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

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Club / News / Program


Open Letter to Aung San Suu Kyi  03/06/19

Dear Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Please allow me to express my joy at your current visit  in your official capacity to the Czech Republic. I hope your talks in Prague will be enjoyable and productive. I am particularly pleased with your moving gesture to pay homage to Václav Havel, a long time supporter and admirer of yours, at his gravesite today. On a personal note, I will much enjoy the opportunity to renew, albeit briefly, our acquaintance after our meeting during the memorial evening in honour of Václav Havel at Naypyidaw in November 2016. More



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


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

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


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

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

Program for January 2019<>

A reading for Josef Škvorecký

A reading for Josef Škvorecký

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: January 7, 2019, 18:30 – 21:00

Josef Škvorecký, one of the most important post-war Czech writers and the founder of the exile publishing house ‘68 Publishers, died seven years ago, on 3 January 2012. A host of personalities, aficionados of his work, experts and readers will read from his books. 

Introduced by Jáchym Topol.

In cooperation with the Josef Škvorecký Society and the PEN Club. 

The Insanity Defence

The Insanity Defence

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

A small Woody Allen symposium held in connection with the publication of Obhajoba Šílencova, a Czech translation of his collection The Insanity Defence by Michael Žantovský and Dana Hábová.

Debate with Respekt

Debate with Respekt

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

Discussion with Respekt editors and their guests on a topical issue. For more information go to

Terje B. Englund – The Spy Who Arrived Late: The Czechoslovak Intelligence Service in Norway

Terje B. Englund – The Spy Who Arrived Late: The Czechoslovak Intelligence Service in Norway

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: January 14, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

The Norwegian Bohemist and journalist Terje B. Englund is interested in Central and Eastern Europe and in particular the Czech Republic, where he has been living for 25 years. This is borne out by his newspaper articles and books, including his latest title, which explores in detail Czechoslovak espionage relating to Norway from the Communist takeover of 1948 until the fall of communism in 1989, placing it in the broader context of Norwegian-Czech relations and events in Europe. He draws on archival materials and eye-witnesses account to flesh out specific human stories. The book features such figures as Milada Horáková, Karel Kryl, writer Egon Hostovský and General František Moravec, who from London sent Kubiš and Gabčík to assassinate Heydrich.

Alongside this are descriptions of very cunning spying techniques in which one side loses sight of the fact the other can be just as clever, or even one step ahead… Few would expect so much espionage activity between Communist Czechoslovakia and Norway. And few would expect either that virtually 30 years after the Velvet Revolution we still don’t know all we should about the work of the StB. This makes Terje B. Englund a “spy” who most certainly hasn’t arrived late.

Taking part in a debate with the author will be historian Petr Blažek of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Radek Schovánek, a researcher focused on the history of the Communist regime, and translator Zuzana Hlavičková. Denisa Novotná will moderate.

Organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the Prostor publishing house and the Scandinavian House.

Republic Café: Waiting for Palach

Republic Café: Waiting for Palach

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: January 15, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

The personal sacrifice of Jan Palach in January 1969 became one of the most powerful symbols of resistance to the occupation of Czechoslovakia and the onset of normalisation. The annual honouring of his memory was therefore understood as a political act and in January 1989 it escalated into several days of protest that were the biggest expression of resistance to the totalitarian regime since the start of the 1970s. The demonstrations’ brutal quelling and police strikes led to further protests that foreshadowed the root and branch changes that followed 17 November 1989.

Last year also saw a major wave of civic defiance. Can today’s protests and demonstrations, and in particular the reasons behind them, be compared to what was referred to as Palach Week? How do Czech and Slovak society express their disagreement with the state of society now? What are today’s motivations and expectations? And what is the response of the governing political elite?

Guests: Daniel Kroupa, politician, philosopher and teacher; Šárka Kružíková, translator and activist, Proč – proto! initiative; Mikuláš Minář, co-founder of the Milion chvilek pro demokracii civic group; and Juraj Šeliga, co-founder of the initiative Za slušné Slovensko.

Actress and TV host Bára Štěpánová, one of the youngest signatories of Charter 77 and an active participant in Palach Week in 1989, will chair the discussion.

Nadia Urbinati: Democracy: Decline or Transformation?

Nadia Urbinati: Democracy: Decline or Transformation?

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: January 17, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

Contemporary democracy has been going through a series of crisis moments, from a fall in electoral turnout and a decline in party membership to the rise of right-wing populism. However, the question remains as to what these individual phenomena say about the state of democracy in general. Is what we are experiencing the gradual decline of democracy, or its transformation? And if it is the latter, what does it entail and what challenges does it bring?

