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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 October 2023<>

Launch N: Organs Don’t Belong to Heaven

Launch N: Organs Don’t Belong to Heaven

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 3, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

Renata Kalenská underwent a kidney and pancreas transplant in 2018. She owes her life to the top team of surgeon Jiří Froňek, whose work she now explores in a book-length interview. Orgány nepatří do nebe (Organs Don’t Belong to Heaven) also includes stories of people who fought for their lives at Prague’s IKEM hospital. The story of its head and his patients proves that the closer we are to death, the better we understand the true value of life. The guests of Petra Procházková of Deník N will be transplant surgeon Jiří Froněk, coach of the Czech national team in Thai boxing Jiří Mejstřík, who is a transplant patient, and the author of the book, Renata Kalenská. The talk will culminate with the publication’s “baptism”.

The Fiendish Temptation of Václav Havel, or I Hid It Somewhere

The Fiendish Temptation of Václav Havel, or I Hid It Somewhere

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 4, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

Václav Havel lost his account of his first imprisonment after the publication of Charter 77, and the temptations he had to deal with in jail, soon after it was written, so had no chance to correct it. The writer’s raw, intimate and very powerful notes, accompanied by essays by Pavel Blažek, David Dušek, Anna Freimanová and editor Michael Žantovský, were published as Někam jsem to ukryl (I Hid it Somewhere) by the Václav Havel Library in 2021, with the book selling out almost immediately.

What was it about these recently discovered manuscripts that grabbed historian Jiří Suk, and director Jiří Havelka? And how did David Dušek find this manuscript?

Zuzana Stivínová will read excerpts from the book.    

A reissue of I Hid It Somewhere is coming out on the eve of the 87th anniversary of Václav Havel’s birth.

Is Education a Cure?

Is Education a Cure?

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 5, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

The education of disadvantaged children, with the support of the system – or in spite of it.

This autumn marks 16 years since a landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, which confirmed that the Czech Republic discriminates against Romany children by sending them too often to practical (formerly special) schools. Have we managed to do anything about this in the past 16 years? In that time, have the educational chances of not only Romany children but all disadvantaged children improved? Or do Czech schools today still tend to reproduce disparities in family background? And what does the situation of disadvantaged children tell us about Czech education as a whole? What is the role of systemic measures, and what is the role of the motivation and attitude of the individual, be it a pupil or school principal?

Marie Gottfriedová, director and prevention methodologist at Trmice Elementary School, Jana Straková, an expert on inequality in education, and journalist Patrik Banga will discuss all of this. The debate will be moderated by sociologist Karel Čada.

The discussion held in collaboration between the Václav Havel Library and the Committee of Good Will – Olga Havlová Foundation.

Projection of a documentary Bigger Than Trauma

Projection of a documentary Bigger Than Trauma

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 9, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

Projection and a discussion with the director and co-author Vedrana Pribačić

3 women discovering who they could be without the trauma they're identified with, and it’s changing their life and relations, through unconventional healing program. Women whose families were killed in Croatian war for independence; who were tortured and raped but survived kept silent for 25 years. Till now. The slowness of the justice system, the agonizing process of fact-finding in legal proceedings, the inadequate government support and eventual stuffing with tranquilizers– pushed these women to the edge of their physical and mental strength, ruined their marriages, led them to internal isolation and illness. Despite all that and the fact that they still live in the vicinity to their abusers- former friends and schoolmates, these women are getting their power back. Determined to change their lives to better, they've turned to new healing methods, all focused on the solution, not the cause. For 3 years the film follows 3 women connecting with their deepest truths during the unconventional strengthening program, but also in their homes, villages and cities where they live. 

Today, the discovery of who they could be without the trauma they're identified with, is changing their life and relations. Film has received 19 international and domestic film and audience awards. 

The discussion will be moderated by Ian Willoughby.

The film and discussion afterwards will be in English without translation. 

