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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.

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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

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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

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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.”

Program for September 2022<>

Who reads the classics in their entirety? On biblio-diversity and book practice

Who reads the classics in their entirety? On biblio-diversity and book practice

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 5, 2022, 17:00 – 18:00

A book is not just a product but a work of art, an artefact recording human identity and ideas. For this reason we need to ensure that those who write such books are decently paid. Fees of CZK 10 for proofreading a standard page, or CZK 150 for translating one, should no longer be offered, never mind accepted. Yet they are. At the same time we need people to read. But are we really getting children and young people into literature? Lists of recommended titles are frequently short on attractive titles that would speak to children and young people and reflect their lived experiences, by contrast with other media.

We will discuss ways of fostering a healthy literary biotope with the minister of culture, Martin Baxa, children’s books author Ester Stará, manager and poet Anna Štičková and publisher and bookseller Veronika Benešova Hudečková.

Chaired by Kateřina Svátková.

Discussion organised by the VHL and the Association of Small Publishers and Booksellers, a new professional organisation advocating for the interests of small publishing houses and booksellers as well as readers.

Launch N | Venezuela: Paradise in Decay

Launch N | Venezuela: Paradise in Decay

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 6, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

Following 20 years of socialist rule, Venezuela has gone from being one of the world’s richest countries to one of the very poorest. The political and social project created by Hugo Chavez collapsed and today Venezuela is a state beset by problems: an utterly devastated economy, rampant crime, food queues and medicine shortages. It is a country where sheer survival is a major concern. In the book Venezuela: Rozklad ráje (Venezuela: Paradise in Decay), Eduard Freisler, a journalist, Czech Radio editor and freelancer for Deníku N, has captured the country’s crisis through gripping, often horrific, human stories. However, he also discovered triumphs and resistance to the mafia regime of Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro, nicknamed the “Tropical Stalin.”

Guests: Vanessa Antonia Neumann, Juan Guaido’s former ambassador to the UK; Josef Opatrný, historian and Iberian-American Studies expert; and author Eduard Freisler.

From Time to Time #12: On street work with Martina Zikmundová

From Time to Time #12: On street work with Martina Zikmundová

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 8, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

With the psychologist, social pedagogue and respected director of the Czech Street Work Association on 25 years spent on the streets, effective social services work and the advantages of having street workers in a district. How do non-profits work on state commissions, and why is state support crucial to social services? Is it worth promoting social work? What kind of people become street workers? And what was Martina Zikmundová looking for in Ukraine some years back?

Hosted by Radio Wave presenter Adéla Paulík Lichková.

Olga Fečová: The Day Was Short for Me

Olga Fečová: The Day Was Short for Me

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 12, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

Presentation of a book by Olga Fečová, a woman with indomitable energy who was a magnetic authority for a whole generation of Romanies.

In her memoirs Den byl pro mě krátkej (The Day Was Short for Me) she captures the idiosyncratic inhabitants of the vanished world of traditional settlements, Old Town apartment buildings with courtyard galleries and workers’ colonies in the border regions. After the war her family came to Bohemia for work and successfully integrated into local society without giving up their Romany traditions and values. Using the example of an individual story, she lays out the contours of the hitherto little-known story of Romanies in the Czechoslovak milieu.

Confirmed guest participants include the director of the Museum of Roma Culture, the historian and editor Jana Horváthová, and Katolický týdeník editor, literary scientist and critic Alena Scheinostová.

Chaired by the book’s editor Lenka Jandáková.

Organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the Kher and Paseka publishing houses.

Book presentation: Hugo Vavrečka’s Private War

Book presentation: Hugo Vavrečka’s Private War

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 13, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

The name of Hugo Vavrečka (1880–1952), journalist, diplomat, Baťa director, propaganda minister and grandfather of the Havel brothers, is marginal in Czech historiography. He has received only sporadic attention, while his final years have been entirely overlooked. The new book Soukromá válka Huga Vavrečky (Hugo Vavrečka’s Private War) by Jana Wohlmuth Markupová, who has long been focused on the Havel family circle, addresses just that period.

In discussion with Pavel Mücke from the Contemporary History Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Charles University’s Faculty of Humanitarian Studies, the author will speak about Vavrečka’s wartime and post-war activities, false accusations of collaboration with the Nazis, his lifelong nurturing of contacts across political parties and the role his grandsons Václav and Ivan M. Havel played in his later years.

