Dear Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Please allow me to express my joy at your current visit in your official capacity to the Czech Republic. I hope your talks in Prague will be enjoyable and productive. I am particularly pleased with your moving gesture to pay homage to Václav Havel, a long time supporter and admirer of yours, at his gravesite today. On a personal note, I will much enjoy the opportunity to renew, albeit briefly, our acquaintance after our meeting during the memorial evening in honour of Václav Havel at Naypyidaw in November 2016.
THE WINNER OF THE 2018 VÁCLAV HAVEL HUMAN RIGHTS PRIZE
Today, on Monday 8 October, 2018, Oyub Titiev was ceremonially announced as laureate of the 2018 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The award is presented by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library and the Charter 77 Foundation. For more information about the Prize visit us here.
The Unbearable Lightness of Evil – registration open!
Dear friends, please allow us to inform you that we have just launched registration for the sixth annual conference in honour of the laureate of the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, which is entitled The Unbearable Lightness of Evil, and the subsequent concert A Tribute to the Brave. You will find more information here.
The selection panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, comprising independent figures from the world of human rights and chaired by the President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Liliane Maury Pasquier, drew up the shortlist of candidatures in Prague today. The shortlisted nominees, in alphabetical order, are:
Have a great summer!
Dear visitors, though our club programme ended over a week ago, we’re still here for you: From Tuesday to Friday you can visit our permanent exhibition Havel in a Nutshell (always from 12:00 to 17:00) and, in the case of prior agreement, also our reading room. At any time you can access our digital archive and YouTube channel, where you will find close to 900 videos from our events… Have a wonderful summer and see you again in September!
Dear friends, we would hereby like to inform you that we take sound and video recordings and photographs of each event we hold, and these recording and photographs may later be posted at www.vaclavhavel-library.org, on social networks (facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube), in our digital archives, annual report and promotional materials published by the Vaclav Havel Library, and that by visiting our event you grant the Vaclav Havel Library your consent to the above. However, you may at any time withdraw your consent to possible recordings of yourself by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (+420) 222 220 112.
Europe at the Crossroads Free of Charge
A collective monograph Europe at the Crossroads: Democracy, Neighbourhoods, Migrations prepared by Jacques Rupnik and Pavel Seifert offers a selection of the key papers presented at the annual conferences of Vaclav Havel European Dialogues in 2014–2016: Gilles Kepel, Ivan Krastev, Camino Mortera Martinez, Luuk van Middelaar, Claus Offe, Petr Pithart, Jiří Přibáň, Mykola Rjabchuk, Jacques Rupnik, Pavel Seifter, Jovan Teokarević, Andrew Wilson and Catherine Withol de Wenden. The book is available as PDF HERE.
The Faces of Resistance
Dear Friends, On February 25, we will introduce you to a new online exhibition entitled The Faces of Resistance, prepared by The Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the photographer Pavel Hroch. The pictures tell a story of people, who for many decades stood against evil, inhumanity, oppression and babarism. These selected personalities are connected by courage, a will to live in freedom and a love of their fellow citizens. More on our website.
The fifth Václav Havel Human Rights Prize – which honours outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights – has been awarded to Turkish supporter of the independence of the judiciary Murat Arslan.
In democratic societies, there exists a fundamental consensus about the importance of human rights and adherence to human rights standards. This consensus, however, begins to falter when specific human rights are found to be in an apparent or genuine conflict with other important human sights, such as security, prosperity or the majority principle in a democracy.
Human rights defenders from Austria, Hungary and Turkey shortlisted
The selection panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, comprising independent figures from the world of human rights and chaired by the Vice-President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Sir Roger Gale, drew up the shortlist of candidatures in Prague today.
The 22nd Václav Havel’s Place to date was unveiled in the grounds of Palacký University in Olomouc on Saturday 17 June. It has been placed in the courtyard of the former Theresian Artillery Armoury, which houses the university’s library, publishing house and archive. In May 1990 the Olomouc university bestowed an honorary philosophy doctorate on Václav Havel’s, becoming the first university in the then Czechoslovakia to honour Václav Havel in that way.
The Václav Havel Library at Book World
As is now traditional, from this morning until Sunday afternoon you will find us not only at Ostrovní 13, but also at Book World, the international trade fair and literary festival which is held at Výstaviště in Prague 7. Alongside a broad selection of familar and tried and tested titles, it will be possible to buy a brand new one: Just Because I Am, a book-length interview conducted with Ivan M. Havel by film historian Jan Lukeš. The ceremonial launch of the book, entitled Just Because I Am Ivan M. Havel, will be attended by both (co)authors and take place at Výstaviště at 15:00 on Saturday.
Nadia Murad (Iraq) a young, brave Yazidi woman, who managed to flee ISIS in northern Iraq. Today a human rights activist, she brings the plight of the Yazidi community, in particular the forced sexual enslavement and human trafficking of women and children captured by ISIS, to the forefront of international attention.
The selection panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, comprising independent figures from the world of human rights and chaired by the President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Pedro Agramunt, drew up the shortlist of candidatures in Prague today.
A Heart for Vaclav Havel
Sculpture by Lukáš Gavlovský and Roman Švejda "Heart for Václav Havel" will be officially presented on May 2nd, 6 pm at Columbia College in Chicago. The screening of the documentary film Life according to Václav Havel by Andrea Sedláčková will be a part of the evening. For more see invite.
Václav Havel: Politics and Conscience
Yesterday evening the exhibition Václav Havel: Politics and Conscience, prepared in connection with what would have been his 80th birthday, was ceremonially launched at the Czech Centre on Prague’s Rytířská St. The exhibition runs until 7 May 2016 and you are cordially invited!
Michael Žantovský: Once upon a time in the West
Thank you for this honor, it means a lot to me, even more for the fact, that I share it tonight with a great friend to our two and to me personally, a great American patriot and one of my heroes, Madeleine Albright.
Friday marks 30th anniversary of awarding of Erasmus Prize to Václav Havel
Exactly 30 years ago – on 22 January 1986 – the Erasmus Prize Foundation announced the decision to award its prestigious annual prize for exceptional contribution to European Culture to Václav Havel. Václav Havel reacted to the news on the day with a brief statement before two months later responding with his Acceptance Speech, which today ranks among his key texts. The prize was received at a gala ceremony at the Rotterdam church St. Laurenskerk on 13 November 1986 on behalf of Václav Havel, who at the time was unable to leave Czechoslovakia for political reasons, by Professor František Janouch. Soon afterwards the Acceptance Speech was voiced by Jan Tříska for the Czech department of Radio Free Europe. (The impaired intelligibility of the recording is not due to the quality of the recording but the jamming devices that then regime employed to make listening to “seditious transmitters from the West” difficult.)
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), in partnership with the Vaclav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation, has issued a call for nominations for the 2016 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, which will be awarded for the fourth consecutive year on 10 October next in Strasbourg. The ceremony will be followed by the conference in honour of the winner on 12 October in Prague.
Havel@80 is the logo, brand and stamp of celebrations of what would have been Václav Havel’s 80th birthday (1936–2011) organised throughout 2016 by the Václav Havel Library, Art for Amnesty-Amnesty International and the Václav Havel Library Foundation and to which you are cordially invited! Find the Havel@80 programme here; if you would like to add your own event, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Today, on Monday 28 September, 2015, Russian human rights defender Lyudmila Alexeyeva was ceremonially announced as laureate of the 2015 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The award is presented by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library and the Charter 77 Foundation.
Dear friends, We would like to inform you that the reading room of the Václav Havel Library will be closed from July 14 until the end of the holidays (31 August 2015).
The Board of Trustees of the Václav Havel Library yesterday took cognisance of the resignation of director Marta Smolíková as of 31 August this year. On 1 September the post of director will be assumed by Michael Žantovský.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has today issued a call for nominations for the 2015 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, which will be awarded for the third consecutive year on 28 September next in Strasbourg.
A week ago, on Thursday 18 December, we marked the third anniversary of the death of Václav Havel with his one-act play Protest as performed by the Divadlo na tahu theatre, an event that also represented the end of “our” 2014. Though it may seem rather soon to be making an evaluation, it was an extraordinarily varied and successful year:
Ceremonial unveiling of bust of Václav Havel in Washington
A few moments ago, Mrs. Dagmar Havlová ceremonially unveiled a bust of Václav Havel in the main building of the Congress of the United States in Washington, D.C. The ceremony was part of "Celebration of Freedom. 25 Years of Democracy - A Salute to Václav Havel".
The Václav Library and six other institutions have come together to organize celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in the USA; these events reach a climax with the unveiling of a bust of Václav Library at the US Congress on 19 November 2014.
New venue doubles capacity for Václav Havel Library events
The brand new Radio Prague interview with the Václav Havel Library programme coordinator, Ms. Veronika Brázdilová, could be found here.
Today, Azerbaijani human rights defender Anar Mammadli was ceremonially announced as laureate of the 2014 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The award is presented by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library and the Charter 77 Foundation.