11th international conference in honour of the laureate of the 2023 Václav Havel Human Prize

11th international conference in honour of the laureate of the 2023 Václav Havel Human Prize

  • Where: Prague Crossroads, Zlatá 1, Prague
  • When: October 10, 2023, 13:30 – 18:45

I regard as a true hero somebody who overcomes their fear because they know it’s the correct thing to do. A person who listens to their conscience, which tells them it would be right to do something. Even though reason tells them that it may be dangerous for them. (Václav Havel, 1995)

Register for the event

Conference Programme 

13.30 Registration  

14.00 Welcome

  • Lejla Abbasová, conference moderator  
  • Vocal performance by Ukrainian children aged 8–15, Kroky Dobra charity organisation 

14.10 Conference Opening

  • Gabriel Eichler, Chairman of the Board of Trustees 

14.15 Keynote Speech

  • Petra Procházková

14.25 Interview with the 2023 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize laureate 

  • The laureate will be announced at a ceremony held at the beginning of the autumn session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on October 9, 2023. 
  • Chair: Barbora Kroužková – Journalist and presenter, Czech Television   
  • Vocal performance by Ukrainian children aged 8-15, Kroky Dobra charity organisation 

14.45 Panel I: Discussion with 2023 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize finalists   

Osman Kavala – Businessman, human rights defender, philanthropist and political prisoner convicted to an aggrevated life sentence (Turkey). Mr. Kavala will be represented at the conference by a person yet to be confirmed.
Justyna Wydrzyńska – Lawyer, doula and activist fighting for women's rights (Poland)
Yevhen Zakharov – Human rights defender and the founder of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (Ukraine)

  • Chair: Barbora Kroužková – Journalist and presenter, Czech Television   

15.30–15.50 Coffee Break 

15.50 Panel II: Face to Face with Evil 

  • Ivana Krejčová – mother of Taylor, a Czech medic and founder of the Phoenix Project who died in May 2023; the organisation’s members teach combat medicine to Ukrainian soldiers and help transport and treat the wounded on the front line (Czech Republic) 
  • Julienne Lusenge – human rights activist recognised for her advocacy for victims of sexual violence in war (Congo) 
  • Moderator:  Maryana Drach  Director, Ukrainian Service, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Ukraine)

17.30–17.25 Coffee Break 

17.25 Panel III: Rising from the Ashes 

  • Janina Hřebíčková – ex-peace negotiator and director of strategic communications on United Nations peacekeeping teams, KFOR and the International Organization for Migration (UN), former head of OSCE missions to the Western Balkans and the Middle East (Czech Republic) 
  • Vedrana Pribačić – director and journalist, screenwriter and director of the documentary Bigger Than Trauma, mapping the traumatic stories of women in the war in the former Yugoslavia (Croatia)  
  • Fatima Rahimi – Journalist and psychotherapist focused mainly on issues related to migration, social inequality and the political and social situation in Afghanistan and Iran (Czech Republic, Afghanistan)
  • Chair: Una Čilić – Digital Broadcaster Editor, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Balkan Service (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

18.40 Closing remarks

  • under negotiation  

18.45  Acknowledgments

  • Karolína Stránská – acting director of the Václav Havel Library 
  • Jolana Voldánová – director of Nadace Charty 77 

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

A Word about the Conference

Women in war. An association that has been with us forever but still completely new, different. Before it denoted Amazonians, although more often vivandières or women as the spoils of war. For some time this has been an inadequate outlook. There is no difference between women and men in war. Women figure as soldiers, commanders, pilots, reporters, doctors, politicians, leaders and peace negotiators, as well as mothers sending their children into battle, or homeless refugees. It would be wrong not to mention that during wars women, like men, also turn into tyrants, cruel kapos or propagandists.

Ukraine’s struggle against its Russian occupiers, which we have witnessed at close quarters over the past two years, has taken many different forms. However they have one thing in common: women play an important role. Some we meet on the streets, others we watch with bated breath on social media or in television reports, in shelters, carrying weapons on the front line or looking after destroyed farms.

How to face evil? How to control fear and hopelessness? How to deal with the death of loved ones? How to maintain composure and faith in the future? How to provide help and comfort to children? When the conflict ends, how to continue living next to the aggressors, who may never find justice? How to achieve reconciliation? Women impacted by war ask themselves these tough questions, alongside their children and families, perhaps even more intensely than men.

This year’s conference for the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize will present the stories of its laureate and finalists, along with the testimonies of a few women at least from the endless list of those affected by the terror of war at various ages, times and places. What unites them all is their courage – despite all kinds of danger – to persevere and not give up. It is a great honour for us to have the opportunity to be with them and listen to them.

