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Friday marks 30th anniversary of awarding of Erasmus Prize to Václav Havel

January 22, 2016


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.)


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