New season in new premises: Ostrovní 13
From September the Václav Havel Library is operating at a new address. It took advantage of the opportunity to move its activities to Ostrovní 13 in Prague 1, to a building formerly used by the Czech Post.
The new programme season will today with the evening of historian David Svoboda about Carpathian Ruthenia and the Czech-Ukrainian Conflict.
You can find all the September programme here. We are looking forward to see you in our new premises.
Three nominees for the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2014 were shortlisted at today´s meeting of the Prize selection pannel members in Prague. The finalists are (in alphabetical order): B'Tselem Israeli Information Center for Human Rights (Israel), Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta) and Anar Mammadli (Azerbaijan).
From September the Václav Havel Library is operating at a new address. It took advantage of the opportunity to move its activities to Ostrovní 13 in Prague 1, to a building formerly used by the Czech Post. Until the end of June this year, the VHL held events for the public at Galerie Montmartre on Řetězová St. in Prague’s Old Town, which also housed the exhibition Václav Havel – Czech Myth, or Havel in a Nutshell. The Library’s operated its offices, archive and public reading room on Kateřinská St. in the New Town. The move “under one roof” took place during August and a new permanent exhibition will be accessible from October.
Paul Wilson, translator, editor, writer and former member of the rock band Plastic People of the Universe was a highly entertaining speaker at the BCSA meeting on May 22nd at the Czech Embassy.
Interview from the Václav Havel Library: Alexandr Vondra and David Vaughan
After the first evening of Talks in English, the moderator David Vaughan created an interview with Alexandr Vondra from 9 April 2014, you can find it here. On 15 May 2014 at 19.00, we will welcome the second guest of Talks in English, Paul Wilson, Václav Havel's close friend and translator into English.
Václav Havel gets his “place” in Prague
As of today, Prague has a memorial site dedicated to the president and playwright Václav Havel. The unconventional memorial takes the form of two chairs and a table with a tree growing through it. It is located close to Kampa park, on Maltese Square, and has been created at the instigation of the City of Prague and the Václav Havel Library. The ceremonial unveiling of Prague’s Havel’s Place will be attended by relatives, friends and colleagues of the country’s first post-communist president.
27 March - World Theatre Day
World Theatre Day was established in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI). All of the ITI’s national centres, along with the entire international theatre community, celebrate this day annually on 27 March, with various national and international theatre events being organised to mark the occasion. One of the most important is the World Theatre Day International Message, the author of which is a world renowned theatre figure selected every year by the ITI. This year it has been written by the South African playwright Brett Bailey. In 1994 it was penned by Václav Havel.
Václav Havel European Dialogues accessible online
The inaugural, Prague conference of the Václav Havel European Dialogues project, entitled “The Citizen, Power and Democracy in Europe’s Crisis”, can be watched online on the station ČT24. A recording of the conference will subsequently be accessible in Czech Television’s archive via its iVysílání player.
The American actress and diplomat Shirley Temple Black has died at the age of 85. She served as ambassador to Czechoslovakia in the years 1989–1993, living through the fall of the Communist regime, the Velvet Revolution and the initial years of the presidency of Václav Havel, a period characterised by a growth in trust between post-Communist Czechoslovakia and the United States and the establishment of important contacts.
In their meeting on Feb. 10, the European Union foreign ministers are expected to approve the E.U. position for negotiations with Cuba about a new agreement between the two parties.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has today issued a call for nominations for the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, which will be awarded for the second consecutive year on 29 September next in Strasbourg.
At noon on Tuesday 10 December 2013 a Havel's Place was unveiled at St. Patrick's Park, Dublin. The city's Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn and former Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg participated in the ceremony, which was also attended by Václav Havel Library representatives Marta Smolíková and Jan Macháček.
Václav Havel’s Anticodes set for US performances
The production “Václav Havel: Anticodes” by the Czech National Theatre’s Magika Laterna ensemble, whose gestation the Václav Havel Library was involved in, has set off on a tour of the United States. The first show will take place on Friday 6 December at the Davis Performing Arts Center in Washington. On Tuesday 10.12 Havel’s typographical poetry will be brought to life at the Carnival Studio Theater - Adrienne Arsht Center, on the occasion of the foundation of the Václav Havel Initiative for Human Rights and Diplomacy at the Florida International University in Miami. And Friday 13 December will see a reprise of Anticodes at the Bohemian National Hall in New York.
Once upon a time there was a young man who was in prison in the cell. As he was still there for one decade he started to think that everyone has forgotten him. One day he got news that some country in Europe has given him an award and that was the Homo Homini Award. It was a twinkle in the darkness for him.
On Wednesday 2 October 2013, a memorial to Václav Havel was unveiled on the campus of Georgetown University in Washington. Václav Havel’s Place is dominated by a piece by Bořek Šípek – consisting of a pair of seats between which a tree is growing – that symbolises, according to the artist, the openness to dialogue that was one of Václav Havel’s characteristic features. The ceremonial unveiling was also attended by Dagmar Havlová, Madeleine Albright and Suzanne Vega.
Ales Bialiatski - The Prizewinner Václav Havel Human Rights Prize
At 12:30 today CET, Jean-Claude Mignon announced at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg that Ales Bialiatski had been named the historic first laureate of the Václav Havel Award for Human Rights.
Strasbourg, 26.09.2013 – The first ever Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize – which honours outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights – is to be awarded at a special ceremony on the opening day of the autumn plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Monday 30th September 2013.
Visit of Aldis Cilinskis in video and photos
On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops, Aldis Cilinkis, who had, operating entirely on his own, protested against the events of August 1968 by writing protest slogans in public places, visited the Václav Havel Library. Photographs; video recording.
Following the death of the Irish poet, author and playwright Seamus Heaney (13.4.939–30.8.2013), we present the encomium he delivered during the presentation of Art for Amnesty’s 2003 Ambassador of Conscience Award to Václav Havel in Dublin.
VHL archive website updated
We have updated the VHL’s archive website, improving the user’s experience of browsing Václav Havel’s works, films, audio materials and photographs. Texts by the author can now be downloaded in the PDF, Word and HTML formats, while searches should be faster and more accurate.
On Monday 26 August 2018 the selection committee of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize held a meeting at the Václav Havel Library; its members considered 27 nominees that had met the criteria for the award and chose three finalists: Ales Bialiatski (Belarus), the Georgia Young Lawyers’ Association (Georgia) and Rights Defence Network (China).
Eliot Cohen, in his review of William J. Dobson’s The Dictator’s Learning Curve, asks a pressing question: How should the United States develop and implement a freedom agenda that is practical and effective, and that does not involve a calamitous sacrifice of other interests? With authoritarians often using means of oppression such as shutting down local NGOs or kicking out US-based organizations, how should the democracy promotion community and supporters of liberty adapt to this new reality? To help launch Freedom Square, we posed the above questions to two prominent advocates for liberty. We hope you appreciate their answers as much as we do.
In November 2004, a book of the dispatches was sent from the American Embassy in Prague to the American diplomatic headquarters from the revolutionary days of 1989 was published under the name of “Prague – Washington – Prague”. Prof. Vilém Prečan prepared the Czech-English version for publishing from unique archive materials which the American State Department released for this purpose.
Václav Havel Prize for Human Rights - Last Call for Nominations
On Monday September 30, 2013 the first Václav Havel Prize for Human Rights will be announced in the French city of Strasbourg. The award, which is presented by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library and the Charter 77 Foundation, can be won by either an individual or a non-governmental organisation or other institution striving to support human rights. Nominations for the Václav Havel Prize, whose winner receives a reward of EUR 60,000 as well as a diploma and plaque, can only be sent in until the end of this month, i.e., until 30 June, 2013.
Filip Topol, the leader of a Czech underground band that helped define the sound of the anti-communist revolution, has died.
Paul Wilson receives Jiří Theiner Award
As part of this year’s Book World festival, the journalist and translator Paul Wilson was presented this afternoon with the Jiří Theiner Award, named after the long-term editor-in-chief of the magazine Index on Censorship. The prize, which is bestowed on living persons or active institutions operating abroad whose actions or long-term efforts have significantly contributed to promoting Czech literature beyond the country’s borders, comes with a financial award of £1,000. Paul Wilson was nominated for the prize by the Václav Havel Library.
Václav Havel International Human Rights Award announced
Earlier today, in the presence of First Deputy Prime Minister and Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg, an agreement was signed at the Černín Palace between the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, the Václav Havel Library and the Charter 77 Foundation establishing the Václav Havel International Human Rights Award. The agreement was signed by the chairman of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, Jean-Claude Mignon, Marta Smolíková of the Václav Havel Library and Prof. František Janouch of the Charter 77 Foundation.
Yoanni Sánchez visits Václav Havel Library
The Cuban blogger Yoanni Sánchez, the recipient of a number of international awards for her civic activities and writings about contemporary life in Cuba, visited the Václav Havel Library this afternoon. Her blog, which is hosted abroad due to a long-term ban in Cuba, can be read in English here.
