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 15, 2021, 19:00 – 20:00

The Three Seas Initiative, a platform for international cooperation bringing together states between the Baltic, the Adriatic and the Black seas, was created in 2015. Poland and Croatia were there at its inception but since then the initiative has been joined by many other countries from Estonia to Bulgaria, including the Czech Republic. Why is it necessary to boost cooperation on a North-South axis? Is the Three Seas Initiative a recipe for boosting the economies of the “poorer” wing of the European Union? Does it have some political ambitions? In what ways does it build on the work of the interwar concept of the Intermarium? Can it help us when it comes to dealing with the politics of Moscow? How does it fit in with existing international cooperation platforms (Visegrad Group, Central European Initiative)? How do the EU, US, Russia and view the project? What are the geopolitical risks of such a project? How do perceptions of the project differ between Warsaw and Prague?

Speakers will include guests from Poland: the editor-in-chief of the website Grzegorz Górny and Central European politics expert Piotr Bajda (Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw). The Czech side will be represented by the head of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Central Europe Section, Jiří Šitler, and Martin Svarovský from the think tank European Values.

Debate organized by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the Polish Institute in Prague.

Václav Havel’s Stage: Divadlo Feste – Temptation

Václav Havel’s Stage: Divadlo Feste – Temptation

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 16, 2021, 19:00 – 20:00

Václav Havel wrote his own variation on the Faust legend in 1985. Just like the ancient story, Temptation also concerns a deal with the devil, while here too the protagonist unsuccessfully faces tempting, seductive offers. However, the wager for his soul takes place in the writer’s (and our) contemporary world. The play’s topical associations spoke to director Jiří Honzírek: “In the media sphere or on social media we are increasingly asking ourselves whether the perception of personal or collective loyalty doesn’t need to shift from a sense of inevitability and givenness to an awareness of possibilities that we alone are responsible for.”

Brno’s Feste theatre, whose performance we are hosting, stands out for the engaged nature of their productions, in which – as in the works of Václav Havel – questions of responsibility and loyalty play a major role. 

Featuring: Šárka Šildová, Klára Bulantová, Michal Borovský, Sergej Sanža and Jiří Miroslav Valůšek

Dramaturge: Katarína K. Koišová

Set: Sylva Marková

The Václav Havel Library at Knihex

The Václav Havel Library at Knihex

  • Where: Kasárna Karlín, Prague 8
  • When: September 18, 2021, 10:00 – 19:00

The 11th summer Knihex will take place this time at Prague’s Kasárny Karlín. This edition of the festival of small publishers will also feature a stand of books produced by the Václav Havel Library.

From Time to Time #5: On Street Work with Amrit Sen

From Time to Time #5: On Street Work with Amrit Sen

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 20, 2021, 19:00 – 21:00

A musician and social worker at a contact centre for drug users will be the guest in the latest Czech Street Work Association discussion evening. Why did he choose social work? What do his colleagues in the field of music make of it? Why are drugs and rock’n’roll so closely connected? We will discuss all of this, a little politics and perhaps immortality with Amrit Sen.

Hosted by Radio Wave presenter Adéla Paulík Lichková.

Debate organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the Czech Street Work Association. 

The Heydrich Assassination – The First Martial Law

The Heydrich Assassination – The First Martial Law

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 22, 2021, 19:00 – 20:00

Eighty years ago, in September 1941, following the arrival of Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich in Prague, the first martial law was declared in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. This so-called first Heydrichiad came in response to the expansion of the resistance movement, the need to ensure uninterrupted arms production and preparations for the Germanisation of Czech territory. Martial courts arbitrarily meted out the death sentence on participants in the domestic resistance, perpetrators of economic crimes and those who breached “public order”; such a verdict was also handed down to Alois Eliáš, prime minister in the first Protectorate government. Historians Jaroslav Čvančara and Eduard Stehlík and publisher and writer Jiří Padevět will discuss the period that preceded the decision to carry out the assassination of the Nazi governor, who had hundreds of death sentences and thousands of arrests to his name but also presented himself as a slick guarantor of social and other benefits to the Czech proletariat. 

A series of evenings organised by the Václav Havel Library and the Museum of 20th Century Memory.

The Demons and Loves and Films of Pavel Juráček

The Demons and Loves and Films of Pavel Juráček

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 23, 2021, 19:00 – 20:00

The published diaries of the film director and screenwriter Pavel Juráček are coming out in complete form in four volumes from publishers Torst. The diaries cover the years 1948–1989 and are not just the unique testimony of an extraordinarily stimulating artist but also deliver an invaluable insight into Czech society and cultural life in the 40 years in question. The fourth volume of the diary is from the years 1974–1989, capturing a period when Juráček’s professional life was in pieces, when he didn’t even keep up his diary up systematically and when he lived in West Germany for several years, before in 1983 returning to his homeland to live out the final six years of his life. The volume’s editor and Marie Kratochvílová and Pavel Hájek, an expert on Juráček’s work, will discuss this turbulent, complicated and tragic period of his life.