Lviv, The Forgotten Centre of Europe

Lviv, The Forgotten Centre of Europe

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 11, 2023, 18:00 – 20:00

An Argo publishing house discussion, moderated by Respekt journalist Ondřej Kundra, with the German journalist Lutz C. Kleveman about his book Lemberg: The Forgotten Centre of Europe, focusing on his journey to Lviv in 2014, the “forgotten war” in Eastern Ukraine and Lviv’s genius loci. They will also discuss different views of the Ukrainian past and present, the role of so-called Ukrainian nationalism in the country’s history and the culture of memory. Ukraine expert Tereza Chlaňová and the book’s translator Petr Dvořáček will also take part in the debate.

The Underground and Czechoslovakia in 1989

The Underground and Czechoslovakia in 1989

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 12, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

The eighth annual conference dedicated to the phenomenon of the Czech underground (and more) will focus on the crucial year 1989. As early as January the Communist regime had been literally shaken to its foundations during what was known as Palach Week. The brutality with which the regime suppressed mass protests resonated around the world. The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic became a true island of neo-Stalinist sentiment in the middle of Europe. Leading figures in the underground and Charter 77 community found themselves in prison once again. Society was literally ripe for change. New opposition movements were emerging. There were “illegal” cultural activities, from rock concerts to samizdat to art exhibitions. The so-called silent majority, the grey zone, was coming to life. All this and more will be discussed at this conference at the Václav Havel Library by experts and specialists on the issue of the underground (and more).

Foglar for the 21st Century

Foglar for the 21st Century

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 16, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

​Does Jaroslav Foglar still have something to say to new generations? Or do those born earlier just flip through his books, nostalgically? Do Foglar’s readers accept new books by contemporary authors? What about The Message from Stínadla and other titles that take his ouevre as a starting point?

All this and more will be discussed by Pavel Hošek, religious scholar and author of the book The Gospel According to Jaroslav Foglar, Roman Šantora (Bobo), head of the Junák scouts archive and the Jaroslav Foglar Scout Foundation, writer Petr Hugo Šlik, Martin Pecina, author of modern “Foglar” book The Destruction of the Lake Basin, and Martin Pecina, the graphic designer behind contemporary Foglar books.

The discussion will be moderated by David Jan Žák, author of Tleskač and the Tromby Foglar adventure trilogy. Representatives of the Albatros publishing house will also be happy to take questions.

The evening will be introduced by Jáchym Topol.

Debate with Respekt

Debate with Respekt

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 17, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

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

The Free Academy: František Skála Via Virtually All the Senses

The Free Academy: František Skála Via Virtually All the Senses

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 18, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

An illustrated lecture by František Skála (1956) on his visual art, musical, literary and other activities.

Big Book Thursday Meeting with Authors and Book Signing

Big Book Thursday Meeting with Authors and Book Signing

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 19, 2023, 17:00 – 20:00

We cordially invite you to a Big Book Thursday event, the 24th to date, presenting 15 of this autumn’s new titles. 

Come meet writers and get them to sign copies of their books released on this day. Two international authors, Hannah Gold and Janne Teller, are due to attend, while other invited writers include Andrea Sedláčková, Josef Formánek, Václav Vokolek, David Bőhm, Pavel Tomeš, Martin Chadima and Milan Jakobec. In addition, foreign titles will be presented by writers via video message, as well as by the translators Pavel Pecháček and Tomáš Havel.

The programme is hosted by Jiří Svoboda, a Czech Television arts news editor.

Echo from the Library

Echo from the Library

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 24, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

A debate series with editors from the weekly Týdeník Echo and their guests, in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library. Lenka Zlámalová will chair the discussion. For the theme and the names of guests visit prior to the event.

Ukraine as a Task

Ukraine as a Task

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 25, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

Rostislav Prokopyuk's discussion forum on the past, present and future of Ukraine.

The Phenomenon of Migration from the Russian Empire: History and Contemporary Parallels

The Phenomenon of Migration from the Russian Empire: History and Contemporary Parallels

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 26, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

After the First World War, not only did the map of Europe change – the continent also faced the first great wave of modern migration. Up to three million people were expelled from the former Russian Empire, which after the red revolution turned into a Soviet state with no room for opposition. The Czechoslovak Republic accepted 30,000 migrants immediately after its establishment, and was also the only state in the world that targeted and consistently “shaped” its immigration: students, scholars, farmers and artists were the main beneficiaries of a programme named Russian Aid Action. What did the migration wave look like then? What impact did it have on the Czechoslovak state? And how did its citizens perceive the new arrivals?

These questions and more will be answered by historian Dana Hašková from the Institute of Slavonic Studies of the Czech Academy of Sciences, journalist and Russia expert Libor Dvořák, and historian Petr Hlaváček, who is director of the Research and Education Department at the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.