A debate with its author Nadia Urbinati, a renowned Italian and American political theorist from New York’s Columbia University, will be chaired by the book’s translator, Jan Bíba of Charles University’s Faculty of Arts.

The lecture and discussion will take place in English.

Václav Havel: Tomorrow

Václav Havel: Tomorrow

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

As part of a season marking the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia, we present a stage reading put on by one of the top Czech theatres, Liberec’s Divadlo F. X. Šaldy.

A historical meditation in five acts from 1988. It is 27 October 1918. Alois Rašín knows that in the morning it will be necessary to vote in independence. But how does one go about that?

A somewhat atypical Václav Havel play – it is neither drama, reportage, farce nor historical mediation, but draws a little on each.

Director: Šimon Dominik; dramaturg: Martin Urban; creative co-operation: Karel Čapek and Tereza Vašíčková; cast: Martin Polách, Štěpánka Prýmková, Přemysl Houška, Petr Hanák, Ladislav Dušek, Jan Jedlinský and Michaela Foitová.

Bernd Posselt: The Story of Europe

Bernd Posselt: The Story of Europe

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: January 22, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

Elections to the European Parliament will take place in May 2019. In view of the current political situation in Europe these elections can be expected to set the future direction of the European Union.

Bernd Posselt, a former member of the European Parliament of many years (and current candidate for it) and the head of the Sudeten German Homeland Association, returns to the roots of Europe and its leading personalities, including Václav Havel, in his book The Story of Europe. He also sets out his own vision for Europe’s future and explores possible ways in which Europeans could overcome their current fragmentation and become a community capable of withstanding the demands of today’s globalised world.

Jaroslav Šonka will host a conversation between Bernd Posselt and Milan Horáček (who also served as an MEP for several years).

Edward Luce: The Retreat of Western Liberalism

Edward Luce: The Retreat of Western Liberalism

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: January 23, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

Presentation of Edward Luce’s book The Retreat of Western Liberalism with international affairs specialist Michael Romancov from the Political Studies Institute at Charles University’s Faculty of Social Science.

The West’s hegemony has gradually weakened, while at the same time other centres of culture and civilisation have become markedly stronger. To what degree has the economic and geopolitical decline of Western civilisation been linked to the development of individual freedom and the equal participation of citizens in political power? For a long time there was a prevailing, but unsubstantiated, belief that the West’s success was primarily due to values that the majority of its citizens understood and shared. And that nothing could threaten the triumphant march of democracy and freedom. In his text, Edward Luce, chief commentator of the Washington office of The Financial Times, argues that reality has shown us something else entirely.

A Czech translation of The Retreat of Western Liberalism has been freshly issued by the Argo publishing house as the first title in its new Crossover series. Argo editor Oldřich Vágner will introduce the book and chair the following debate. 

Karel Skalický: The Church in Europe, Europe in the Church

Karel Skalický: The Church in Europe, Europe in the Church

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: January 24, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

Mons. Karel Skalický is a Czech Roman Catholic theologian, academic, writer, priest, teacher and an emeritus professor at the Pontifical Lateran University and the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, where he is based at the Faculty of Theology. An exile in Italy from 1956 to 1994, he has been an editor at the theological review Studie, a spiritual councillor to young people at St. Peter’s Oratory in the Vatican, a spiritual steward to Czech exiles in Italy, the second secretary of Cardinal Josef Beran and the recipient of the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. Since his return to his homeland he has been a supporter of the revival of academic theological life.

The author will present his recently published monograph Církev v Evropě, Evropa v církvi (The Church in Europe, Europe in the Church). It offers a theological view of the history of Europe via the prism of freedom and revolution (the Trinity), which reflects European history, particularly the history of the 20th century in Czechoslovakia and in other countries behind the Iron states via key historical turning points: revolutions.

An evening or readings, recollections and dialogues will be hosted by theologians František Štěch and Zdeněk A. Eminger.

The Uyghur Region Under Chinese Government: Re-education Camps and 21st Century Digital Dictatorship

The Uyghur Region Under Chinese Government: Re-education Camps and 21st Century Digital Dictatorship

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: January 28, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is, like Tibet, a focal point of ethnic unrest in China. The oases bordering the Taklamakan Desert and the area of steppe in the Dzungarian basin didn’t become part of China until the 18th century. Until recently the Muslim ethnicity, Uyghurs in particular, predominated in Xinjiang. The Chinese Communists took control of the region in 1949, while Xinjiang has been ever more closely integrated with the Chinese state since the launch of reforms 40 years ago. Its mineral wealth and fertile soil have drawn Chinese colonisers to Xinjiang. The repression of the native population has led to constant tensions in the province, which escalated into unrest in Ürümqi in 2009 and a series of violent incidents and terrorist attacks. Since Xi Jinping took office in 2012 the situation of Uyghurs in Xinjiang has rapidly deteriorated.

