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Club / News / Program


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

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


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

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


The Other Europe  27/04/22

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


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

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

Program for January 2023<>

Punk and Hardcore!

Punk and Hardcore!

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

“Everything’s bad, back to the trees!” sang Modrý tanky in the late 1980s. They were one of the groups that led the punk rock revolution in Czechoslovakia between 1979 and 1989. Where and how did the movement begin? Who was involved? What were the punks all about? What did they sing about? What were their concerns? And what were their connections with disproportionately studied phenomena such as underground and alternative? These questions and more will be discussed by some of those who were there: Pavla Jonssonová from the band Dybbuk, Petr Bergmann, an activist and “rabid punk”, and Štěpán Stejskal, who documented the scene with his camera.

The event will be moderated by Radim Kopáč, author of the book Všechno je špatně, zpátky na stromy! Český punk a hardcore v textech 1979–1989 (Everything’s bad, back to the trees! Czech Punk and Hardcore in Texts, 1979–1989), which has just been issue by the Divočina publishing house.

Debate with Deník N: Presidential Finale

Debate with Deník N: Presidential Finale

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: January 10, 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

The culmination of campaigning for the presidency, as seen by leading journalists. An analysis of the situation three days before the elections. Who has the greatest chance of success?

Restart – A Book About the Split of Czechoslovakia

Restart – A Book About the Split of Czechoslovakia

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

It is exactly 30 years since Czechoslovakia ceased to exist. The words most frequently used to describe that event are break-up, dissolution, separation, split. But might not it be better to see that historical moment as giving rise to two confident and successful states? That is, as a restart? With two nations that don’t despise one another, are not at one another’s throats and don’t squabble over attention but, on the contrary, respect one another and are cordial. Well-known names of various professions, experiences and age – Petr Fiala, Mikuláš Dzurinda, Michael Kocáb, Věra Jourová, Šimon Pánek, Pavel Kosatík, Tereza Nvotová, Pavel Rychetský and Karel Oliva – will ponder not only the breakup of Czechoslovakia but also what Czechs and Slovaks are going through at a time that demonstrates the importance of alliances and friendly relations.

The interviews in the book Restart, conducted by Czech Television journalists Jana Peroutková and Petr Švec, will come to life in a discussion that will also include the launch of the book.

Debate with Respekt

Debate with Respekt

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

Discussion series involving Respekt weekly editors and their guests. For details and the names of guests visit www.Vá prior to the event.

The Power of Reason in a Crazy Time

The Power of Reason in a Crazy Time

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

Why do people choose to ignore the truth? How to have worthwhile internet discussions? Can one understand the behaviour of those who see things differently? And what can each of us do to make the earth a better place to live?

These questions and more will be discussed by Ján Markoš, chess grandmaster, theologian and author of the new book Síla rozumu v bláznivé době (The Power of Reason in a Crazy Time). Joining him in conversation will be TV presenter Václav Moravec, media education teacher Michal Kaderka and award-winning teacher Magdalena Málková.

The discussion will be chaired by Jakub Sedláček, an editor with publishers Paseka, which has just issued a Czech translation of the Slovak bestseller.

The Crimean Peninsula: From Crossroads of Culture to Russian Colony

The Crimean Peninsula: From Crossroads of Culture to Russian Colony

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

The peninsula surrounded by the Black Sea has always been a bustling crossroads between Europe and Asia, its aura stemming from its history of ethnic and religious coexistence. Crimea never belonged to any one ethnic group and this made it dependent on nearby empires, which gradually narrowed down to two rivals – the Ottoman Empire and Russia. A key era for the peninsula was the Crimean Khanate, which came to an end with annexation by Catherine the Great in 1783. How does Putin’s intervention in 2014 compare with that move? What happened to the Crimean Tatars? And why do Russians believe that Crimea was and is Russian?

These questions and more will be answered by the authors of the book Poloostrov Krym (The Crimean Peninsula), Helena Ulbrechtová and Radomír Vlček from the Czech Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Slavonic Studies, writer Jiří Padevět and journalist and Russia expert Libor Dvořák.

Petříček, Fischer, Matějčková: You Are All Going to Die

Petříček, Fischer, Matějčková: You Are All Going to Die

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: January 23, 2023, 19:00 – 20:00

Presentation of a book of interviews

In a book of dialogues in the Socratic sense, Miroslav Petříček and Petr Fischer enter the marketplace, meaning the public arena. They speak in a natural, comprehensible language and seek answers to complex questions – about freedom, responsibility, refugees, orientation in today’s world, the chaos it brings, how a nearby, virtually real-time war does to us, how it is changing us, and how much. Thinkers aren’t here to save the world. Yes, says Petříček, we have achieved enormous economic growth that should also spell intellectual and spiritual growth, although that is not the case. So we ask, where is it, why aren’t we receiving it? Why doesn’t material certitude deliver spiritual certitude?

Though both the debate participants ponder death, the interviews in Všichni umřete (You Are All Going to Die) speak against fear, against panic. It is a joyous book about serious matters.

In the introduction Tereza Matějčková implies that philosophy does not make us stronger – perhaps our comprehension of the meaning of freedom even makes us weaker. But that makes us more perceptive…

Echo from the Library

Echo from the Library

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

Debate series with editors from the weekly Týdeník Echo and their guests in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library. Discussion chaired by Dalibor Balšínek. For details and the names of guests visit www.Vá prior to the event.