Petr Hruška: I Spied My Face

Petr Hruška: I Spied My Face

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 14, 2022, 18:00 – 21:00

On 8 September 1522, after an exhausting three-year journey, Seville saw the arrival of the “last wretched boat of the Magalhães fleet / overloaded with cloves / eighteen men / and a report / that the Earth has no edges and thus no rest.” Exactly 500 years later, on 8 September 2022, Spatřil jsem tvou tvář (I Spied Your Face), a new book of poetry by Petr Hruska, is released. It captures a fictitious, tragicomic journey – the boat created by the poet is as much exploratory as conquering, both wandering and mercenary, both a grand sailing ship and an incipient wreck, also evoking the famous medieval ship of fools, bereft of either direction or sense…

Petr Hruška will read from the collection.

The book will be “baptised” with music by Monika Načeva and words by František Hruška.

Organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with publishers Host.

The Free Academy: Climate change – unavoidable disaster or chance for a better future?

The Free Academy: Climate change – unavoidable disaster or chance for a better future?

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 15, 2022, 19:00 – 20:30

Though we hear every day about the impacts of climate change, which affect all of us negatively, it is a subject that divides society. During Václav Havel’s lifetime it was not yet clear to what extent mankind was influencing climate and whether it was not a natural cycle. Nevertheless Václav Havel posed the question: “Doesn’t waiting for confirmation of this, for irrefutable certainty, rob us of the time needed for measures that are relatively painless compared to those we would have to undergo in the case of further delays?” He turned out to be right. Science has progressed since then and today there is no doubt as to man’s complete influence on the current global warming.

Unfortunately the time when relatively painless measures could be introduced has passed and irreversible natural changes have begun. The only way out is to move away from fossil fuels and to modernise all sectors. That is the only way we can pass on a sustainable Earth to our children and grandchildren.

Experience the City Differently with the Václav Havel Library

Experience the City Differently with the Václav Havel Library

  • Where: Prague 1
  • When: September 17, 2022, 11:00 – 17:00

Within the rich programme of the event Zažít město jinak (Experience the City Differently) you can visit a VHL stand with books, posters and other items throughout the day in the V Jirchářích garden on Opatovická St. – entrance opposite Café Jericho.

Karel Rožánek: Notes from Afghanistan

Karel Rožánek: Notes from Afghanistan

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 19, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

Up close in a war zone

What does the work of a war reporter comprise? And in what ways is Afghanistan specific? These questions and more are covered in the book Zápisky z Afghánistánu (Notes from Afghanistan) by the foreign correspondent Karel Rožánek.

This discussion and book launch will touch on journalistic, military and political issues – from the workings of the army during an official visit by Miloš Zeman to personal impressions from the war-torn country.

The book will be launched by Karel Řehka, while Petr Vizina will serve as host.

Debate with Respekt

Debate with Respekt

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 20, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

Discussion with editors from the weekly Respekt and their hosts, chaired by Ondřej Kundra. For more information and the names of guests visit www.vaclavhavel.cz prior to the event.

One million in Czechia live in cooperative buildings and flats – what next?

One million in Czechia live in cooperative buildings and flats – what next?

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 21, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

Interest in cooperative building projects is rising. Young people in particular cannot afford mortgages and are searching for the housing alternative offered by cooperative projects. Cities and municipalities, working on their own ways of helping people find housing, are also beginning to take an interest. Their aim is to hang on to important professions, such as fire officers, medics and teachers, and to ensure that young families do not move away. What form such this assistance take? And what can municipalities, developers and banks do to make housing accessible? Does the system need to change, or would increased cooperation suffice? Is there a lack of legislation to help people find affordable housing, or are politicians holding everything up?

Speakers: Jan Eisenreich, founder of the association DoDružstva; Anna Ježková, a representative of Coop Development; and Martin Kroh, chairman of the Czech Society for Housing Development and chairman of SBD Prague, one of the biggest apartments administrators; and other guests.

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Viktar Valtar: Born Under Saturn

Viktar Valtar: Born Under Saturn

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 22, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

In one state that neighbours Czechoslovakia I know certain people who are battle-hardened insurgents. You would have to illegally cross the border, join up with them and help them create an insurgent network…”

Belarusian novelist Viktar Valtar’s Born Under Saturn was written in the late 1920s, when Belarus was divided between Poland and Soviet Russia. Today Belarus is occupied militarily by Russia and, especially in the shadow of Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine, the dilemmas of Valtar’s protagonists feel extremely contemporary, as does their search for the meaning of life in a turbulent period of struggle for national independence.

This debate, held in connection with the publication of a Czech edition of Valtar’s novel set among Prague exiles from Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, will feature translator Max Ščur, linguist Mirosław Jankowiak and Belarus Studies expert Jana Koliášová.

Hosted by historian Petr Hlaváček. 

Organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the Belarusian Institute in Prague.

