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

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


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

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


The Other Europe  27/04/22

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


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

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

Program for October 2023<>


Launch N: Organs Don’t Belong to Heaven

Launch N: Organs Don’t Belong to Heaven

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zuzana Stivínová will read excerpts from the book.    

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

Is Education a Cure?

Is Education a Cure?

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

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

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

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

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

Screening of documentary Bigger Than Trauma

Screening of documentary Bigger Than Trauma

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

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

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

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

The discussion will be moderated by Ian Willoughby.

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

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

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

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

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

Conference Programme 

13.30 Registration  

14.00 Welcome

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

14.10 Conference Opening

  • Gabriel Eichler, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Václav Havel Library

14.20 Interview with the 2023 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize laureate 

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

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

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

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

15.25–15.50 Coffee Break 

15.50 Panel Keynote

Petra Procházková, Journalist, humanitarian worker and war correspondent from conflict areas of the former Soviet Union

16.00 Panel II: Face to Face with Evil 

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

17.10–17.30 Coffee Break 

17.30 Panel Keynote

  • Guzel Shamilyevna Yakhina, Russian author and screenwriter

17.40 Panel III: Rising from the Ashes 

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

18.50 Closing remarks​

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

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

A Word about the Conference

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

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

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

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

Lviv, The Forgotten Centre of Europe

Lviv, The Forgotten Centre of Europe

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

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

The Underground and Czechoslovakia in 1989

The Underground and Czechoslovakia in 1989

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 12, 2023, 10:00 – 16:00

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

Foglar for the 21st Century

Foglar for the 21st Century

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

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

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

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

The evening will be introduced by Jáchym Topol.

Debate with Respekt

Debate with Respekt

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

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

The Free Academy: František Skála Via Virtually All the Senses

The Free Academy: František Skála Via Virtually All the Senses

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

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

Big Book Thursday Meeting with Authors and Book Signing

Big Book Thursday Meeting with Authors and Book Signing

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

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

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

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

Ukraine as a Task

Ukraine as a Task

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Týdeník Echo’s Lukáš Novosad will chair the talk.

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

Solidarity Zone: Anarchist Aid in Putin’s Russia

Solidarity Zone: Anarchist Aid in Putin’s Russia

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

An initiative in support of anti-war prisoners

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

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

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

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

Interpretation from Russian provided.

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

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

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

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

Libor Krejcar: The Cat in Us

Libor Krejcar: The Cat in Us

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

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

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

Havel Channel

Havel Channel je audiovizuální projekt Knihovny Václava Havla, jehož cílem je šířit myšlenkový, literární a politický odkaz Václava Havla, bez ohledu na vzdálenost, zeměpisné hranice či nouzové stavy. Jeho páteř tvoří debaty, vzdělávací projekty a rozhovory. Velký prostor je věnován též konferencím, autorským čtením, záznamům divadelních inscenací a koncertům. Audiovizuální projekt Knihovny Václava Havla Havel Channel se uskutečňuje díky laskavé podpoře Karel Komárek Family Foundation.

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Publications / E-shop

The central focus of the Library’s publishing programme is the life and work of Václav Havel, his family and close collaborators and friends. For clarity, the programme is divided into six series: Václav Havel Library Notebooks, Václav Havel Library Editions, Student Line, Talks from Lány, Václav Havel Documents, Works of Pavel Juráček and Václav Havel Library Conferences. Titles that cannot be incorporated into any of the given series but which are nonetheless important for the Library’s publishing activities are issued independently, outside the series framework.

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Conferences & prizes


Václav Havel European Dialogues

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

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


Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

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


Havel - Albright Transatlantic Dialogues

Since the first Václav Havel Transatlantic Dialogues at GLOBSEC and FORUM 2000 conferences last year, we have lost another stalwart advocate of the transatlantic bond and of the need to face threats to democracy and international order together on both sides of the Atlantic, the former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In view of the close bond between Václav Havel and Madeleine Albright and, after Havel's death, between the Secretary and the Library, the Václav Havel Library, with the approval of Madeleine Albright's family, renamed and rebranded the program as The Havel-Albright Transatlantic Dialogues (HATD), after the two major figures with roots in Central Europe who have personified the bond. Together, Václav Havel and Madeleine Albright symbolize the transatlantic relationship and the fundamental values underpinning it perhaps better than any other two people in recent history. The upcoming Dialogues “The Indispensable Woman: The Legacy of Madeleine K. Albright”, at the FORUM 2000 conference on September 1, and at the “Havel and our Crisis” conference at Colby College, ME, on September 28, will thus become venues for a well-deserved tribute to the pair we all respected and admired.

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Václav Havel

Václav Havel
* 5. 10. 1936 Praha
† 18. 12. 2011 Hrádeček u Trutnova

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

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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.

  • 72389 records in total
  • 29309 of events in the VH's life
  • 2831 of VH's texts
  • 2125 of photos 
  • 403of videos
  • 568of audios
  • 6594of letters
  • 15101of texts about VH
  • 8295 of books
  • 41171of 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
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Support us

We are well aware that freedom and democracy must be nurtured. Here at Ostrovní 13, but also on the audiovisual platform Havel Channel, we strive to do so through our own educational programmes, talks, discussion meetings, books, exhibitions, concerts, theatre performances. We honour Václav Havel's legacy and wish that the Library be a living organism and open to all. That is why our programme is free of charge for everyone. This would not be possible without regular financial support from our supporters. Become one of them...
Václav Havel

Support us with a financial donation

Does our work make sense to you and do you want to support the activities of the Vaclav Havel Library?

You can easily make a one-time payment by scanning the QR code.

Would you like to contribute regularly? Then we invite you to become a member of the Vaclav Havel Library Friends Club. What are the benefits of membership? Find out more.

I want to support: Friends club

Help us expand the archive

The Vaclav Havel Library manages an archive of writings, documents, photographs, video recordings and other materials related to the life and work of Vaclav Havel. This archive is predominantly in digital form. If you or someone close to you owns any original texts, correspondence, photographs, speeches or any other work by Vaclav Havel, we would be grateful if you could contact us.


You can donate in other ways too

Supporting a specific charitable or public benefit organization whose activities you appreciate or have been supporting for a long time is also possible through a will. This form of donation is quite common abroad, but in the Czech Republic this tradition is only just taking root.

Share information about us

The Vaclav Havel Library is open to media and promotional cooperation, mutual sharing of links, publishing our banners or information about our events.

For more information, please contact us.

Contact for PR & media

Donations have their rules

At the Vaclav Havel Library, we uphold a transparent, responsible and ethical way of dealing with all those who contribute to fulfilling our purpose and implementing our strategy. Our code of ethics summarizes the basic rules of donations.

Code of conduct

Get involved in volunteering

Would you like to get involved as a volunteer? That's great. We welcome anyone who wants to help our work.

Contact for volunteers

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