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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 October 2022<

Prague Castle Under Václav Havel

Prague Castle Under Václav Havel

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 3, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

How did the country’s most important historical landmark change in the years 1989–2003? What had been a “haunted castle” under the totalitarian regime was transformed into a vibrant cultural and social centre, with numerous leading artists contributing to its renewal. Jáchym Topol will chair the debate with architectural historian Zdeněk Lukeš.

Debate N: Syria as a Failed Western Project?

Debate N: Syria as a Failed Western Project?

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 4, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

A debate about the situation in Syria and its causes. Where did the West go wrong? Can the situation have a satisfactory conclusion, and what could bring that about? How do Russia’s activities in Syria relate to what is now happening in Ukraine? Deník N journalist Petra Procházková will moderate a debate with guests.

Ukraine and the Tower of Babylon

Ukraine and the Tower of Babylon

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 5, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

An evening of Ukrainian authors living in the Czech Republic. Alongside readings of extracts from their books, the discussion will also touch on their life stories and those of their ancestors, as well as the current situation in Ukraine. Iryna Zahladko, Tim Postavit and other guests will appear. Introduced by Petr Placák. Jáchym Topol will moderate.

Organised by the Václav Havel Library and the Babylon review, in cooperation with RUTA – Ukrainian initiative in the Czech Republic, as part of the Tower of Babylon project focused on the literature of national minorities in the CR.

What Can the Citizen Do, And What Can the State?

What Can the Citizen Do, And What Can the State?

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 10, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

Democratic theory and the rule of law are inexorably linked to the concept of limited government. The state solely possesses the powers granted to it by the constitution and laws and may not go beyond them in interfering in citizens’ lives. The creation of the social state, the social market economy practiced in recent decades in Europe and elsewhere, the extraordinary demands on the state at times of war and other crises and the skyrocketing volume of data that the state gathers or has access to via its agencies is leading to an expansion of the state apparatus and the instruments at its disposal at in developed countries. Such factors in turn lead to growth in the citizen’s claims on the state, to a rising number of cases where the state wrongfully invades the privacy of citizens and to legal clashes between citizens and the state.

In democracy is there some kind of natural border between the citizen and the state whose contravention signals a threat to freedom as such? The line of contact between the citizen and the state and the conflicts that take place along it will be discussed by Karel Šimka, judge, lawyer and political scientist, chairman of the Czech Supreme Administrative Court; political scientist Anna Shavit; and other guests.

Debate chaired by Michael Žantovský, director of the Václav Havel Library.

The Underground and Czechoslovakia 1987–1988

The Underground and Czechoslovakia 1987–1988

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 11, 2022, 09:50 – 17:00

The seventh edition of a conference on the phenomenon of the Czech (and beyond) underground takes place this year.

After the harsh repression of the early 1980s, the second half of the decade saw the revival not only of the opposition scene but also of the so-called grey zone, awakened from lethargy by Moscow’s new political direction following the ascent of Mikhail Gorbachev to power and which, in mutated form, was also reflected in the highest echelons of the domestic Communist Party. For the normalization leadership, so-called perestroika and glasnost were a nightmare that denied everything the Husák, respectively Jakeš, regime was based on. The ossified leadership of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia viewed this reconstruction as its most serious crisis since February 1948. The short period of calm for the opposition, when the Communists were unsure of how far they could go, created the conditions for varied cultural output, as well as a stormy debate within Charter 77 on how to act toward the one-party government. In the end the crisis within Charter 77 led to the first genuine political demonstration since August 1969, which took place on Human Rights day, 10 December, 1987 on Old Town Square, an event that remains unjustly overlooked.

All this and more will be discussed by experts on the underground (and beyond) at this conference at the Václav Havel Library.

Organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.

The jubilee 10th international conference in honour of the laureate of the 2022 Václav Havel Human Prize

The jubilee 10th international conference in honour of the laureate of the 2022 Václav Havel Human Prize

  • Where: Prague Crossroads, Zlatá 1, Prague
  • When: October 12, 2022, 14:00 – 18:30

Crime and Punishment – Crimes against peace and humanity and the wheels of justice

REGISTER

  • Organisers: Václav Havel Library & Charta 77 Foundation
  • Partners: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Conference Programme

13.30 – 14.00   Registration 

14.00 – 14.10   Conference Opening: Michael Žantovský – Executive Director, Václav Havel Library 

14.10 – 14.20   Keynote Speech: Karim Khan (UK) – Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, barrister and Queen's Counsel 

14.20 – 14.40   Interview with the 2021 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 10, 2022.