Týdeník Echo’s Lukáš Novosad will chair the talk.

The biographical dictionary Osobnosti emigrace z území Ruské říše v meziválečném Československu (Notable Emigres from the Russian Empire in Interwar Czechoslovakia), the culmination of 30 years of historical research, will be “baptised” during the event.

Solidarity Zone: Anarchist Aid in Putin’s Russia

Solidarity Zone: Anarchist Aid in Putin’s Russia

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 27, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

An initiative in support of anti-war prisoners

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, SZ has focused mainly on helping those arrested for anti-war activities, often militants who are not in the sights of human rights organizations.

From an SZ declaration: “Any form of resistance against the authoritarian regime in imperialist Russia is legitimate. Everyone deserves defence and solidarity. We stand in solidarity with all those who speak out in word and deed against state violence.”

Who are the activists and partisans imprisoned in Russia today? What form does aid for the persecuted and imprisoned take? What is the power of international solidarity? And what is the face of Russian anarchism today?

These and other questions will be answered by Solidarity Zone activists Ania Kurbatova and Ivan Astashin.

Interpretation from Russian provided.

From Prague to New York: Two Lives of Josef Guttmann, Two Views of a 20th Century Tragedy

From Prague to New York: Two Lives of Josef Guttmann, Two Views of a 20th Century Tragedy

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 30, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

Two lives, two names, two perspectives on Soviet communism and its post-war expansion into Eastern Europe. They may seem neatly separated, yet they are united by one man’s experience and his attempt to understand the hopes and tragedies of the 20th century. Josef Guttmann, a leftist intellectual and later member of the Communist Party leadership, broke with the party in the early 1930s, becoming, alongside Záviš Kalandra, a prominent anti-leftist. He left Czechoslovakia at the end of 1938 and three years later settled in New York, where he worked under a pseudonym as an expert on events in the Soviet Bloc, a critic of totalitarianism and the author of the first articles on anti-Semitism in the Slanský trial. His Czech texts from the 1930s, together with studies and essays on the nature of communist regimes, genocide and anti-Semitism written in the United States, were selected by Jacques Rupnik and are being published in his native country for the first time.

Libor Krejcar: The Cat in Us

Libor Krejcar: The Cat in Us

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 31, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

Launch of the publication Kočka v nás: Sochař a hudebník Libor Krejcar (The Cat in Us: The Sculptor and Musician Libor Krejcar) delivers the first comprehensive overview of the work of the late sculptor, carver and musician Libor Krejcar (1961–2022). The book, by art historian Lenka Dolanová, presents Krejcar’s musical and sculptural works, as well as in the field of action art and body art, and is accompanied by a large number of previously unpublished materials from the archives of Krejcar’s family and friends. The Cat in Us, edited by Klára Zahrádková, has been brought out by the Argo publishing house.

His friends and colleagues John Bok and Vladimír Lábus Drápal will talk about Krejcar, while the evening will also include a projection of live recordings of the band Tamers of Flowers.

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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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.

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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.  

  • 30/11/23 – 14/12/23
  • 01/11/23 – 19/11/23
  • 18/10/23 – 30/11/23Písek Municipial Library
  • 29/09/23 – 21/10/23
  • 01/09/23 – 18/10/23Písek Municipial Library
  • 23/08/23 – 27/11/23












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.

  • 66594 records in total
  • 23823 of events in the VH's life
  • 2992 of VH's texts
  • 2124 of photos 
  • 387of videos
  • 567of audios
  • 6601of letters
  • 15101of texts about VH
  • 8124 of books
  • 38436of 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 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

Library, documentation centre

Ostrovní 13, 110 00 Praha 1
Tel.: (+420) 222 220 112

Opening hours:
every Tuesday
from 9:00 till 17:00


Invoicing address

Knihovna Václava Havla, Foundation Fund
Ostrovní 13, 110 00 Praha 1
IČO 27169413 / DIČ CZ 27169413

Mailing address

Knihovna Václava Havla, Foundation Fund
Ostrovní 13, 110 00 Praha 1

Bank account

7077 7077 / 0300 CZKIBAN: CZ61 0300 0000 0000 7077 7077
7755 7755 / 0300 EURIBAN: CZ40 0300 0000 0000 7755 7755
7747 7747 / 0300 USDIBAN: CZ66 0300 0000 0000 7747 7747
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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


500 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.  

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