Moderated by Jáchym Topol. 

Václav Havel Library at Book World Prague

Václav Havel Library at Book World Prague

  • Where: Výstaviště Praha - Holešovice, Areál Výstaviště 67, 170 90 Praha 7
  • When: September 23, 2021, 09:30 – September 26, 2021, 16:00

The biggest Czech book fair, Book World Prague, returns to Prague’s Výstaviště after a year’s absence will also include a Václav Havel Library exhibition and sales space. We look forward to your visit!

Karolína Ryvolová: With a Pencil Stub on the Cuff

Karolína Ryvolová: With a Pencil Stub on the Cuff

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 27, 2021, 19:00 – 20:00

The literary story of the Roma. Karolína Ryvolová’s detective-style search for blank spots in the history of Romani literature on the territory of the Czech Republic. Launch of a new book just published by the organisation Slovo 21 z. s. 

Gypsy jazz musical accompaniment will come from the Vlasáks, father and son.

International conference in honour of the laureate of the 2021 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

International conference in honour of the laureate of the 2021 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

  • Where: Prague Crossroads, Zlatá 1, Prague
  • When: September 29, 2021, 12:30 – 18:00

The Covid Dilemma: Rights against Responsibilities

(with a special event on the human rights crisis in Afghanistan)

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about an unprecedented public health crisis, killing millions, infecting hundreds of millions, and affecting the whole of mankind. In parallel, it has brought into sharp relief the social dilemmas, inequalities and choices faced by mankind. Many of them relate to fundamental human rights that have constituted touchstones of modern liberal democracy. During the acute crisis, the rights of the individual increasingly came into conflict with the interests of society as a whole. The vast differences in access to effective vaccination between highly developed and developing countries threaten to exacerbate existing inequalities and lead to humanitarian crises in parts of the world. The resulting debate in the media and on social networks, which inevitably includes falsehoods, hoaxes, fake news and disinformation, raises new questions about possible limits to unbridled free expression and with it the specter of censorship. The above, and other, dilemmas illustrate the absence of a universally accepted framework for weighing our rights against our responsibilities. For some time, human rights and their definitions have evolved with scarce regard for the responsibilities involved. In Václav Havel, with his unassailable life-long record of fighting for human rights, we can also find a rigorous advocate of an inseparable relationship between rights and responsibilities. The Conference held on the occasion of the 2021 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize will provide a forum for the discussion of these pressing questions.

While we are contemplating the human rights aspects of the Covid-19 pandemics, a full-scale human rights crisis that cannot be ignored, has been unfolding in Afghanistan. A special event reflecting as much as possible the situation on the ground at the time of the conference will be held with the participation of Czech and international experts.

Conference Programme

12.30 – 13.00 Registration 

13.00 – 13.10 Conference Opening

  • Michael Žantovský – Executive Director, Václav Havel Library 

13.10 – 13.20 Keynote Speech

  • Jared Genser – Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University; referred to by the New York Times as “The Extractor” for his work freeing political prisoners and for having founded Freedom Now (USA)

13.20 – 13.40 Interview with the 2021 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize laureate

  • The laureate will be announced in a ceremony held at the beginning of the autumn session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on September 27, 2021.
    Chair: Michael Žantovský – Václav Havel Library

13.40 – 14.30 Panel I: Discussion with 2021 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize finalists 

  • Panelists:
  • Tatsiana Khomich, sister of Maria Kalesnikava – one of the opposition leaders in Belarus and a member of the Coordination Council sentenced to 11 years in prison
  • Reporters without Borders – a leading international non-governmental organisation that safeguards the freedom of expression and information
  • Scholastique Rukuki, sister of Germain Rukuki, a human rights defender whose campaigning has been focused on torture and the death penalty
    Chair: Tereza Engelová – Journalist and moderator

14.30  14.50 Coffee Break

14.50 – 16.00 Panel II: The Covid Dilemma: Rights and Responsibilities  

  • Panelists:
  • Jan Kysela – Constitutional lawyer, Faculty of Law, Charles University
  • Petr Mikeš – Supreme Administrative Court Judge
  • Danuše Nerudová – Economist and the Rector of Mendel University 
  • Marek Orko Vácha – Head of the Department of Medical Ethics and Humanities, Third Faculty of Medicine, Charles University
  • Chair: Lenka Zlámalová – Analyst and commentator, Týdeník Echo 