Václav Havel receives Eugen Kogon Prize
The Eugen Kogon Prize, named after the great German journalist, was presented in memoriam to Václav Havel in Königstein, Hesse on 22 February 2013. An encomium was delivered by the former German minister of foreign affairs Hans-Dietrich Genscher.
Václav Havel 1993 - 2003
Saturday, 2 February 2013, marked the 20th anniversary of Vaclav Havel's ascent to presidency as the first leader of Czech Republic, as well as 10 years since his departure from the castle. More information about this stage of Vaclav Havel's life can be found here.
Evening in honour of Václav Havel to take place in Miami
An evening in honour of Václav Havel will take place at the de la Cruz Contemporary Art Space in Miami, Florida on Friday 8 February 2013. You will find more information here. The event is being organised by Florida International University in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library Foundation.
Punk Library Montmartre
Last Thursday, 24 January 2013, the first in the series of CZECHO MECHO events was held in Bratislava's Dunaj Cultural Center, organized by the Czech Center in Bratislava in cooperation with OZ literarnyklub.sk. During the event, Jáchym Topol not only introduced Václav Havel Library with its cultural program and books, but also read texts by Magor Jirous and Václav Havel. The evening culminated with a concert performed by Psi Vojaci (Dog Soldiers). An interview with Jáchym Topol about the Václav Havel Library for the Slovak Daily SME, titled "Punk Library Montmartre," can be read here.
One Billion Rising!
Dear friends, we would like to inform you of a symbolic rising taking place on 14 February 2013 on the steps of the National Museum in Prague: a public rejection of violence against women and girls.
The organizers are connecting themselves to the global movement, "One Billion Rising," which invites one billion women and all those who respect them into the streets to dance, stand up, and demand an end to violence against women. More information is available at: https://www.facebook.com/OneBillionRisingPrague?ref=ts&fref=ts
Exactly eighty years ago today, Barrandov Studios began preparing its first film: "Murder on Ostrovní Street," directed by Svatopluk Immerman... Barrandov Film Studios, which over time became synonymous with Czech Cinema, was built by the uncle of former president Václav Havel, Miloš Havel. In February, it will be 45 years since his death.
Václav Havel on Karel Schwarzenberg
"Ladies and gentlemen, I have just one announcement, namely that I will support Karel Schwarzenberg. I'm convinced that Karel Schwarzenberg is a patriot, an unpretentious one, unsentimental, who does not have one thousand speeches about national interests, but that does something for our community. We had really tense situations, risky ones, and Karel was always ready to fight for a good cause."
(Vaclav Havel: Support Karel Schwarzenberg in Senate elections, 7 October, 2004)
Jáchym Topol in Bratislava this Thursday!
On Thursday, 24 January, Jáchym Topol of Václav Havel Library will read excerpts of texts by Ivan M. Jirous and Václav Havel in the Bratislava Dunaj Cultural Center as part of the "Czechoslovak Culture" project called CZECHO MECHO. There will also be a concert by Psi Vojaci (Dog Soldiers) in their original line-up.
A heart for Václav Havel
Yesterday evening at the main building of the European Parliament in Brussels, a neon heart that accompanied Václav Havel’s departure in 2002 from the post of Czech president was turned on once again; now Europe is using the light installation to mark the first anniversary of Mr. Havel’s death.
Václav Havel 1936-2011
Non-traditional photos recalling Václav Havel’s life and work can be found here.
Václav Havel Plaque
On Monday 17 December 2012 at 15:00, on the Walk of Freedom at the memorial to Woodrow Wilson in Prague, a plaque to Václav Havel will be ceremonially unveiled. This tribute from the American-Czech and American-Slovak communities is organised by the American Friends of the Czech Republic.
Requiem for Václav Havel
Dear friends, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the death of Václav Havel, we would like to invite you to an ecumenical Requiem for Václav Havel, which will take place on Tuesday 18 December at 18:00 at the Church of Our Lady before Týn in Prague’s Old Town.
Tribute tapestry unveiled at Václav Havel Airport
A tapestry in honour of the last Czechoslovak and first Czech president was unveiled at Terminal 2 at the Václav Havel Airport today. The tapestry, which measures 5 by 4.25 metres, was based on a piece of artwork by the illustrator Petr Sís that was one of the most compelling interpretations of the departure of Václav Havel in December last year.
Neon heart for Václav Havel to shine again – in Brussels
On Monday 17 December 2012, a neon heart by artist Jiří David, which at the close of 2002 shone from a tower at the Prague Castle, will be seen once again – on the main façade of the European Parliament in Brussels. A decade ago, the heart - referencing the one drawn frequently drawn by Václav Havel beneath his signature - symbolised his departure from high politics. This time it will mark the first anniversary of his death.
Jáchym Topol receives English PEN award
On Monday 26 November 2012, Jáchym Topol, novelist and programme director of the Václav Havel Library, became one of six recipients of the English PEN Awards for Writing in Translation 2013 for his novel, The Devil’s Workshop. Congratulations, Jáchym!
Brussels´s evening with Bohdan Holomíček and Jan Macháček (20. 11. 2012)
Pictures from Tuesday’s opening of an exhibition of photographs by Bohdan Holomíček from the archive of the Václav Havel Library, as well as the subsequent debate with Jan Macháček at the Prague House in Brussels, can be viewed here.
On Monday, the Václav Havel Library (VHL) received a gift from the company IBM: a computer that Václav Havel used at the end of the 1980s. When Mr. Havel became president, IBM furnished him with a new computer and put the old one in storage; thanks to the care of Jan Dohnal, a former director of IBM Czech Republic, the computer has been preserved to this day. The IBM XT 5160 personal computer from 1982, which today is a collector’s item from the historical point of view, has become part of the collection of the Documentation Centre of the VHL and will be used for exhibition purposes.
Virtual exhibitions now available on VHL website
In the section dedicated to exhibitions held at the permanent exhibition of the Václav Havel Library at Galerie Montmarte, it is now possible to virtually visit a trio of exhibitions that have already taken place: We Had the Underground But Now We Have SFA, which introduces Václav Havel as the subject of poetry from the Czech underground in the 1970s and 1980s; I Just Can’t Live Any Other Way, mapping the trial of members of the VONS (Committee for the Unjustly Prosecuted) in 1979; and Plato on Kampa – LOTR at Hrádeček, dedicated to the intellectual society Kampademia, which operated outside official university structures in the 1970s and 1980s in particular.
Václav Havel and Council of Europe
A lecture that Martin Palouš, director of the Václav Havel Library’s international program, delivered on the occasion of the unveiling of a bust of Václav Havel at the Council of Europe on 2 October, 2012 is available to read here.
VHL’s Palouš attends meeting with German president
The German president, Joachim Gauck, dedicated the close of yesterday’s official visit to a meeting with six representatives of the Czech public, dissidents and activists; Martin Palouš, the director of the Václav Havel Library’s international program, took part in the gathering on the institution’s behalf.
Two more busts of Václav Havel unveiled
Following the ceremonial unveiling of a bust of Václav Havel at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on Tuesday 2 October, two more such busts have gone up. The first has adorned Václav Havel Park in the town of Litoměřice since 5 October, while the second has dominated the entrance hall of the Town Hall in the district of Křimice in Plzeň since 8 October.
Václav Havel Library on Facebook
Dear friends, we are pleased to announce that we have just launched the English version of our Facebook profile, via which we will provide you with lots of original texts and information. We hope you like it.
The 12th edition of the Václav Havel Library Notebooks is a just published selection from the Intellectual Diaries of one of the most important Czech philosophers of the second half of the 20th century – Ladislav Hejdánek.
We are pleased to announce that on Friday 14 September Václav Havel o divadle (Václav Havel on Theatre), the fifth volume on the Edice Knihovny Václava Havla (Václav Havel Library Editions) imprint, was published.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is speaking Thursday at Florida International University on Vaclav Havel’s legacy of freedom. Havel led Czechs in opposing communism and was elected president in the country’s first free elections. He died last winter, but is remembered as Central Europe’s conscience of our times. His personal courage essay, The Power of the Powerless, provides hope to men and women fighting despotism everywhere.
Yesterday, the director of the Václav Havel Library, Marta Smolíková, welcomed a group of foreign guests from the Rising Stars programme from Belarus, Bolivia, Burma, Honduras, Nicaragua, Russia, Sudan, and Syria. The programme supports democracy around the world and helps representatives of the forces of democracy to promote change in their countries.
New season of VHL's club programme underway!
Photographs from Monday's ceremonial launch of the new season of the Václav Havel Library club programme, which was linked to the opening of an exhibition of paintings by Veronika Holcová and a reading by poet Petr Borkovec, can be viewed here.
Václav Havel's "Protest" gets South African premiere
With support from the Embassy of the Czech Republic, the Václav Havel Library, and the Department of Arts and Culture of South Africa, the South African premiere of Václav Havel's play "Protest" will take place on Thursday 13 September 2012 at the Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria.