Chair: Michael Žantovský – Václav Havel Library

14.40 – 15.25   Panel I: Discussion with 2022 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize finalists

Panellists:
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
Hungary’s Rainbow Coalition defending LGBTQIA+ rights

Chair: Linda Bartošová – Journalist and moderator

15.25 – 15.45   Coffee Break

15.45 – 17.00   Panel II: The wheels of justice 

Massive violations of human rights, such as the ones occurring as a result of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, not only present horrific scenes of human suffering and depravity but pose difficult questions of transformational justice. Apart from the imperative of an immediate and unconditional end to the atrocities, it is incumbent on humanity to document and record for posterity every single instance of human rights violation and to bring to justice those responsible, in order to prevent the repetition of such crimes.

The discussion panel will try to examine the respective approaches and their applicability to the events in Ukraine. In particular, it will discuss the scope and the limits of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, various historical forms of war crimes tribunals, the role of the Council of Europe, the EU and the OSCE, the legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the role of memory institutions and NGOs in collecting evidence of the crimes, as well as various forms of retribution and compensation of the victims and their families.

Panellists:

Veronika Bílková – professor of international law focused on international security and human rights, vice president of the European Society of International Law

Tomáš Holub – Roman Catholic priest and Plzeň bishop, first Czech military chaplain

Ivana Janů – Judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Chair: Lenka Kabrhelová – Journalist, reporter, head of the podcast 5:59, Seznam Zprávy

17.00 – 18.15   Panel III: Where does evil spring from?

The recent events have also revived one of the most painful questions of the human condition: Is evil a construct we attribute to behaviour for which there is no adequate or acceptable social explanation, or is the capacity for evil an integral and inseparable part of our existence? And if the latter, where do the roots and the triggers of evil come from?

Panellists:

Ksenia Poluektova-Krimer – Russian historian focused on the Holocaust

Lenka Víchová – Ukrainian Studies expert

Further guests TBA.

Chair: Jakub Szántó – Journalist and moderator, Czech Television  

18.15 – 18.20   Closing remarks: Martin Palouš – Diplomat, teacher, Charter 77 signatory and human rights advocate  

18.20 – 18.25   Acknowledgments and invitation for a drink: Michael Žantovský, Václav Havel Library

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

Meeting of Big Book Thursday Authors

Meeting of Big Book Thursday Authors

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 13, 2022, 17:00 – 20:00

You are cordially invited to a meeting and book signing of writers in the 22nd edition of Big Book Thursday.

You can look forward to authors of new titles such as Evžen Boček, Jan Novák, Jan Němec, Václav Cílek, Pavel Kosatík, Dalibor Balšínek, František Šmehlík and Eva Grestenbergerová, as well as translator Tomáš Jurkovič and book editors Petr Onufer and Martina Mašínová.

Some writers will send video greetings from abroad.

The event will be broadcast live on Facebook and on www.havelchannel.cz

For more information visit www.velkyctvrtek.cz

Machiavelli’s The Prince and Rousseau’s The Discourses

Machiavelli’s The Prince and Rousseau’s The Discourses

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 17, 2022, 18:00 – 20:00

Whatever way we look at it, Machiavelli’s The Prince changed the way we think about the nature of politics. Rousseau’s The Discourses, meanwhile, changed our thinking about democracy. Both essential works of modern political theory are coming out in new, erudite and expertly annotated translations with accompanying texts that explore the period context, the authors’ lives and contemporary research.

Translators Jan Bíba and Hana Fořtová will present the books and Milan Znoj will moderate.

The evening takes place with the kind support of the Sekyra Foundation.

Debate with Respekt

Debate with Respekt

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 18, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

Discussion with editors from the weekly Respekt and their guests. For more information and the names of guests visit www.vaclavhavel.cz prior to the event.

