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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

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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

Program for April 2024<>

entry-free

Magnesia Litera II

Magnesia Litera II

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: April 3, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

Writers nominated in various categories in the Magnesia Litera book awards will read from their works. Appearing will be Klára Krásenská (DILIA Litera for debut of the year), Alena Machoninová (Luxor Litera for prose), Tereza Matějčková (ČRo Plus Litera for reporting) and Kateřina Přidalová (Litera for children’s and young adult fiction). Pavel Mandys will host the event.

Let’s Get Stuck In!, or Literature and Politics Today

Let’s Get Stuck In!, or Literature and Politics Today

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: April 8, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

The second edition of Josef Chuchma’s discussion quarterly

Magnesia Litera and politics from two points of view. The most famous Czech literary prize will announce this year’s laureates in a few days. What is the politics of this competition, especially in the prose and journalism categories? And how are political themes (and which ones) reflected in the books that made it onto this year’s longlists. These are questions that this discussion of this year’s nominated names and titles would like to, and ought to, raise.

Debate with Respekt

Debate with Respekt

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: April 9, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

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

Magnesia Litera III

Magnesia Litera III

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: April 10, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

Writers nominated in various categories in the Magnesia Litera book awards will read from their works. Appearing will be Zofia Baldyga (Litera for poetry), Eli Beneš (DILIA Litera for debut of the year), Noemi Cupalová (Litera for children’s and young adult fiction) and Veronika Pehe (ČRo Plus Litera for journalism). Pavel Mandys will host the event.

Michal Ajvaz: Passages

Michal Ajvaz: Passages

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: April 11, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

Pasáže (Passages) is the ninth book of prose by Michal Ajvaz. At the same time, it is as if it were not his ninth title, but rather another part of one and the same endless book with an eternally flowing narrative. The launch of the new novel, released by the Druhé město publishing house, will take place in the form of an author’s reading and subsequent discussion about Ajvaz’s literary and philosophical universe. Štěpán Kučera will chair.

Launch N: Czechy: You Couldn’t Make it Up

Launch N: Czechy: You Couldn’t Make it Up

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: April 16, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

Launch of the book Czechy. To nevymyslíš (Czechy: You Couldn’t Make it Up). Polish author Aleksander Kaczorowski shows us our country as we can never perceive it – from the outside, yet in the style of an insider, with immense knowledge of the facts and with love. Deník N editor Petr Koubský and the author of the new release will discuss not only the book but relations between Poles and Czechs and the similarities, and differences, between two close but sometimes dramatically different neighbouring countries.

Magnesia Litera IV

Magnesia Litera IV

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: April 17, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

Writers nominated in various literature categories in the Magnesia Litera book awards will read from their works. Appearing will be Kamil Bouška (Litera for poetry), Tomáš Peřina (DILIA Litera for debut of the year) and Marek Torčík (Luxor Litera for prose). Pavel Mandys will host the event.

Václav Havel, Here and Now in Broumov

Václav Havel, Here and Now in Broumov

  • Where: Broumov
  • When: April 17, 2024, 17:00 – April 19, 2024, 21:00

A Václav Havel Library three-day arts marathon featuring concerts, talks, exhibitions, screenings and workshops.

Tom Stoppard: Plays III

Tom Stoppard: Plays III

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: April 18, 2024, 17:00 – 19:00

Evening dedicated to Tom Stoppard: Hry III (Tom Stoppard: Plays III), a collection of works by the British playwright and screenwriter, who was a contemporary and friend of Václav Havel.

The publication of the third volume completes a long-running Arts and Theatre Institute project to bring out the complete dramatic works of Stoppard. The eight plays, translated by Pavel Dominik, Zuzana Josková and Jitka Sloupová, who is also the editor of the volume, go from the author’s previously unpublished plays from the 1990s right up to his most recent work, Leopoldstadt.

The book will be officially launched, accompanied by a staged reading of a part of Rock'n'Roll, directed by Šimon Dominik.

The evening will be hosted by Kamila Černá and Michal Zahálka.