VHL’s Jáchym Topol attracts interest at Trutnov rock festival
Dozens of people attended a talk given by the Václav Havel Library’s program supervisor, Jáchym Topol, at the Trutnov Open Air Festival, an event closely associated with the late president. Mr. Topol spoke about Václav Havel, the necessity of resisting despotism, and the activities of the VHL.
Václav Havel Library receives documents relating to visit to Kafka’s Siřem
On 14 August, PhDr. Bohumír Roedl, director of the State District Archive in Louny, presented the Václav Havel Library with documents pertaining to the late president’s visits to Žatec, Louny, Liběšovice, and Siřem on 17 September 1997. The working meeting took place in Siřem, where in the 1960s Václav Havel and Miloš Forman had mapped Franz Kafka’s stay there with a view to make a movie (the project was never realised).
VHL’s Documentation Centre launches new website
We are pleased to inform you that a few hours ago the Documentation Centre of the Václav Havel Library launched a new website. The new site is clearer and more user-friendly than its predecessor. We hope you enjoy using it.
Artwork set for Václav Havel Airport
Along with its name change to Václav Havel Airport on 5 October 2012, Prague Airport will also see the unveiling of a newly created artwork. The designer and architect Bořek Šípek, who worked with Mr. Havel during his time at the Prague Castle, is currently making an installation, an oval-shaped space, which will be located in the airport’s “Schengen” arrivals hall. The installation will acquaint travellers with the ideas of the country’s first post-revolution president.
We are pleased to announce the release today of the DVD, “A Tribute to Václav Havel,” which features highlights from an exceptional concert that took place at Prague’s Lucerna Palace on 23 December 2011.
Oswaldo Payá dies tragically
One of the most important opponents of the Cuban regime and the chairman of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, has been killed in a car accident at the age of 60. In 2002, Oswaldo Payá was one of the founders of the Varela project, a petition calling for legislative changes in Cuba that was signed by tens of thousands of Cubans. Václav Havel knew Oswaldo Payá personally and twice nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Vaclav Havel Library and PP Production Company have released a DVD with edited footage of a concert in honor of Vaclav Havel. This concert took place last December 23 during the official state mourning for the recently deceased former president.
The renowned British playwright Tom Stoppard celebrated his 75th birthday on 3 July. Born as Tomáš Straussler into a Jewish family in the Czech town of Zlín, he left for Singapore with his parents in 1939. His father, who was a doctor, died during the war, and he acquired the name Stoppard from his stepfather, with whom the family moved to the U.K.
Summer at the Václav Havel Library
Allow us to draw your attention to the summer club programme of the Václav Havel Library at Galerie Montmartre. We look forward to seeing you there!
Allow us to draw your attention to a series of 2007 portrait photographs of Václav Havel taken for the publication, “Wisdom: Life,” which was put together by Andrew Zuckerman.
Aung San Suu Kyi on Václav Havel
In connection with Aung San Suu Kyi's ongoing visit to Europe, please allow us to draw your attention to a video greeting that the Burmese democracy leader sent to the Václav Havel Library on 6 January 2012, on the occasion of a ceremonial evening at Archa Theatre dedicated to the legacy of Charter 77.
Havel “protest” tartan unveiled
An especially created Václav Havel tartan has been presented on the website http://liberationkilt.co/ as part of the project Dress to Protest. Its design – combining black, white, and red bands – symbolises opposition to the persecution and imprisonment of writers.
The organisers of the Trutnov Open Air festival have announced the name of another exclusive guest – the Welsh musician and founding member of the Velvet Underground, JOHN CALE.
Among the accompanying events at the 54th Smetana’s Litomyšl International Opera Festival will be tributes to the memory of Václav Havel.
The Prague airport at Ruzyne to be renamed after the late president Vaclav Havel will be called in English, "Vaclav Havel Airport Prague."
The original English version of the name Prague Airport - Vaclav Havel - was criticised by experts over the word order.
The airport will be renamed at a ceremony on October 5, when Havel would have marked his 76th birthday.
Václav Havel in the eyes of ČTK
An exhibition of photographs of Václav Havel is set to run at Prague's Old Town Hall from 15 June to 6 July 2012. The collection, taken by photographers from ČTK (the Czech News Agency) between 1988 and 2012, captures Czechoslovakia's last and the Czech Republic's first president in unusual, even unstatesman-like, situations.
Dear friends, in the name of the Václav Havel Library please allow us to inform you about the conference “Federalism and Europe”, which takes place on Tuesday 19 June from 9:15 at New York University Prague, Richtrův dům, Malé náměstí 11, Prague 1.
An international conference in honour of the memory of Václav Havel was held in Budapest yesterday. In an address to delegates, the former president of Hungary, Árpád Göncz, under whose auspices the event took place, said it was “important and fitting” to remember Havel and to introduce him to young people as an example.
Several professors and a member of the supervisory board of the Václav Havel Library, Mrs. Táňa Fischerová, have signed a declaration that they have called Charter 2012.
The unusual story of the villa where Václav Havel shot “Leaving”
Dear friends, allow us to draw your attention to a book dedicated to the history and present of the Villa Čerych in Česká Skalice, the final chapter of which offers a peek behind the scenes of the film “Leaving,” which Václav Havel shot there.
I cannot adopt an equivocal view of the jury’s decision.
When I consider from a historian’s perspective the previous winners of the Tom Stoppard Prize, I find among them (with extremely few exceptions) figures that I respect highly – from the first winners Eva Kantůrková and Ivan Martina Jirous, to last year’s recipient Věru Linhartová. I consider many of them to be friends, examples and teachers. From this angle, it can be enjoyed.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen,
It has already been stated, but in view of the context, I would like to emphasise again that even though this year’s Tom Stoppard Prize has been awarded for the book “Václav Havel: A spiritual portrait within the framework of Czech culture”, the person we wish to honour is not Václav Havel but the author Martin C. Putna alone. And he is not just receiving this prize for the book referred to – we would like to highlight all of Putna’s work in recent years.
Martin C. Putna has received the 2011 Tom Stoppard Prize for his book “Václav Havel: A spiritual portrait within the framework of Czech culture.” We congratulate him!
The director of the Václav Havel Library, Martin Palouš, presented former U.S. president George W. Bush with texts written by the late Czech president Václav Havel on May 15. The documents will become part of the Freedom Collection archive, which is dedicated to those who played a role in the fight for liberty around the world.
VHL head attends Celebration of Human Freedom in Washington
Among those attending today’s ceremonial meeting at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Washington is the director of the Václav Havel Library, Martin Palouš. His programme includes a personal meeting with the Bushes, with whom he will discuss possible forms of cooperation between the two presidential libraries.
Please allow us to invite you to the first online exhibition of photographs by Jiří Havrda and Michala Hrubá from contemporary Havana, which the Václav Havel Library is running in conjunction with the organisation People in Need.
The Belarusian newspaper Brestskij kurjer carried out an article at the very beginning of May entitled “Prague Spring: Poets from Brest and Minsk’s five days in Europe’s most beautiful city.” In the piece, its author, the poet Vladimir Glazov, returns to that visit to Prague – and above all to the Václav Havel Library.
First Václav Havel Library Film Marathon starts tomorrow!
Dear friends, please allow us to remind you that the historic, first ever Václav Havel Library Film Marathon – which will include a screening of the legendary picture "Postava k podpírání" ("Joseph Killian") – gets underway tomorrow at 18:00. More information can be found here. We look forward to seeing you!
Charter competition results announced at VHL
In connection with the 35th anniversary of the launch of Charter 77, the website moderni-dejiny.cz organized a literary competition on the theme "Would you have signed Charter 77? Why, or why not?" A ČT24 report on the ceremonial announcement of the results, which took place on Thursday 10 May at the permanent exhibition of the Václav Havel Library, can be watched here.
On Tuesday 8 May, an international seminar will be held at New York University entitled "Ensuring Vaclav Havel’s Legacy." The morning panel will be presented by Madeleine Albright, a former US Secretary of State, and Michael Žantovský, the Czech Ambassador to the UK.
Celebrate Vaclav Havel’s Legacy in New York
An evening programme entitled Celebrate Havel and his legacy at the Vaclav Havel Library will be held at Lincoln Centre in New York on Monday 7 May.
Martin Palouš on Radio Prague
We would like to draw your attention to an interesting interview that the director of the Václav Havel Library, Martin Palouš, gave to Radio Prague (the international service of Czech Radio) on the subject of the library and much more besides.
Michael Žantovský on Václav Havel
Michael Žantovský, a former close associate of Václav Havel and the current Czech ambassador to the UK, has been working on a biography of the late leader. “I will try to write a standard biography of the president, i.e. a book from an insider’s perspective that is still unbiased. It certainly shouldn’t be about my relationship with Havel,” Žantovský told the newspaper Hospodářské noviny. The book should be published first in English in 2014, on the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.