Hvížďala and Landovský: A Private Revolt

Hvížďala and Landovský: A Private Revolt

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 26, 2022, 16:30 – 18:00

You’re some mate. You’ll do an interview with Havel but you forget about me, who you’ve known far longer and who introduced you to him.” After this benign challenge Karel Hvížďala got organising. In 1987 Pavel Landovský visited him for a week in Bonn, giving rise to the book Soukromá vzpoura (A Private Revolt). In it Hvížďala recalls how the actor arrived in Bonn, occupied the entire house, wouldn’t let anyone in the kitchen, did everything his own way and sharpened on a step not just their knives but those of the whole street. He told stories for hours, acted, jumped on chairs, rolled on the ground, pulled faces, changed his clothes and pulled on his braces…

Fortunately Hvížďala managed to translate his expansive speech into written language and now, 35 years later, an audio book has also been produced, with Jiří Lábus standing in brilliantly for the absent Pavel Landovský.

Pavel Landovský will be remembered by Karel Hvížďala, Jiří Lábus, Karel Steigerwald and Petr Fischer.

Vladimír Merta will provide musical accompaniment.

Echo from the Library

Echo from the Library

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 27, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

Debate series with editors from the weekly Echo and their guests, in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library. Moderated by Lenka Zlámalová. For more information and the names of guests visit www.vaclavhavel.cz prior to the event.

Rudo Prekop: The Underground – photographic portraits

Rudo Prekop: The Underground – photographic portraits

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: September 29, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

Rudo Prekop worked for eight years on portraits and short biographies of figures from the unofficial arts scene, i.e., the underground, and their confrontation with the older and younger family line. He has managed to record conceptually and in pictures a community that is now unfortunately departing, creating an impressive “image gene pool” of the underground.

The book will be introduced by the author and launched by Dana Němcová and Jana Hlavsová.

Speakers will include publisher Jan Heller and editors who were involved in the original scene: Josef Moucha, Martin Machovec and František Stárek.

Eva Turnová will provide musical accompaniment.

Jáchym Topol will introduce and MC the evening.

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

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Václav Havel European Dialogues

The Václav Havel European Dialogues is an international project that aims to initiate and stimulate a discussion about issues determining the direction of contemporary Europe while referring to the European spiritual legacy of Václav Havel. This idea takes its main inspiration from Václav Havel’s essay “Power of the Powerless”. More than other similarly focused projects, the Václav Havel European Dialogues aims to offer the “powerless” a platform to express themselves and in so doing to boost their position within Europe.

The Václav Havel European Dialogues is planned as a long-term project and involves cooperation with other organisations in various European cities. Individual meetings, which take the form of a conference, are targeted primarily at secondary and third-level students, as well as specialists and members of the public interested in European issues.

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Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize is awarded each year by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation to reward outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe and beyond.

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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

1936
Foto
Václav Havel grew up
in a well-known, wealthy entrepreneurial
and intellectual family.
1951
Foto
Václav Havel completed primary schooling. Because
of his "bourgeois" background, options for
higher education were limited.
1951
Foto
Václav Havel worked as a chemical laboratory technician
while attending evening classes at a high school
from which he graduated in 1954.
1955
Foto
Václav Havel studied at the
Economics Faculty of the Czech
Technical University in Prague.
1960
Foto
Václav Havel began working at Prague's Theatre on
the Balustrade, first as a stagehand and later as
an assistant director and literary manager.
1963
Foto
Havel´s first play The Garden
Party was staged at Prague's
Theatre on the Balustrade.
1964
Foto
Václav Havel
married Olga
Splichalova.
1966
Foto
VH finished studies at at the
Theatre Faculty of the Academy of
Performing Arts in Prague .
1968
Foto
Václav Havel played an active role in
democratization and renewal of culture during the
era of reforms, known as Prague Spring.
1969
Foto
Havel's work were banned in Czechoslovakia. He
moved from Prague to the country, continued
his activities against the Communist regime.
1974
Foto
Václav Havel worked as a manual laborer
at a local brewery near Hrádeček in
the north of the Czech Republic.
1975
Foto
Václav Havel wrote an open
letter to President Gustav Husak,
criticizing the government.
1977
Foto
Václav Havel co-founded the Charter 77
human rights initiative and was one
of its first spokesmen.
1978
Foto
Václav Havel co-founded The
Committee for the Defense
of the Unjustly Prosecuted.
1979
Foto
Václav Havel was imprisoned several times
for his beliefs, his longest prison
term lasting from 1979 to 1983.
1989
Foto
Václav Havel emerged as one of the
leaders of the November opposition movement, also
known as the Velvet Revolution.
1990
Foto
Václav Havel is elected
President of Czechoslovakia on
December 29.
1993
Foto
Václav Havel is elected, after the
dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the first President
of the Czech Republic.
1996
Foto
On January
27, Olga
Havlova died.
1997
Foto
Václav Havel married Dagmar Veskrnova,
a popular and acclaimed Czech theatrical,
television and movie actress.
1999
Foto
Václav Havel enabled the entry of
the Czech Republic into the North
Atlantic Treat Organisation (NATO).
2003
Foto
Václav Havel left office after
his second term as Czech
president ended on 2 February 2003.
2004
Foto
Foundation of Václav
Havel Library in
Prague.
2004
Foto
The Czech Republic became the 35th
member State of the Council of
Europe on 30 June 1993.
2010
Foto
Václav Havel directed
a film adaptation of
his play Leaving.
2011
Foto
Václav Havel died at his
summer house Hrádeček in the
north of the Czech Republic.
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Educational projects