Havel, Europe and the World

Havel, Europe and the World

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

The role of the Václav Havel Library in the Czech Republic’s public diplomacy

In the spirit of Václav Havel’s legacy, the Václav Havel Library is actively involved in public diplomacy and events beyond the Czech Republic’s borders. We have been running the Václav Havel European Dialogues – an opportunity to discuss the issues facing Europe and its citizens – for some eight years. We have been presenting the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize in cooperation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Nadace Charty 77, with an associated international conference, for 10 years. Two years ago we also launched the Václav Havel Transatlantic Dialogues, now renamed Havel-Albright Transatlantic Dialogues. Since 2017 we have been a member of the European Parliament’s Network of Political Houses and Foundations of Great Europeans.

In 2022 we were involved in the conception of the Czech Republic’s presidency of the Council of the European Union, which had the umbrella slogan – borrowed from Havel – of “Europe as a Task”. Sixteen Václav Havel European Dialogues were prepared in 12 countries of the European Union and in Egypt during the year. Havel-Albright Transatlantic Dialogues took place in three locations in Europe and the United States. And this year’s Václav Havel Human Rights Prize conference, under the title Crime and Punishment, focused on the issue of punishing war crimes committed as part of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

An attempt to summarise the insights gleaned from all these events, and the importance of the former president’s legacy, will be made during an evening focused on Havel, Europe and the world by the minister for European Affairs, Mikuláš Bek, the director general of the Czech Centres network, Ondřej Černý, the director of the Czech Centre Paris, Jiří Hnilica, and Jiří Přibáň, professor of law at Cardiff University.

The evening will be hosted by Michael Žantovský, director of the Václav Havel Library.

The Free Academy: Kateřina Šedá

The Free Academy: Kateřina Šedá

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

Art. Community. Participation.

My adult son rests in my bed. Repairmen address me as young lady, even though I’m 69. I’ve eaten tailor’s chalk 1x daily for 30 years because I believed I’d get slim that way…”

In this talk the social architect and internationally acclaimed artist Kateřina Šedá will focus on working with the community; using current projects as examples, she will show how the public may be made active and what can be achieved through participation.

Help from the North: The Czech Dissent and Friends from Norway and Scandinavia

Help from the North: The Czech Dissent and Friends from Norway and Scandinavia

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

What was behind the strong wave of Swedish, Norwegian and Danish aid to the Czech dissent in the wake of the publication of Charter 77? Who launched it, how was it organized and how did it help democracy to return in the country? Conversely, how and who should we help today? Alongside Czechs who were there, this unique debate will feature Norwegian diplomat Øyvind Nordsletten, journalist Alf Skjeseth, Urban Westling from Sweden’s August 21 Committee, Morten Nielssen of the Danish organisation Dialog med Charta 77 and Frode Bakken from Norway’s Stottefondet for Charta 77. Adam Drda will chair the discussion.

Organised by Post Bellum in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway.

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

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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.

  • 68206 records in total
  • 25309 of events in the VH's life
  • 2831 of VH's texts
  • 2125 of photos 
  • 403of videos
  • 567of audios
  • 6603of letters
  • 15101of texts about VH
  • 8126 of books
  • 39051of 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


1000 KČ / měsíc

Váš příspěvek nám pomůže s organizací pravidelných akcí pro veřejnost.


10000 KČ / měsíc

Váš příspěvek nám pomůže rozvíjet náš ediční plán a publikační činnost


? Kontaktujte nás
pro další informace

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

Support us

Financial donations

If you would like to support the work of the Václav Havel Library or its specific activities or projects by means of a financial donation you can do so via the VHL’s PayPal account

Or by bank transfer to:

ČSOB a. s., Na Poříčí 24, 115 20 Praha 1

  • Crown account number 7077 7077 / 0300 CZK
  • Euro account number 7755 7755 / 0300 EUR
  • Dollar account number 7747 7747 / 0300 USD

If an individual makes a donation of over CZK 1,000, or if a company makes a donation of over CZK 2,000, in one calendar year we will create for you a donation contract confirming the amount of the donation involved; the donor can use this to reduce their tax base in compliance with the law on taxation. For more information, contact us.

Donors with US citizenship can support us through the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation New York.

Donations and loans to the VHL archive

The Václav Havel Library administers an archive of written materials, documents, photographs, video recordings and other materials related to the life and work of Václav Havel. The archive is predominantly digital in form. If you or somebody close to you is the owner of original texts, photographs, speeches or other works produced by Václav Havel we would appreciate it greatly if you contacted us. We will oversee the digitalisation of these documents and place them in our digital archive. If you would like to keep possession of such documents or items, we will return them in perfect condition.  

If a copy or original is donated to the Václav Havel Library, the terms of donation and use will in all cases be agreed with the owner. The names of all donors or owners will be listed alongside the documentary materials in question.


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

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

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

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

Media and promotion cooperation with the VHL

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


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

Česká centraBakala FoundationRockefeller Brothers FundJan BartaAsiana GroupMoneta Money BankThe Vaclav Havel Library FoundationNadace Charty 77Sekyra FoudationVŠEMRicohP3chemTechsoup ČRNewton MediaHlavní město PrahaMinisterstvo kultury ČRMinisterstvo zahraničních věcí ČRUS EmbassyStátní fond kultury