In Memoriam: Dagmar Hochová
A true artist should be said goodbye to with his own work. We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to part of the Václav Havel Library’s digital archive to see Dagmar Hochová’s documentary photographs.
Václav Havel in 1987
Wim Lamboo, a Dutch photographer, and Rik van Boeckelem, a Dutch journalist, visited Prague in 1987. The purpose of their visit was to record interviews and take portraits of Czech artists representing culture in the former Czechoslovakia at the end of the 1980s. It was then that this very little known photograph of Václav Havel was taken in the house of painter Jiří Sopek. We consider it to be exceptional and would like to draw your attention to the photograph.
Ferdinand Vanek in Space
A team of scientists from the Klet Observatory near České Budějovice discovered a new planet in October 2004. Their original intention to name it after Václav Havel was thwarted as the rules of the International Astronomical Union preclude naming planets after politicians earlier than 100 years after their death. The experts from the observatory therefore decided to name the asteroid after the most popular character from Havel’s play “Audience,” Ferdinand Vaňek.
The Power of the Heroic Imagination of Václav Havel in New York
Columbia University in New York is holding an exhibition of photographs by Karel Cudlín, Oldřich Škácha, and Alan Pajer, entitled “Václav Havel – The Power of the Heroic Imagination,” until 19 April. The quotes which introduce each photograph have been taken from what was probably Havel’s most popular essay, 1978’s “The Power of the Powerless”.
The exhibition is being held by Columbia University in collaboration with Prague’s DOX Centre for Contemporary Art.
In Memoriam: Oldřich Černý
We were extremely saddened to hear that Oldřich Černý, a former associate of Václav Havel and the executive director of the Forum 2000 Foundation, has died after a serious illness. The Václav Havel Library wishes to express our deepest condolences to his family and will present a public tribute to Oldřich Černý soon.
Václav Havel in the Freedom Collection
The George W. Bush Institute has made an archive of documents and video interviews with personalities who fought for freedom in the 20th century available. The archive collection, entitled the Freedom Collection, includes an interview with the former Czech President Václav Havel, recorded less than a year before his death. The Institute will offer their collection of interviews online and at their headquarters at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.
The Vaclav Havel Library wishes its fans and friends all the best in 2012. We are looking forward to meeting you at some of our events in January.
Vaclav Havel 1936-2011
A collection of well-known and lesser-known photographs of Václav Havel from the Library Archive can be viewed here.
Spiritual portrait of Vaclav Havel on the Twelfth Night
The second edition of Martin C. Putna's sold-out monograph, Václav Havel. Spiritual Portrait Within the Framework Of the Czech Culture of the 20th Century (Václav Havel. Duchovní portrét rámu české kultury 20. století) will reach bookstores on January 6, 2012. However, you can order the book at a reduced price – 280 CZK – from us today at: email@example.com.
Following in Vaclav Havel's footsteps
What we have long feared has come to pass. On the fourth Advent Sunday of 2011, Václav Havel has left us forever, and his life story has come to a close. We experience sadness from this loss and we are with his loved ones in spirit. At the same time, we recognize the importance of the task that we face as an institution whose mission is to preserve his work for future generations, and which does not want to be a mere store for all Havel-related documents, but also a lively meeting place for all those who have been or in future will be affected by his thoughts and actions, who will share his obsessive sense of responsibility for the world, who will be motivated in their actions not just by private interests but by the public benefit and the need for mutual understanding, who will have solidarity with the oppressed, and be ready to defend human rights. Václav Havel's death has hit us at a time of culminating preparations for the Christmas holidays, when Christians around the world commemorate the birth of the Son of God – the good news that present darkness hides the possibility of a new beginning, that in the midst of the chaos and uncertainties of the world, a source of human hope also arises. When in the coming days we say our goodbyes to him, not only will we have tears in our eyes, but we will remember him at the end of his film "Leaving," once again uttering that famous statement that was later so often misinterpreted and caricatured: It is "truth and love" that "must win over lies and hatred." Martin Palouš, Director of the Václav Havel Library
Best student essays
On Thursday, December 22, the winners of VHL Best Student Essay Competition will receive their prizes at Prague’s Montmartre Gallery. The theme of the third year of the competition was: Freedom of speech and modern communication technologies – two sides of the same coin? Admission is free. Looking forward to seeing you!
Omar Rodriguez Saludez in MeetFactory
You are cordially invited to the meting with Omar Rodriguez Saludez, a dissident and independent journalist from Cuba, which will take place already this Thursday at 18:00 in MeetFactory. The evening called "Ruling only oneself" will also include the projection of Petr Jančárek's documentary film from 2001, "Voices from the island of freedom" and the exhibition of Pavel Hroch's photographs.
VH's letters to Alfréd Radok
The Digital Archive was enriched with sixteen letters written by Václav Havel to Alfréd Radok. The letters were mostly written in the period after 1968 when Alfréd Radok lived (untill his death) in exile in Sweden. The list of all letters is available here. One of Alfréd Radok's letters to Václav Havel was also preserved - available here. You can read these letters after previous arrangement with us, best via e-mail.
An Evening of Solidarity in Archa Theatre
Dear friends, accept our invitation to the evening program of the international Symposium which will take place in the premises of Archa Theatre on Friday, 9th December 2011. The Evening of Solidarity (19:00 - 22:00) will be opened with a panel discussion where, among others, also political prisoners from Cuba and Myanmar will participate. The performance of the legendary band, The Plastic People of the Universe, will follow. The very end of the evening will be devoted to the open debate and a symbolic refreshment.
Due to the limited capacity of the Hall, we hereby ask you to reserve your seat through email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking forward to see you there!
A kind word is like bread
Visitors to the permanent exposition of Václav Havel Library have the uniqe opportunity to see Lukáš Houdek's photographic exposition, "Lachho lar sar maro" (A kind word is like bread), which depicts the faces of contemporary Romany authors and authoresses, till the middle of January.
Letters from Olga at a special price!
You can buy the new publication of the Library either via email sent to email@example.com or when visiting our exhibition Havel in a Nutshell (Řetězová street 7, Prague 1 - Tue-Sun 12.00-18.00). In both cases you will get the book at a discounted price (319 CZK).
My dear stupid...
In his post published on lidovky.cz portal on the last day of November, Jiří Peňás very vividly describes the atmosphere of the evening of author's reading, Na vakerav me - miro jilo vakerel (Not me, but my heart is speaking), which was held on Thursday, 24th November 2011. You can read the entire Czech text here.
VHL Notebook No. 4/2010: Daniel Kroupa - History of Kampademie
Here is the first comprehensive summary of the history of the intellectual fellowship of Kampademie – the renewed platonic academy at Kampa - whose members were, among others, Zdeněk Neubauer, Radim Palouš, Pavel Bratinka, Daniel Kroupa, and also Václav Havel. The publication also includes contemporary photographs from Hrádeček and a transcript of one of the recorded kampademic discussions.
The association of CUFA history students in cooperation with Václav Havel Library invite you to the lecture of the director of CUFA Department of Political Science, PhDr. Radek Buben, on the theme of Totalitarianisms and Authoritarianisms (or "an intelligent non-politologist's companion into the world of strange concepts").
The Václav Havel Library, Office of Václav Havel and Association Civic Belarus invite you to Belarus Day on 8th December 2008 in Prague’s Montmartre Gallery (Řetězová 7). Belarus Day starts at 3 p.m. with a panel discussion: “Theatre in lack of freedom,” during which Belarusian and Czech theatre in dissent will be discussed - both their similarities and differences.
Spirituality of Václav Havel, the new study of Martin C. Putna, searches for the sources of Havel’s philosophical texts - which almost no one has yet noticed.
Václav Havel reads Temptation
We obtained the famous recording of Václav Havel reading his play, Temptation. It is available in the Digital Archive - here.
Symposium website is on!
We opened a section devoted to the international symposium The Epoch-making Power of Freedom of Speech which will be held on Friday, 9th December 2011 in the premises of Archa Theatre. We will update the information about the Symposium program here; you will learn more about individual participants and later will also be able to read the annotations of contributions to the discussion.
Memories of Ivan Martin Jirous in New York
Within the Czechoslovak Samizdat and its Legacy symposium organized by the Czech Center NY in collaboration with New York University Prague, one of the discussion panels will newly be devoted to the personality and creation of Ivan Martin Jirous. Martin Palouš and Jáchym Topol will represent the Václav Havel Library there.
White Lily 2011
Today at 2 p.m. in the premises of Gallery of Photography Louvre, the former President of the Czech Republic, Mr. Václav Havel, presented the White Lily (Bílá lilie) anti-corruption award to Mr. Oldřich Kužílek for his efforts to combat corruption in public life and promote greater openness. You will find the photographs from the festive afternoon here.
We invite you to the literary evening organized for the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Anna Pammrová’s birthday - Anna Pammrová, her life, work and friendship with Otokar Březina.