The Rehabilitation of General Syrový

The Rehabilitation of General Syrový

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

The figure of Jan Syrový, a one-time minister of defence and prime minister of the Czechoslovak government from 22 September to 30 September 1938, is linked to the period of national humiliation as a result of the Munich Agreement. The post-war era, when General Syrový was sentenced to 20 years harsh prison, stripped of his military rank and the forfeiture of his property represents one of the most problematic chapters in terms of national destinies. The contemporary Czech judiciary, which began examining his case in 2021 and this year exonerated Syrový, in so doing naturally expressed its views on his historical role and the nature of the period when he was politically active and suffered hardship.

This breakthrough “trial” of our history and the complicated story of efforts to rehabilitate the general will be discussed at the Václav Havel Library by historian Jaroslav Rokoský, the Syrový family’s lawyer Lubomír Müller and Jan Syrový, a descendant.

Chaired by David Svoboda.

The event will take place within the 16th edition of the Mene Tekel international festival against totalitarianism.

Joint evenings of the Václav Havel Library and the Museum of 20th Century Memory.

The Free Academy #5 / Jiří Horáček: Theory of Consciousness and Contemporary Society

The Free Academy #5 / Jiří Horáček: Theory of Consciousness and Contemporary Society

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

The question of the relationship between consciousness and the brain remains open, representing a major challenge to contemporary neuroscience. Solving it would mean not only understanding how conscious reality is constructed and structured, and what the nature of reality is, but also better understanding the mechanisms by which mental illness develops. On a societal level, the theory of the emergence of conscious reality could contribute to the understanding and solution of negative phenomena such as conspiracy theories.

A lecture by Professor Jiří Horáček, head of the Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology of the 3rd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, and head of the Center for Advanced Studies of the Brain and Consciousness at the National Institute of Mental Health.

Echo from the Library

Echo from the Library

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 25, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

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

Vladimír Dzuro: Demons of the Balkan War

Vladimír Dzuro: Demons of the Balkan War

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 26, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

Vladimír Dzuro was the first, and for a long time only, Czech who investigated war crimes in the Balkans with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He took part in the first arrest of a war criminal since the Nuremberg Trials. He uncovered the story of a massacre on the Ovčara farm at Vukovar. The former Prague detective was active for over nine years in the team tasked with investigating the war crimes of Serbs in the former Yugoslavia. Today he heads the Office for Internal Oversight Services at the UN in New York. His book The Investigator delivers a unique testimony – and was the basis for the graphic novel Démoni balkánské války (Demons of the Balkan War), initiated by Jan Kužník. It attempts to explore the senseless of the conflict itself, the monstrosity of ethnic violence and the danger of fake news in the media to those who have hitherto not been aware of Dzuro’s book.

Guests: Vladimír Dzuro, former investigator with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; Jan Kužník, initiator and co-author of the script of the graphic novel Demons of the Balkan War; Zdeněk Ležák, co-author of the script of the graphic novel Demons of the Balkan War; and Jakub Dušek, illustrator of the graphic novel Demons of the Balkan War.

Moderated by David Šťáhlavský, dramaturge and journalist from Czech Radio’s Journalism Creative Group.

Jáchym Topol will introduce the event.

Olga Havlová – Launch of Charity Calendar by Bohdan Holomíček

Olga Havlová – Launch of Charity Calendar by Bohdan Holomíček

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 31, 2022, 19:00 – 21:00

The lens of now legendary photographer Bohdan Holomíček captures the lives of Olga and Václav Havel in extraordinary moments in everyday life. A charity calendar prepared for the Goodwill Committee – Olga Havlová Foundation for the 90th anniversary of her birth will be launched by Karel Schwarzenberg, Anna Freimanová a Monika Granja. The evening will also include a projection of works by the photographer.

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.

Illustration

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.

Illustration

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.

Illustration

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.

Illustration

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.

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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.

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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)

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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.  

  • 01/10/22 – 31/10/22
  • 14/08/22 – 09/12/22
  • 14/08/22 – 09/12/22
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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.

  • 56433 records in total
  • 15326 of events in the VH's life
  • 2994 of VH's texts
  • 2128 of photos 
  • 384of videos
  • 565of audios
  • 6594of letters
  • 15102of texts about VH
  • 7789 of books
  • 34986of 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
Zpět na začátek

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