16.00  16.20 Coffee Break

16.20 – 17.30 Panel III: Special event on the human rights crisis in Afghanistan

  • Keynote: Fatima Rahimi, Afghan-Czech journalist and a psychotherapist in training (recording)
  • Panelists:
  • Václav Pecha – Head of the civilian part of the Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team mission in Logar, Afghanistan, in 2008–2009
  • Jiří Přibáň – Professor of Law, Cardiff University (United Kingdom, Czech Republic)
  • Tomáš Vlach – Journalist and humanitarian worker, co-founder and long-term participant of the humanitarian mission of People In Need in Afghanistan
    Chair: Jakub Szántó – Journalist and moderator, Czech Television  

17.15 – 17.20 Closing remarks

  • Karel Schwarzenberg – Politician, human rights defender 

17.20 – 17.25 Invitation to glass of wine and concert

  • Michael Žantovský, Václav Havel Library

Concert: Jakub Doležal Quartet

  • Jakub Doležal – saxophone, keyboards; Marek Leždík – bass; Jiří Šimek – guitar; Jakub Šindler – percussion

Programme expected to end at 18.20

* The discussions will be held in Czech and English with a simultaneous translation from/into both languages.

Diary of a Female Pastor

Diary of a Female Pastor

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 30, 2021, 18:00 – 20:00

God moves in mysterious ways. That is something that the unconventional female pastor Martina Viktorie Kopecká can attest to. For the great majority of her life she didn’t dream she would serve the church. But still today she is a distinctive figure in the Czechoslovak Hussite Church. What does the life of a modern pastor look like? You will find out from her notes, which unfold to the rhythm of a year in the church and deliver one-of-a-kind insights into the experiences of a woman reverend: from regular services to meeting Pope Francis.

The author will discuss the book with Michael Žantovský, director of the Václav Havel Library.

Organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with publishers Albatros Media.

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.

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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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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.

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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.
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Educational projects


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


Workshop: The Audience

An interactive 90 minutes’ workshop for secondary school’s students deals with Havel´s well known play The Audience.


Workshop: The Life Story of Vaclav Havel

An interactive 90 minutes’ workshop for primary school pupils (6 – 12 years) brings the ideas and work of Václav Havel on human rights and civil society to children through Havel´s book for children Pizh'duks.



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”.


Oldřich Škácha – Occupation 1968

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


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.


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.


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.



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


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.


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.  

  • 30/11/21 – 05/01/22
  • 27/11/21 – 16/01/22Chvalský zámek
  • 01/11/21 – 31/12/21
  • 01/11/21 – 30/01/22
  • 25/10/21 – 30/11/21Václav Havel: The Power of the Powerless
  • 15/10/21 – 30/11/21Hradec Kralove Philharmonic Orchestra
  • 05/10/21 – 05/11/21
  • 01/10/21 – 31/12/21
  • 01/10/21 – 22/12/21
  • 30/09/21 – 10/10/21Cieszyński Ośrodek Kultury Dom Narodowy, Rynek 12, Cieszyn
  • 30/09/21 – 30/10/21
  • 28/09/21 – 30/09/21Nádvoří Žerotínského zámku, Nový Jičín
  • 01/09/21 – 15/10/21Střední škola gastronomická a hotelová, Praha












Václav Havel: The Power of the Powerless

The exhibition is a composition by the Italian authors Ubaldo Casotto and Francesco Magni, who...


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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.

  • 54011 records in total
  • 15309 of events in the VH's life
  • 2994 of VH's texts
  • 2099 of photos 
  • 346of videos
  • 565of audios
  • 6545of letters
  • 14938of texts about VH
  • 7499 of books
  • 30347of 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.”  

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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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Staňte se členy Klubu přátel Knihovny Václava Havla

„Domnívám se, že se nám daří naplňovat vizi Václava Havla, jenž při založení Knihovny prohlásil, že má smysl jedině jako živoucí organismus, který zaujímá své nepřehlédnutelné místo v celku veřejného a politického života. Vnímáme to jako závazek a inspiraci do budoucna. Rádi bychom využili záznamů ze stovek našich akcí ve vlastním kanálu internetové televize, rozšířili publikační program, připravili další e-learningové série, začali pořádat workshopy pro učitele… To vše si však vyžádá nemalé finanční prostředky. Proto jsme se rozhodli obrátit na naše návštěvníky a příznivce s prosbou o podporu.“ – Michael Žantovský

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


Podpořte nás


200 KČ / měsíc

Váš příspěvek nám pomůže s organizací pravidelných akcí pro veřejnost.


1200 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.  

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