Martin Palouš in the Tea Room
Čajovna (Tea Room) radio broadcasting program, scheduled by ČRo 3 - Vltava on 17th November 2011, will feature Mr. Martin Palouš, the present director of Václav Havel Library. You will find a brief summary of the program here.
Mountain Hotel between Cakes and Puppets
The premiere of Václav Havel's one-act play, Mountain Hotel, performed by the Buchty a loutky (Cakes and Puppets) theatre, was extremely successful. The crowded hall of the permanent exhibition of the Library in the Montmatre Gallery watched the intertwining fates of hotel guests and staff breathlessly. The audience was alternately favouring this or that character, gushing about the beauty of Náměšť nad Oslavou, disappearing with a local train blinking into the darkness of a tunnel... You don’t believe it? Photos taken by Ondřej Němec will certainly convince you...
Discount on the Writings
In connection with the publication of the work of Václav Havel in our archive, we are lowering the price of Havel’s seven-volume Writings (Torst 1999) to CZK 888. You can buy the “green box” in the Montmartre Gallery where you will also find the exhibition, Havel in a Nutshell.
What is Bratislava’s Central European Forum? The little brother of the Prague Forum 2000: younger, slighter, and better looking. He shares his strengths with his older brother - the intention to seduce intellectuals across countries and sectors to debate in discussions open to the public of the host city, under the auspices of Václav Havel. He does not share the weaknesses of his older brother: themes which are too abstract, too much emphasis on mildly attractive celebrities, and a form too opulent and ostentatious.
The Archive will open its doors on Thursday!
Next week on Thursday, 10th November, the Archive and the Library will be open from 9:00 to 17:00. Please send your research and other enquiries to this e-mail.
Letters to Jan Zábrana in the Archive
The correspondence of Václav Havel addressed to Jan Zábrana is available in our Digital Archive now. We got the letters as a gift from his widow, Marie Zábranová. You can read them here.
Perhaps the most characteristic phenomenon of the Czech political stage today is the “reallocation of power,” creation of new alliances and new opinion forces on the Left, as well as on the Right. In some views, the Czech “new Left” or, on the contrary, “new Right,” might seem as touching the extreme, in other views as deepening and renewing their left-wing, or right-wing, identity.
(Jáchym Topol's interview with the member of Buchty a loutky ensemble, Vít Brukner)
I met Vít Brukner with colleagues from Buchty a loutky (Cakes and Puppets) in the middle of the rehearsal of Mountain Hotel. Because it is this Václav Havel’s play what the Theatre chose for its unique and unrepeatable performance. The "Cakes" will perform the play in Montmartre Gallery in Prague’s Řetězová street this Friday, that is, on 4th November.
Dear friends, we are happy to invite you to the festival "hurricane" of Buchty a loutky (Cakes & Puppets) Theatre in Václav Havel Library, whose epicentre will be the premiere of one-act play, Mountain Hotel, written by Václav Havel in 1976.
Dear friends, we would like to use this opportunity to invite you to a discussion evening devoted to O divadle (About the theatre) samizdat magazine which will be held in Kolowrat Theatre (6 Ovocný trh, Prague 1) on Monday 31st October 2011 from 18:00.
Library as a meeting venue
Recently, Babylon magazine published an interview with Martin Palouš, director of Václav Havel Library. Those who wish to learn more about our work and direction can also read it here.
Central European Forum 2010
This international conference where Zygmunt Bauman, Karel Schwarzenberg, Adam Michnik, and other significant guests will debate in four panels titled Labyrinth of Lies, Twilight of Politics, Roots of Wrath, and Central Europe in the Global Future, addresses current social problems. The conference days are 5-6th November from 14:00 to 21:00; detailed program of the Central European Forum can be found at www.ceeforum.eu.
Absurdistan – years of non-freedom
Vaclav Havel Library invites you to the opening of an exhibition of photographs made by Luboš Kotka: Absurdistan – years of non-freedom. The set of photographs depict the everydayness of normalisation revealing many absurd, unintentionally comic situations and scenes, hidden behind the gray surface of Husák’s time.
Set of critical reflections on Havel’s intellectual work from the pen of a leading Czech philosopher. Many texts are published in a book for the very first time.
500 books + photo exhibition = TORST in VHL
On Thursday, the week-long celebrations of the TORST anniversary in the premises of the permanent exposition of Václav Havel Library (Montmartre Gallery, 7 Řetězová Street, Prague 1) will be crowned with the launch of the book "20 years of TORST publishing house" and opening of the exhibition of photographs taken by Viktor Stoilov. You are all cordially invited!
Sentences, paragraphs, chapters
The celebration of the TORST publishing house anniversary will continue tomorrow. Two of the most distinctive voices of current Czech prose, Petra Hůlová and Markéta Pilátová, will be heard in the premises of the permanent exposition of Václav Havel Library (Montmartre Gallery, 7 Řetězová Street, Prague 1). The evening, titled "A novel is the report from a far away land," starts at 19:00.
With Zbyněk Hejda and Ivan Martin Jirous
All participants in the author's reading of Zbyněk Hejda and Ivan Martin Jirous were virtually captivated. Verses filled with fragility and humility, resistance and strength, as well as sentences ringing with cleansing laughter, were heard in the silence of the crammed hall in Montmartre Gallery. Ondřej Němec took pictures of the atmosphere of this unrepeatable evening - available here.
Autumn poems in Montmartre Gallery
Starting at 19:00 today, two of the most significant poets of the 2nd half of the 20th century, Ivan Martin Jirous and Zbyněk Hejda, will read from their collections in the permanent exposition of Václav Havel Library in Montmartre Gallery (7 Řetězová Street, Prague 1 - Old Town). You are cordially invited!
The work of Václav Havel is freely accessible in the digital archive from 12th October and on. Gradually, it will also present other materials that are somehow related to the life of our first Czech President - photographs, documents, audio recordings, and videos.
We invite you to the radio documentary on the trial with six members of the VONS at the Municipal Court in Prague on 22nd – 23rd October 1979.
The National Gallery in Washington presents the Havel Film Profile, a collection of selected Czechoslovak and Czech films related to the life and work of Václav Havel. The films were chosen by the renowned American curator Peggy Parsons during a study stay in Prague. The Václav Havel Library in Prague provided English versions and secured rights for non-commercial screenings in the US until the end of next year. The films will first be presented on 11–13 October 2013 in the auditorium of the National Gallery in Washington as part of the Mutual Inspirations Festival, which is organised by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington and is this year dedicated to Václav Havel.
Fausting with Havel
Fausting is the first publication of the collection of texts compiled by Václav Havel's friends in 1986 at the occassion of his 50th birthday. The texts react to Havel's play, Temptation: from platonic dialogues through the Devil's monologue up to the mysterious Faust's mistress. It is accompanied with a transcript of a contemporary interview with Václav Havel. It is published as the first issue of the Václav Havel Library book series.
VHL Notebooks 2010/3: Zdeněk Neubauer - Consolatio Philosophiae Hodierna
The Czech-English notebook contains an essay on the Letters to Olga written by Zdeněk Neubauer upon wish of the then-imprisoned author. The publication also includes a contemporary interview with the author about a midsummer trip, Kampademia, letters from prison and letters to prison, about Consolatio philosophiae, Hrádeček, and also about Catholicism, magic mushrooms as well as Tolkien...
Neubauer - Havel - Hrádeček (audio)
You can download a small memory in mp3 format here - part of the recording of Martin Putna interviewing Zdeňek Neubauer. Their talk is included in the new VHL Notebook which also contains Neubauer's foreword to the Leters to Olga, "Consolatio Philosophiae Hodierna."
Václav Havel 75
One of the guests of ČT 24 TV publicistic program, Václav Havel 75, which profiled the personality of the jubileeing Václav Havel from different points of view, was also director of the Václav Havel Library: Mr. Martin Palouš. You can watch the recording of this show here.
We invite you for the first public sitting of the intellectual fellowship of Kampademie ("Academy at Kampa") - a philosophical association whose members include Pavel Bratinka, Tomáš Halík, Ivan M. Havel, Zdeněk Neubauer, Daniel Kroupa, Martin Palouš, Radim Palouš, Helena Webrová, a Zdeněk Kratochvíl.
Divided by the Past. The formation of political identities in the Czech Republic after 1989
Those of us who wrote this book were taken by surprise. We were investigating the formation of Czech political culture and political-cultural identities after 1989 only to find out that post-November politics are not divided by different ideologies but that they are actually “divided by the past.” The theme of this publication is also the multilayered role played by the reflection of the past (not only the Communist past) in Czech politics. Seeking and forming of political traditions, and thus also images of the past, were not arbitrary or accidental. Sometimes they were deeply rooted in the previous development of the respective political group, at other times in relations originating in an office or a prison, and yet other times it was the result of the pragmatism of political fight. The past created firm bonds – and all significant participants in contemporary Czech politics built their identity through them.