In a spirit of new normalisation, the Communist Party of China is bringing back totalitarian aspects of Leninist state control. In 2014 the government launched, under the pretext of a “people’s war against terror”, an extensive campaign to tighten control of Uyghur society and to suppress the Uyghurs’ religious and ethnic identity. To achieve this Chen Quanguo, who racked up plenty of experience with the earlier introduction of hard-line rule in Tibet, was appointed in 2016. Chen has created a police state in Xinjiang, employing state-of-the-art technology to control the “defective” population.

The establishment of “political re-education camps”, in which estimates suggest up to a million Uyghurs and other Muslims (roughly 10 percent of the whole population of native ethnic groups) are being held, is alarming. People frequently disappear overnight without a trace and it is unclear if they will ever return. The religious and cultural life of the Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups is subject to ever stricter restrictions, which is having a destructive impact on their identity.

For this reason Czech and Slovak academics launched an open appeal calling on the governments of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and China to shut down re-education camps for Uyghurs and other minorities and to respect of internationally recognised human rights in China. You too can take part in this appeal. The full text is available here:

The subject will be discussed by Ondřej Klimeš, a Sinologist and Uyghur Studies expert from the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and an initiator of the appeal, Filip Jirouš, a Sinologist focused on the issue as part of the Sinopsis project, and Martin Hála, director of Sinopsis and another initiator of the appeal.

Kateřina Procházková will moderate.

France Today

France Today

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: January 29, 2019, 19:00 – 21:00

In November the Giles Jaunes (Yellow Vests) began protesting against the growing cost of fuel and accommodation. Who exactly are these demonstrators and what are their specific concerns? Will President Emmanuel Macron withstand “the pressure of the streets”?

These and other questions will be discussed by speakers familiar with the situation in France at present: Kateřina Lukešová, Lenka Zlámalová, Petr Janyška and Petr Fleischmann.

Michael Žantovský will chair the debate.

Jan Šolc: Life in Liberec

Jan Šolc: Life in Liberec

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: January 30, 2019, 16:00 – 18:00

Presentation of Žít V Liberci (To Live in Liberec) a memoir by Jan Šolc, who was a colleague and advisor of Václav Havel’s, a spokesperson for Civic Forum and a Federal Assembly deputy and has lived in the city since 1945. As a teacher, mentor and discussion partner, he is most familiar with the young generation.

In his book he explores key milestones in Czechoslovak history, including the expulsion of the Germans and the period of Czechoslovak Stalinism, and describes coercion exerted by the military counterintelligence and the persecution he himself suffered after 1968, as well as the enormous political and social changes that followed November 1989. He also remembers Václav Havel. “Two years before his death I heard him lamenting as to whether it had been at all worth bringing back democracy. He was worn out, browned off and tired. Nobody knows what it means to be president after 42 years of repression,” Šolc says of his friend.

The publication of the memoir of the Liberec philosopher, man of letters and political activist Jan Šolc will be celebrated by the author and his friends, students and colleagues. Invited guests include Jan Kačer, Martin Vidlák, Libor Prudký, Michael Kocáb and Petr Pithart.

VHL director Michael Žantovský will serve as host.

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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!


Guided tour – Havel In A Nutshell

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


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.



Havel in a nutshell

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


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.  

  • 03/09/19 – 30/09/19foyer knihovny Petra Bezruče v Opavě, 1. patro
  • 03/09/19 – 26/10/19Opava, Galerie Hřivnáč
  • 09/19Štěpánek Netolický House, Třeboň
  • 30/10/19 – 30/11/19Kinský Château, Valašské Meziříčí
  • 10/19Vysoké Mýto
  • 01/11/19 – 31/12/19Městská knihovna Písek
  • 04/11/19 – 10/01/20Municipal Library, Ústí nad Orlicí
  • 11/19Mělník, Gymnázium Jana Palacha
  • 01/20Mělník, Gymnázium Jana Palacha










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Archive / Documentation centre / Research projects

Dokumentační centrum

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

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

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

We will be glad to answer your queries at


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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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