Radomyr Mokryk: The Birth of Dissent in Ukraine

Radomyr Mokryk: The Birth of Dissent in Ukraine

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: April 22, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

The new book by Ukrainian Historian Radomyr Mokryk, Zrození disentu: šedesátníci a tání na Ukrajině (The Birth of Dissent: The ‘60s Generation and the Thaw in Ukraine), tells the story of a group of Ukrainian writers, poets, literary critics and intellectuals who shaped the cultural opposition to the Soviet regime in Ukraine during Khrushchev’s “thaw”, becoming known as the “’60s generation”. The gradual revelation of the historical crimes of the Soviet government, an understanding of the policy of Russification and opposition to official censorship led this generation to dissent. The book traces the fate of Ukrainian intellectuals and their transformation from relatively loyal Soviet citizens into dissidents. It illuminates the colonial nature of Russian-Ukrainian relations in the period, a fact that ultimately drove the emergence of the Ukrainian dissent.

Ukraine expert Tereza Chláňová and Stanislav Tumis, head of the Institute for Eastern European Studies at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University, will take part in a debate with Radomyr Mokryk.

Sergio Ramírez: On Literature and the Fight Against Dictatorship

Sergio Ramírez: On Literature and the Fight Against Dictatorship

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: April 24, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

Sergio Ramírez is one of the greatest contemporary Nicaraguan writers, as well as being one of the most vocal opponents of the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega. His 2021 novel Tongolele Did Not Know How to Dance, set against the backdrop of the brutal suppression of the largest protests yet against Ortega’s regime, combines both of these strands. Sergio Ramírez will talk about both his literary work and the workings of the Nicaraguan dictatorship, which will be familiar to many who remember the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.

Jáchym Topol will chair the discussion.

Interpretation from Spanish provided.

The Free Academy: Hana Dufková

The Free Academy: Hana Dufková

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: April 25, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

What’s the Deal with Strong Words? On Changes in Language and in Society

Language is one of the important tools for constructing ideologies and a prominent means of manipulation. An easy way to influence society is through the use of key terms that carry strong, culturally and historically conditioned connotations. These connotations, which are often negative, may no longer correspond to the original content of these terms and their use. Fascism, for example, has long been more than a term to describe Italian interwar ideology, a trend that continued after its widespread use during WWII. Analogous shifts in usage may be observed in other words from a similar field of meaning, such as Nazism, Nazi, totalitarian, communism, communist, Bolshevik, neo-Marxist, etc. To view this shift as a mere hollowing out caused by speakers’ ignorance would be linguistically misleading and socially imprudent. In this talk I will try to show that linguistic corpora, huge electronic databases of linguistic expressions, can tell us something important about the rise of fascism and other similar words in contemporary discourse. Backed by genuine linguistic data, I will try to offer an answer to whether, how and why language change can/not be stopped.

VH Library at Bookfest

VH Library at Bookfest

  • Where: Žižkárna, Žižkova 28, České Budějovice
  • When: April 27, 2024, 10:00 – 19:00

After Prague and Pilsen, the Bookfest festival of small publishers is spilling over into České Budějovice for the second time. A stand with books, posters and other essentials from the Václav Havel Library will also be present.

Pavel Hošek: The Gospel According to Bohumil Hrabal

Pavel Hošek: The Gospel According to Bohumil Hrabal

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: April 30, 2024, 19:00 – 21:00

Bohumil Hrabal's work contains many secrets. Some have only recently come to light with the discovery of previously unknown recordings of Hrabal’s talks at the rectory in Libice nad Cidlinou, where he was a regular visitor in the 1980s. Pavel Hošek’s Evangelium podle Bohumila Hrabala (The Gospel According to Bohumil Hrabal) draws on those freshly discovered materials and offers a comprehensive interpretation of the spiritual dimension of the literary work of one of the greatest Czech writers. Pavel Hošek will take part in a discussion with Tomáš Mazal.

Jáchym Topol will introduce the event.

The programme is presented on the 110th anniversary of Hrabal's birth.

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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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.

  • 70541 records in total
  • 27469 of events in the VH's life
  • 2831 of VH's texts
  • 2125 of photos 
  • 403of videos
  • 568of audios
  • 6604of letters
  • 15101of texts about VH
  • 8256 of books
  • 40484of 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.

Illustration

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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Podpořte nás

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.

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 Friends of the Vaclav Havel Library Club. What are the benefits of membership? Find out more.

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.

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.

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.

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