Since October 2009, we have been opening the library and archive to the public - every Tuesday from 9:00 to 17:00. Here you can find the basic Havel-related literature (from Havel and about Havel), as well as literature on Havel-related context (history, politics, law, etc.).
Divided by the Past in Montmartre Gallery
We invite you to the launch of a book by Adéla Gjuričová, Michal Kopeček, Petr Roubal, Jiří Suk and Tomáš Zahradníček, Divided by the Past. The formation of political identities in the Czech Republic after 1989. Martin Palouš, the director of Václav Havel Library, will give an introductory speech.
Refreshment will be prepared for the participants.
Already tomorow you can meet Andrej Krob: a screenwriter, director and the creator of the Original Videojournal, and last but not least the ringmaster of the legendary Theatre on the Rounds (Divadlo na tahu). The event will be held in the premises of the permanent exposition of Václav Havel Library in Montmartre Gallery (7 Řetězová Street, Prague 1).
Interview with VH in Mladá fronta
A comprehensive interview of Jiří Kubík with Václav Havel was published today: about illness, politicians, Leaving the movie, the Blanka tunnel, and other topics. It is available to read here.
Havel's 'Leaving' through the eyes of Mr. Miroslav Petříček
The review was published in Svět a divadlo magazine No. 2011/3. You can also read it here.
On the 1st of September 2010 at a demonstration of the D.O.S.T. Initiative, in presence of Jana Bobošíková and other comparably significant and popular personalities of our public life, Mr. Petr Hájek, Václav Klaus's vice-chancellor, touched on our work:
The Václav Havel Library announces the second year of the competition for secondary school students: Award for the Best Student Essay.
Jáchym Topol in VHL
Today, Lidové noviny published a comprehensive interview of Jiří Peňás with Jáchym Topol - the writer for and now also a collaborator of the Václav Havel Library. It is possible to read the interview here.
Jana Klusáková interviewing Martin C. Putna
In the last July broadcast of Týden v kultuře (A week in culture) program on Czech Radio 1, Jana Klusáková hosted the literary historian and former director of the Václav Havel Library, Mr. Martin C. Putna. You can hear the recorded interview here.
One of the pivotal genres of Václav Havel's work is the genre of the essay – on literary, art, social, political, as well as spiritual themes. Václav Havel's essays, such as The Power of the Powerless and A Word about Words, became the classic texts of Czech literature; they were translated into dozens of languages and belong to the few world-renowned works of Czech culture. This is also why it is necessary to keep the genre of the essay in the Czech language – not in the meaning of imitating Václav Havel's writing but in the meaning of Havel-type courage to name unpleasant problems and to seek their unconventional solution.
Gradually we have digitized approximately 80 boxes with materials covering Václav Havel's period from 2003 to 2008 - that is, after he left the Prague Caste. The archive contains various written, audio, as well as picture materials. We will publish these materials in digital format on our website.
Václav Havel's correspondence with Zdeněk Urbánek
We are gradually digitizing newly discovered archive materials of Zdeněk Urbánek. The materials include many letters written by Václav Havel and many of Urbánek's comments on Mr President's speeches given in the early 1990s when Zdeněk Urbánek worked as one of his advisers.
Václav Havel's spiritual portrait at iliteratura.cz
Martin C. Putna's book, Václav Havel. A spirital portrait within the frame of Czech culture of the 20th century, is one of the most popular titles. You can find its latest review here.
VHL at Hradčany
The current issue of Architekt magazine contains a detailed report about the new base of the Václav Havel Library in the building of U Drahomířna sloupu at Loretánské Square - the article is available in electronic form here.
Dagmar Hochová's photographs now in Archive
Dagmar Hochová is one of few people who took pictures of Václav Havel in the 1960s. The collection, among others, include unique photographs from the IV. Congress of the Association of Czechoslovak Writers. All photographs can be found here.
Two reviews of Putna's book about Václav Havel
Two big reviews of Martin C. Putna's book, Václav Havel. A spiritual portrait within the frame of Czech culture of the 20th century, were published in the Czech language during the past two weeks: Spojenec v táboře nepřítele by Matěj Stropnický and S klapkou na levém oku by Erazim Kohák.
In three parts, this publication offers three ways of remembering the totalitarian everyday life.
My beautiful Czech lands
In 1968 in Liberec, Václav Havel created an audio collage for the Czechoslovak Radio in which the speeches of our politicians of that time mingle with the digestive sounds of a dining Czechoslovak citizen. Available for download here.
Václav Havel as a point of intersection
It is possible to read the review of Martin C. Putna's book, Václav Havel. A spiritual portrait within the frame of the Czech culture of the 20th century, published on the denikreferendum.cz website, also here.
Václav Havel replies to Marcel Proust's 33 questions
We obtained a 1960s recording from the Czech Radio. Available for download here.
On the 17th of June 2010 the Václav Havel Library organised a discussion meeting, Amálie, this time on the theme of "Green Phoenix."
Helena Medková has provided us with letters of Václav Havel that were sent in the eighties to Ivan Medek, who at that time was the Viennese co-worker of the Voice of America. You can see their list here.
The 4th volume of the Václav Havel Library Edition – Divided by the Past – was published today. This collective monograph of five renowned historians reflects the crystallisation of the political and cultural climate of the Czech society after 1989.
The complete audio records of Talks from Lány are available in the Digital Archive now. The program in which Václav Havel as a president commented regularly on topical events in the country was broadcasted by Czechoslovakian and later Czech Radio from 1990 to 2000.
Not very famous VH's play from 2010
The name is Pět tet (Five Aunts) - it is a short sequel to Vernisáž (Unveiling) in modern coulisses. The premiere of the play took place at Divadelní svět v Brně (Theatre World Brno) in June last year. PDF here.
We invite you to a satirical performance by the Puppet Theatre Czechoslovakia. It will take place in the Montmartre Gallery (Řetězová Street 7, Prague 1) on the 12th June at 19:00.
Tomki Němec's photographs
The already mentioned photographs of Václav Havel taken by Tomki Němec in the first year after the November 1989 events are available in the Digital Archive. Direct link is here.
The second issue of the Václav Havel Library Notebooks entitled “Instigation and Punishment” (“Podněcování a trest”) was published on 2nd June 2009. “Instigation and Punishment” is a unique and absurd text. It is the actual court trial record of Václav Havel from February 1989, converted into the form of a theatrical drama – “almost another play by Václav Havel.”
Jiří Peňás about Martin C. Putna's book
It is possible to read Jiří Peňás's review of Václav Havel. A spiritual portrait within the frame of the Czech culture of the 20th century, published in Lidové noviny today, also here.
The second issue of the Václav Havel Library Notebooks entitled “Instigation and Punishment” (“Podněcování a trest”) has been published. The first release of the Notebooks will take place in the Montmartre Gallery (Řetězová 7, Prague 1) on 9th June at 18:00.
It is generally known that Václav Havel’s grandfather, Vácslav Havel (1861–1921), was an entrepreneur in the building industry and supporter of Czech culture. It is almost unknown, however, that in his declining years he came one step closer to the role of a creator: he became the author of a book dealing in a very peculiar way with themes at the borderline of religion, science, and philosophy. But this author-thinker extension of his personality remained unrevealed until now because he published the work under a pseudonym.
The book is composed of works of the 36ers published in Samizdat magazines' Interviews with the 36ers and Silver Wind. Among others, it contains Havel’s unknown texts from his earliest period, uncovered in the depths of Hrádeček.
The Václav Havel Library announces the first annual Literary Competition for students of Secondary Schools, competing for the Václav Havel Library Award for Student Essay.
Martin C. Putna: Václav Havel. Spiritual portrait within the framework of Czech culture
"I see Martin Putna’s book, Václav Havel. Spiritual portrait within the framework of Czech culture as an extremely pivotal work about an extremely important personality of the Czech history. This is not a usual biography, a factual description of events. Putna unfolds to the reader his cultivated interpretation of the meaning of the cultural environment in which Václav Havel rose and lived. Putna offers an inside view of a direct participant while using a detached view of a historian in the narration. He built his work on his exceptionally careful study of available sources. In addition, Putna writes quite readably and with elegance. In my opinion, this book is a cardinal achievement in so far mostly superficial and often biased thinking about Václav Havel. It sets a new and high standard."
Martin C. Putna's book describing Václav Havel's personality and work in a broader cultural and literarily-historical context was launched today.
All Talks from Lány with Václav Havel broadcasted by Czechoslovakian and later Czech Radio in years 1990-2000 will soon be available in the digital archive.
Telerecording from Czech Television
We have obtained over 30 hours of recorded materials from Czech Television. These materials include various documentary films from the Velvet Revolution, Presidential Speeches, as well as not little-known records from the 1960s. It is possible to see them all in the study room of the Václav Havel Library (on Tuesdays, 9:00-17:00) - 18 Kateřinská Street, Prague 2.
