“Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” Vaclav Havel

Václav Havel in 1988. Photo (c) Miloš Fikejz

Vaclav Havel, the 20th century poet of democracy, gave hope not only to millions of people in Eastern Europe, but to people around the world who believe that human rights are universal. People who believe that they can and should fight for human rights and help people in their community and around the world.

Vaclav Havel Library, Art for Amnesty – Amnesty International, and Vaclav Havel Library Foundation will join in the year 2016 to celebrate the life and work of Vaclav Havel through theater, lectures, articles, films, discussions, and exhibitions. We approach other institutions and ask them to dedicate one of their programs to Havel. We will enjoy the art and writings of a younger generation that has been inspired and encouraged by Havel’s ideas and life. All the events will be promoted under the umbrella Havel@80. 


The Václav Havel Library collects, researches, disseminates, promotes and advocates the spiritual, literary and political legacy of a great figure of modern Czech history - the author, playwright, thinker, human rights defender and Czechoslovak and Czech president. It also focuses on people, events and phenomena related to the legacy of Václav Havel and strives to place them in the context of the times and of the present.

From August 2014, the Václav Havel Library is located at the address Ostrovní 13, Prague 1. The building’s ground-floor spaces is dedicated to an exhibition "Václav Havel or Havel in a nutshell" and used for VHL club events – all kinds of seminars, readings, exhibitions, lectures, concerts and theatre performances. The Library’s offices, archive, constantly expanding library, and reading room are located on the first floor.

The main aims of the Václav Havel Library include

  • Organizing archival, archival-research, documentary, museum and library activities focused on the work of Vaclav Havel and documents or objects related to his activities, and carries out professional analysis of their influence on the life and self-reflection of society
  • Serving, in a suitable manner, such as through exhibitions, the purpose of education and popularisation functions, thus presenting to the public the historical significance of the fight for human rights and freedoms in the totalitarian period and the formation of civil society during the establishment of democracy
  • Organizing scientific research and publication activities in its areas of interest

The Vaclav Havel Library Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in the United States to help preserve, and build upon the legacy of playwright, dissident, and former President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel.

We complement Vaclav Havel Library in Prague by organizing access to unique materials documenting Havel’s accomplishments and activities in North America. We create an effective, cutting-edge interactive platform and bridge to promote worldwide awareness of Havel’s crucial contributions not only to the democratic transition in Central Europe, but to ongoing debates about a much larger transition of the global community from the 20th to 21st century.

Through activities relating to issues important to Havel, support of research devoted to themes connected to Havel’s legacy as a playwright, and memorials recognizing Havel’s influence as a Global Citizen, VHLF aims to serve as a “living library” focused on advancing the legacy of former President Havel.

Art for Amnesty is a global community of artists of all disciplines and nationalities who share Amnesty International’s vision of a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.

We are home to the world’s storytellers, those willing to shine a light on injustice by using visual or fine art, film, literature, poetry, music, photography, design or performance to express what it means to be human.

Artists have a unique power to bring people together and to promote change. More than ever we need creative ways to acknowledge these human stories, to tell the world the truth. Art For Amnesty brings the power, creativity, and passion of people who believe in freedom of expression to projects and campaigns with potential to reach new audiences and inspire creative activism around the world. Even small actions, brought together, have the power to generate great change. Create with us.