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Man of inspiration

This six-part series of educational videos introduces young viewers to the most important events in Czechoslovak history in the second half of the 20th century, with an accent on the human rights struggle. It is presented by singer and TV moderator Emma Smetana and choreographer and producer Yemi. The presenters of the English versions are native speakers.

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Year of Revolution

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

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Read Havel

A collection of short videos in which well-known young people in Czech public life present iconic and lesser-known texts by Václav Havel.

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Václav Havel here and now

A travelling series of discussions about VH and more with Michael Žantovský, intended for secondary school students, libraries and arts centres.

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Best Student Essay Competition

One of the key genres of Václav Havel’s work is essays – on literary, artistic, social, political, and spiritual topics. His essays, such as the The Power of the Powerless and A Word About Words, have become classic texts of Czech literature; they have been translated into tens of languages, and are among the few truly world-famous works of Czech culture. This is also why it is necessary to keep cultivating the essay genre in the Czech language – not in the sense of imitating Václav Havel’s writing, but in the spirit of his courage to name unpleasant problems and search for unconventional solutions to them. For this reason, the Václav Havel Library is announcing the next year of the literary competition for secondary students: the Václav Havel Library Prize for Best Student Essay.

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Václav Havel´s Bookshelves

The Václav Havel Little Libraries are a key new Václav Havel Library project aimed at establishing a nationwide network of elementary and secondary schools that, with the support of the VHL, will spread the legacy of Václav Havel among their pupils and students. The aim of the Little Libraries is to create in schools (on the model of the existing Václav Havel’s Places) book shelves on which the schools will gather both texts by Václav Havel and texts closely linked to him. They may also contain other written materials, audio and video recordings and photographs.

Illustration

Lets rock!

Are your students (whether at elementary, arts-focused elementary or secondary schools) interested in history? Do you have a theatre or film club at your school, or are you teaching young people who “just” like to act? If so, we cordially invite you to join the Václav Havel Library in celebrating in a creative manner the centenary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia with the theatre-education project Tomorrow!

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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.

Illustration

Workshop: The Audience

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

Illustration

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.

Exhibitions

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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”.

Illustration

Oldřich Škácha – Occupation 1968

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

Illustration

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.

Illustration

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.

Illustration

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.

Illustration

Leaving

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

Illustration

August invasion of Hrádeček

A meeting of the children of dissidents and others who shared recollections of Václav Havel. The exhibition is a colourful collage of photographs, audio recordings – from talks by individual participants on the subject “My life with Václav Havel”, to a concert by Monika Načeva and Michal Pavlíček – and unique archival materials.

Depository

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

  • 06/01/23 – 10/02/23Základní škola a mateřská škola Kladno
  • 14/11/22 – 31/12/221st International School of Ostrava
  • 14/08/22 – 09/12/22
  • 14/08/22 – 09/12/22
  • 14/08/22 – 31/12/22
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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.

  • 57687 records in total
  • 16306 of events in the VH's life
  • 2994 of VH's texts
  • 2124 of photos 
  • 384of videos
  • 564of audios
  • 6594of letters
  • 15102of texts about VH
  • 7808 of books
  • 35369of bibliography records

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

We will be glad to answer your queries at archiv@vaclavhavel-library.org.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

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200 KČ / měsíc
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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.

Internships

We offer short and long-term internships at the Václav Havel Library to Czech and foreign students. Interns are particularly welcomed in the fields of library studies and archival science, arts management, journalism, Czech Studies and other areas of the humanities.

We welcome knowledge of English (German and French are also a plus), while knowledge of Czech is an advantage for foreign interns.

Internships range in duration from six weeks to one year, while it is possible to agree on individual duration depending on the requirements of schools. On completion of the internship, the participant receives a certificate with an appraisal. Internships take place on the basis of prior agreement with applicants and dates must be agreed around two months in advance. Václav Havel Library internships are unpaid and we do not cover transport or accommodation costs.

If you are interested in an internship at the Václav Havel Library, contact us at the email address:

Media and promotion cooperation with the VHL

The Václav Havel Library welcomes the mutual exchange of links and the publication of our banners and information about our events. For more information, contact us directly.

Volunteers

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

Česká centraBakala 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