Nina Rutova - Havel in a Nutshell
The 14 lessons of Nina Rutova's book, intended primarily for teachers and students, describes in detail one personality and all eras. The concept of the text is based on the author's lecturing experience in the Vaclav Havel Library where she has been preparing seminars for secondary school students for several years now.
"Critical thinking" methods outline the themes of the book, e.g. dissent, conscience, legacy of the past, and democratic discussion.
Once more, after some time, we would like to invite you to a theatrical performance - “Jeans Generation” - by the Belarus Free Theatre.
Dear friends, we would like to invite you to the launch of Michal Pullman’s book, The End of Experiment. Reconstruction and Fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia which will take place in Montmartre Gallery on Tuesday, 3rd May from 19:30.
The Václav Havel Library, Respect and Opona, o.p.s. warmly extends its invitation to you for the launch of this book which is part of the Cirkus totality (Circus of Totalitarianism) project: VĚČNÉ ČASY (Eternal Times).
The song, “Havel in a Nutshell,” was composed for the occasion of the opening of the old-new exposition: "Václav Havel - Czech Myth,” the new subtitle of which is just “Havel in a Nutshell.”
On 23rd April 2010 Václav Havel published an article detailing what the election programme of an imaginary political party might look like, if written by a younger Václav Havel.
Dear friends, you are cordially invited to the festive launch of Havel in a Nutshell for teachers and students (Havel v kostce pro učitele a studenty), which will take place in Montmartre Gallery (Řetězová 7, Praha 1) on Tuesday, 26th April at 18:00.
The exposition on Václav Havel - Czech Myth or Havel in a Nutshell - is open in the Montmartre Gallery (Řetězová 7, Praha 1). You can view it from Tuesdays to Sundays between 12:00 and 18:00.
Word and A Word about Words
This composed evening is devoted to essays Word by Otokar Březina and A Word about Words by Václav Havel. It is organised by Otokar Březina Association and František Bílek Association in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library.
If Vokolek’s poems were a direct artistic response to the Communist Putsch – Václav Černý’s book was an intellectual one.
"I simply cannot live differently" in the National Monument at Vítkov
The National Museum, in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library, opened in the premises of the National Monument on Vítkov Hill the "I simply cannot live diferently" exhibition about the history of the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Persecuted (VONS). The exhibition will last till 15th May 2011.
Development and Crimes of Pan-Slavism, an essay written by Václav Černý, who with extraordinary insight devotes to the myth of so-called Slavic unity, was sent to the printing house today.
Karel Cudlín's photographs
We obtained over 200 photographs of Václav Havel taken by Karel Cudlín during the presidential period. Here you can find some of them:
Dozens of personalities who decided to vote for the Green Party met in the Václav Havel Library on Tuesday 16th March 2010.
Otokar Březina Society in cooperation with Václav Havel Library organises another evening devoted to Anna Pammrová (1860-1945).
The first issue of the Václav Havel Library Notebooks quarterly was published on 11th March 2009.
Unknown VH's speech
We have discovered a speech from 1968 which Václav Havel planned to deliver to the New York PEN Club. It primarily describes the events around Tvář magazine.
You are heartily invited to a literary evening of Josef Topol (the name means “poplar” in English), the third of the cycle of five evenings within the Spring with 36ers which will be held on Wednesday, 31st March 2010 from 6 p.m. in the Montmartre Gallery, Řetězová 7, Prague 1.
Listen to the chain reading on Chain street
To all who missed the reading of poems "February" and "Requiem for Jan Masaryk" held in Montmartre Gallery on Chain ("Řetězová") street on Friday, 25th February 2011, or on Czech Radio 3 - Vltava broadcast: you can get the feel of the evening's atmosphere here.
Václav Havel's futuristic article
The article about the year 2000 was written in the 1940s. Václav Havel envisages himself in the role of a fifty-year-old millionaire and describes the establishment of the "Factory of Goodness" - Dobrovka.
Poems on Communist Putsch written 1948–1950
In all probability, this collection is the first immediate poetic reflection of the Communist Putsch and the consequent life in lies.
Photographs of a small VH
We offer several pictures of the small Václav Havel when visiting Zlín city (1940s).
Courtesy of the family archive of Ivan M. Havel.
Czech Radio reporter, long-time “confessor” of Václav Havel in Talks from Lány, recalls these meetings in the following interview.
Farewell to Mojmír Horyna
The farewell of Mojmír Horyna, a prominent art historian, outstanding pedagogue, and especially a man of extraordinary moral qualities, took place in St. Jilji Church in Prague’s Old Town at 11 a.m. today. We are honoured that one of the last events he visited was the opening of Vojmír Vokolek's exhibition.
The first volume of the second year of the Vaclav Havel Library Notebooks is a catalogue to the art exhibition of Jiří Kuběna bearing the same name.
Photographs from Vojmír Vokolek's exhibition
The Thursday opening of the exhibition of Vojmír Vokolek's works was extraordinarily successful: many interesting guests, interviews, meetings... Pictures published in the newest photogallery at least partially show the atmosphere of this event.
The Vaclav Havel Library invites you to a literary evening of Jiří Kuběna. The first from the cycle of five evenings within the Spring with 36ers will be held on 2nd February 2010 from 6 p.m. in the Montmartre Gallery, Řetězová 7, Prague 1.
VHL on the Facebook
Here you can find the profile of the Václav Havel Library on Facebook - and perhaps become our fan...
"In the last two decades of his life the painter and sculptor Vojmír Vokolek approached formally the most recent trends of art. Minimalism, arte povera, conceptual art. However, the rapprochement was only apparent. The work of Vojmír Vokolek always differed - from socialist realism to the subdued modern art or later avant-garde – in one aspect: it always contained a clear, predetermined spiritual message. “There is a content in it, and even religious!” shrieked out a horrified theorist of avant-garde in the seventies. He got rightfully scared and so should we today: work of Vojmír Vokolek really has a very timeless, spiritual content, that is why it offends the very history of the Czech art."
Excerpt from text by Václav Vokolek
The Šestatřicátníci (“those born in 1936, or 36ers”) association was the first literary and artistic group which Václav Havel put together at the beginning of his career, in the years 1953-1954, as a seventeen year old man - and the association shaped his own creative beginnings. From the group, besides Václav Havel, came many writers and journalists, among them especially four authors, extremely important for the history of Czech culture - Jiří Kuběna, Josef Topol, Věra Linhartová, and Viola Fischerová.
Starting today, you can buy the History of Kampademie (in the Czech language) written by Daniel Kroupa for only 99 CZK in our e-shop . It is the first comprehensive summary of the history of the intellectual fellowship of Kampademie – the renewed platonic academy at Kampa - formed, among others, by Zdeněk Neubauer, Radim Palouš, Pavel Bratinka, Daniel Kroupa, and also Václav Havel. The publication also includes contemporary photographs from Hrádeček and a transcript of a recorded kampademic discussion.
The opening's at the door!
The preparation of the festive opening of the exhibition of works of Vojmír Vokolek, Czech lands to the saint, hermitages to the brave (and compliments to celebrities) in the Montmartre Gallery has reached its peak. Don't forget to write down Thursday, 20th January at 19:00...
Accept our invitation to the first event of this season in the Vaclav Havel Library. The season bears the motto, Havel’s first gang or Spring with 36ers, and will recall the first artistic association which Havel created around himself in the middle of the 1950s.
Martin Palouš talks about Kampademie
Within the Kampademic Colloquium, Martin Palouš (Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the UN in New York) talked about what Kampademia meant to him. Available for download here.
Havel-related materials from the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre will gradually enrich our digital archive.
Václav Havel: Don't be afraid to vote the Green Party
The video recording of Václav Havel's pre-election statement is available here.
Coopereation with the Nation's Memory Institute
The agreement on cooperation with the Nation's Memory Institute was signed in Bratislava on 4th May 2010. The Václav Havel Library on its grounds extended its resources with many publications mapping the epoch-making events of Slovakian history in the 20th century.
You are heartily invited to the literary evening of Viola Fischerová, the second from the cycle of five evenings within the Spring with 36ers which will be held on Wednesday, 24th February 2010 from 6 p.m. in the Montmartre Gallery, Řetězová 7, Prague 1
I just cannot live differently
We invite you to the opening of the exhibition about the Committee for Defence of the Unjustly Prosecuted. Library, Institute for Contemporary History AS CR and Libri prohibiti organised it at the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the trial with members of the VONS. The opening takes place on Tuesday, 22nd September from 18:00. From 15:00 a colloquium of historians will be held, followed by the debate with the still living, then convicted members of the VONS.
Here you can see a detailed program of the Library for the next two months: September and October.
The Václav Havel Library and Fórum 50 % would like to invite you to the Women’s Housing Seminar on the forms of feminine resistance during normalisation, which will take place in the Montmartre Gallery (Řetězová 7, Praha 1 - Old Town) on Wednesday, 29th April 2009 at 18:30.
The Václav Havel Library invites you to an exhibition on Václav Havel with poetry of the Czech Underground 1977-1989.